As we’re trying to incorporate more fish into our diets, many struggle to know how to pick and buy fresh fish. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to buy any fish that is older than three days. The telltale signs if a fish is fresh:
- Your fish must look shiny with sleek scales.
- Your fish must have moist and red gills.
- You want to look for eyes that are not sunken.
- Fresh, unfrozen fish should smell like seawater or cucumber. If it gives off a strong smell, it’s past its prime.
- The flesh should look firm and elastic. Any flesh that is exposed should appear freshly cut without traces of browning or drying out. The skin should be moist.
- If you are purchasing frozen fish, make sure it is solidly frozen. Avoid purchasing fish that has white, dehydrated areas (this could be a sign of freezer burn).
- If the inside of the package shows ice crystals and is concentrated in one area, this could indicate a loss of moisture from the flesh of the fish, most likely a result of thawing and refreezing. The fish should be wrapped in a moisture proof material.
- If the fish is wrapped in plastic, it is generally better if it’s vacuum packed.
- High quality frozen fish will have very little or no odour.
Tips for storing fresh fish
- Use fresh fish within two days of purchase. The quality of fresh fish can be maintained if the fish is loosely wrapped and packed in finely crushed ice to prevent loss of moisture. If you are unable to use the fish within two days, then it’s better to freeze it.
- Never thaw fish at room temperature and never refreeze it.
- Thaw frozen fish by placing it in the refrigerator and for quicker thawing, place your fish under cold, running water.
Tips for storing mussels
- Remove from the packaging and store either lose or in a mesh bag.
- Place your mussels in a bowl or unsealed container.
- Cover your mussels with a clean damp cloth or a paper towel. Remember to never store them in water.
- You can store your mussels in your fridge for up to a few days and drain any water that collects daily in the bowl or container.
- Once you’re ready to cook your mussels, take them out of the refrigerator and smell them one last time to ensure they’re fresh. They should smell fresh and salty.