How To Buy The Freshest, Tastiest Seafood
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Published by TOP4 Team
Bourbon glazed salmon. Fish tacos with lime. Mussels in wine. Lobster, crabs, shrimp … You would have to be crazy not to love fish or shellfish. That, or you’re unfortunately allergic to seafood or that you have a fierce preference for meat. But if you enjoy the fresh bounty of the sea and know that these nutritious and delectable treats are excellent for your mind and body, then you must at least know how to cook them.
But cooking is just part of the equation. You should also know how to pick the freshest seafood in order to get those dishes as tasty as possible, not to mention safe for eating.
Here are some hints and tips in buying great seafood.
- Fresh seafood can come in chilled and frozen products. When buying chilled, note the odour and how the fish appears. Fresh seafood will have a clean, ocean smell. Think seaweed. It is not supposed to be “fishy” or rancid or overall, smell terrible.
- When you’re getting a whole fish, it should have shiny scales and bright, bulging eyes. It should not have any bruises on it or have ragged gaps. Its flesh should be firm to the touch. Its gills should be bright red in colour.
- When you’re getting shellfish, the shells should be closed tight. No gaps, no cracks.
- When buying octopus, cuttlefish, or squid, the skin should be brightly coloured and lustrous; the flesh, including the tentacles should be intact.
- If you must get frozen seafood, look for signs of freezer burn. This shows up as opaque and dry sections on the surface. When there are numerous ice crystals loose on the packaging or the seafood itself, this means that the product has been partially thawed and then re-frozen. This can affect the quality and shelf life of the seafood.
- Frozen seafood should also be wrapped in protective packaging. Any damage to it will lead to freezer burn.
- Look for labels that address food safety, sustainability, and social and animal welfare. Dolphin-friendly labels mean that your tuna was sourced without causing any harm to dolphins. The RSPCA Freedom Food label means that your fish comes from a farm and that the fish were exposed to fewer chemicals, fed with sustainably sourced fish cuts, and had sufficient space. Pole-and-Line Caught means that your fish was caught through the old fashioned, and responsible way.
- Buy your seafood only from reputable markets. Choose markets that have a high turnover because it means they get their seafood caught every day. So you’re guaranteed fresh products all the time.