- Choose seafood that is properly iced, well-refrigerated, in clean display cases and wrapped separately in leak-proof packaging.
- Always buy from a reputable source.
- Check the sell-by date (not all seafood will have this).
- If frozen, the fish should be solid, mild in odor and free of both ice crystals and freezer burn. Do not select a damaged or water-stained package.
- Whole finfish should have a fresh scent, shiny skin, pink or red gills, and clear eyes.
- Fish fillets or steaks should have a mild scent, moist flesh, and translucent appearance, with no browning around the edges.
Handle With Care
- Clean and gill fresh-caught fish quickly to preserve freshness and eliminate bacterial contamination.
- Remove butcher wrap and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will hold in moisture and limit exposure to the air, which can alter the flavor. Fish sold in plastic wrap may be left in this style wrapping.
- Refrigerate fresh fish at 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit and enjoy it within 2-3 days.
- Store cooked seafood in the refrigerator no longer than 2-3 days.
- Store canned seafood in a cool, dry place for no longer than one year.
- Cut whole, cleaned fish into the form in which it will be used (filets, steaks, etc.).
- Carefully wrap the fish in plastic wrap, aluminum foil or freezer paper to protect the fish from air and freezer burn.
- Store frozen fish between 0 degrees to –10 degrees Fahrenheit.
- For best flavor and texture, limit freezer storage to one month.
Fish can also be frozen by "glazing." Freeze it first uncovered on a tray, then dip frozen pieces in ice water and return to freezer. Repeat this dipping process several times to form a protective ice glaze. Finish by wrapping the fish tightly in aluminum foil and storing in the freezer.
- Thaw in the refrigerator (allowing 18-24 hours per pound), or place wrapped fish under cold running water (for ½ hour for per pound of fish).
- Do not refreeze thawed fish.
- Cook fresh fish 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness in the oven or in a pan.
- If cooking fish while still frozen, double the cooking time.
- As fish cooks, it loses its normal translucent appearance and becomes opaque. Fish is done when it is completely opaque and its outer surface flakes easily when tested with a fork.