What Should I Look for When Purchasing a Fish?

Freshness should be checked before purchasing and again just before cooking. It is important to look at these characteristics; smell, eyes, gills, texture, fins, scales, moistness, and movement.

    • Smell: Fresh fish should have a slight sea smell or no odor at all. Any off-odor or ammonia odors are a sure sign of aged or improperly handled fish.
    • Eyes: Eyes should be clear and full. Sunken eyes mean that the fish is drying out and probably not fresh.
    • Gills: The gills should be intact and bright red. Brown gills are a sign of age.
    • Texture: The flesh of fresh fish should be firm. Mushy flesh or flesh that does not spring back when pressed with a finger is a sign of poor quality or age.
    • Fins & Scales: Should be moist and full without excessive drying on the outer edges. Dry fins or scales are a sign of age; damaged fins or scales may be a sign of mishandling.
    • Moistness: Fish cuts should be moist and glistening, without bruises or dark spots. If edges are brown or dry then it may be a sign of mishandling.
    • Movement: Fish purchased alive should show movement.

How Fresh is Frozen Fish?

Fish fillets or whole fish may be coated with water or glazed during the freezing process to help protect them from dehydration. The addition of water-retaining agents and antioxidants to help preserve the fish is permitted. Some other terms can be used to describe the quality of the frozen fish, such as;

    • Fresh: The item is not and has never been frozen
    • Chilled: Now used by some in the industry to replace the more ambiguous “fresh”; indicates that the item was refrigerated, that is, held at 30-34ºF
    • Flash-Frozen: The item was rapidly flash frozen at extreme low temperatures on the ship or at a processing plant within hours of being caught.
    • Fresh-Frozen: The item was quick-frozen while still fresh but not as quickly as flash-frozen.
    • Frozen: The fish was subjected tp temperatures of 0ºF or lower to preserve its inherent quality.
    • Glazed: A frozen product dipped in water; the ice forms a glaze that protects the item from freezer burn.
    • Fancy: Marketing term used to indicate the product was previously frozen.

What is the Nutrition of a Fish?

Fish and shellfish are low in calories, fat, and sodium. They are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, Vitamins A, B, and D. Fish are also rich in fatty acids called Omega-3, which may help combat high blood cholesterol levels and aid in preventing some heart disease. The way you cook a fish could also have some contributing factors to your health. Some ways you could cook fish to limit the fat can include – broiling, grilling, poaching, and steaming.

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