There’s a difference in taste in your seafood dish when your ingredients are fresh and when they are stale. Buying them fresh is a great way to cook a great dish.
But buying fresh vs. frozen is a bit confusing. There are different types of freshness that will tell whether your seafood is good or bad.
You’ll have a choice between buying fresh and frozen. Fresh has never been frozen and here is frozen seafood that has superior quality. Look for the label “fresh frozen” this means that the seafood catch was processed and frozen right after it was picked from the sea. Both of these freshness give high-quality seafood, knowing how to buy fresh is your key to a delicious seafood meal.
Tips to Buying Best Seafood
Fish and seafood are packed with nutrients important to our diet. But not all have access to a local fish market where most aquatic creatures are fresh. The best option is to buy frozen seafood and fish from your local grocery or fishmonger.
Buying frozen does not mean it’s not fresh, there are frozen products with superior quality than fresh ones. Advancement in technology allows immediate processing and freezing of fresh catch from the sea. The flash-freezing method treats the water inside food items to freeze in a short period, the fresh catch is immediately frozen.
Whether buying fresh or frozen, there are certain factors to consider in selecting fresh fish or seafood.
Fresh Fish Buying Tips
- Fresh fish carries the smell of the ocean, not ammonia or decay.
- The eyes should be clear and bright. It’s not fresh if eyes are cloudy, pink, or caved-in.
- Gills are bright red or pink without gunk.
- The flesh should be firm and elastic, it should spring back when pushed with the finger.
- Scales should be shiny and attached tightly to the flesh.
- The flesh of fish fillets should be firm and springy without traces of darkening or drying around the edges.
Fresh Shellfish Buying Tips
- Mussels, oysters, and clams are sold live, their internal organs deteriorate when they die. Their shell should be unbroken and closed. If there is a gape, tap the shell to close, throw it away if it does not.
- The shell should be shiny, moist, and have the smell of sea breeze.
- Lobsters and crabs are sold live too; they decay when they die. Select those that are showing movement or active.
- Shrimp meat should be firm and release a mild smell. The edges of the shell should not be smudged, no black spots or dark areas.
- The eyes of the squid should be clear and full, the skin looks creamy with reddish brown spots, and the meat should be firm.
- Oysters have a fresh smell, a slight milky liquid surrounds the flesh.
Frozen Seafood Buying Tips
- Frozen seafood should be packed in a fitted and moisture-resistant package, avoiding torn or damaged packages.
- Select the package at the bottom of the store freezer.
- Keep the package in a cooler to avoid defrosting during transportation.
Know Your Seafood Dealer
Purchase your fish or seafood from reputable seafood dealers for an assurance of high-quality products. Select those with a good reputation of safe handling practices, avoid roadside stalls.
Trustworthy fishmongers have an origin label on the products, look for a BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) blue logo. The logo means that the fish farm was assessed on the various phases of growing fish from feeding to harvesting.
The rule of thumb is that fresh fish or seafood should be stored at 32°F by refrigeration or ice. Take note of the smell, appearance, and texture, don’t buy if something is fishy.
Do not let your seafood dish go to waste with stale seafood ingredients. Knowing how to buy fresh fish or seafood and your guests will be lining up for seconds.
Buy your seafood last when shopping and store them right away when you reach home.