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Seafood Mistakes! Here are Some Tips to Help you Avoid Them on Your Next Shopping Trip.
Most people, when they buy seafood, have no idea what they are looking for. This usually leads to many mistakes in their purchase. To avoid mistakes when buying seafood by looking at each type of seafood and the characteristics that it should have when you purchase it. Whether the seafood is frozen or fresh, you should only buy high quality. Here are some tips to help you on your next shopping trip.
1. When buying whole fish, you should look for bright, shiny, and intact scales. The eyes should be clear, full, and bright. You should be able to see all the markings that the fish has. If it appears faded, then it is quite possible that the fish is not the freshest. In some species, they should protrude. Gill color will fade over time but keep this rule in mind, the brighter the color the fresher that it is. Fresh fish will have very little to no odor.
2. When buying fish filets/steaks, if there is an odor, avoid them completely. If there are signs of browning on the edges or if it looks dry then avoid the purchase. The flesh of the fish should be firm, elastic, and moist and have a fresh cut look. Make sure that if they are wrapped that there is no liquid in the package and that the plastic wrap is very tight around the fish. This will ensure that you are buying something that is not bad.
3. When purchasing frozen seafood, make sure that it is frozen solid. Avoid any discoloration, water stains, or ice crystals, which is probably freezer burn or it has been thawed and refrozen. There should be no odor. Again, when wrapped, there should be no moisture or smell permeating from the package. Always look to see what the expiration date is. If it is expired, do not buy it.
Remember, when making your seafood purchase, freshness is the key. Make sure to talk to the person behind the counter to learn how the seafood was frozen if you are purchasing your meal this way. Flash Freezing is a process that that some seafood markets do in order to ensure the quality of the fish that you are buying. This process is done because it takes time for the seafood to get where it is going. This process can sometimes be better than fresh.
Hopefully this will help you figure out what you are purchasing the next time you are standing in front of a case full of fish. If nothing, it will at least ensure that you and your family will not get sick from fish that is old.
About the Author: Flavia Bindees is a retired chef who specialized in the purchasing and cooking of fresh Seafood for restaurants on the eastern seaboard.