Tips for Buying Seafood

Seafood Buying Tips

When buying seafood and fish, it is possible to find them fresh or frozen. But is the frozen seafood as good as fresh? Well, with the technological advances, today it is possible to immediately process and freeze fresh catches, usually right on the fishing vessel. The process of flash-freezing is employed, in which the water contained inside the food items is subjected to very low temperatures (below its melting/freezing point), causing water inside the foods to freeze in a very short period of time. Therefore, frozen seafood can even be superior in quality to fresh seafood products.

Seafood Buying Tips

So, if you leave in a place where you cannot easily find a fresh seafood seller, to buy frozen seafood and fish is a good option. Personally I buy frozen fish and seafood for practical reasons, if I spontaneously decide to prepare a seafood recipe, I always have something in my freezer, I don´t have to worry go shopping.

Frozen or fresh you should pay attention to some aspects when buying seafood. Below you can see some tips on how select fish or seafood.

Frozen Seafood Buying Tips

  • Frozen fish and shellfish should be packaged in a close-fitting, moisture-proof package. Don’t buy frozen seafood if its package is open, torn or crushed on the edges.
  • Select packages from below the load line of the freezer case in the store’s freezer.
  • Avoid the package defrosting during the transportation. You can transport seafood in an ice-packed cooler from the store to your home.

Fresh Seafood Buying Tips

The first aspect you should consider when buying fresh fish or seafood has to do with the seafood seller/store. Pay attention to the cleanliness, appearance and smell (strong fishy odor is a sign of spoilage) of the local. As general rule, fresh fish and seafood should be storage at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be kept by refrigeration or ice.

Besides of that when selecting fresh fish or seafood pay attention to the following characteristics that indicate the freshness of the product, in order to safely enjoy their fine taste and good nutrition.

Fresh Fish Guidelines:

  • Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy or ammonia-like.
  • The eyes of a fresh fish should be clear, bright and a little protruding. Cloudy, pink and sunken eyes indicate the fish has lost its freshness.
  • The gills of the fish should be bright red or pink and free from slime.
  • Fresh fish should have firm and elastic flesh. Test it by pressing with the finger the flesh delicately. It should spring back.
  • Fish with shiny skin and scales that adhere tightly is another indicator of freshness.
  • Fish fillets should have firm and elastic flesh, a fresh-cut, moist appearance, displaying no darkening or drying around the edges. It should be little evidence of bruising or reddening of the flesh from retention of blood. In addition, prepackaged fish fillets should contain a minimum of liquid because when seafood is stored in liquid deteriorates quickly.

Fresh Shellfish Guidelines:

  • Fresh mussels, oysters, clams are sold live because when they die, their internal organs start to deteriorate. This way fresh shellfish should have unbroken shells and should be closed. If the shells gape slightly, tap them: the shells should close up. If they do not close up, throw them away.
  • The shells of fresh, live shellfish should be shiny and moist. It should smell sweet and mild, like a fresh sea breeze.
  • Fresh lobster and crabs are also sold alive, because they spoil quickly when they die. Thus when selecting them they should show leg movement (they will not be very active if they have been refrigerated, but they should move at least a little bit).
  • Raw shrimp meat should be firm and should smell mild. The shells should not have blackened edges, black spots or other dark areas, because this indicates loss of freshness.
  • When buying fresh squid, select those with clear and full eyes, the skin should be cream-colored with reddish brown spots (when they start losing freshness the skin turns pinkish) and the meat should be very firm.
  • Fresh shucked oysters should have a fresh smell. A clear slightly milky or light grey liquid should surround freshly shucked oysters.
  • And last but not least, when shopping buy your fresh fish or seafood last and then take them home straight away to storage them appropriately