Buying, Preparing, and Storing Seafood
You already know that cooking seafood is simple, and that it’s delicious and nutritious. Here are a few tips to help take the guesswork out of buying, preparing and storing seafood. Check out the simple tips below, then head to the seafood section of your local store to pick up some fish for dinner!
Uncooked, Not Frozen or Thawed Seafood
All raw seafood that is not frozen should smell fresh, not “fishy.” Don’t be shy—smell your selection before purchasing. Your nose is the best test for freshness!
Fish should have shiny flesh that is firm to the touch.
Fresh seafood should not have any dark edges or yellowish discoloration.
Don’t be deterred by fish labeled as “previously frozen seafood” at the fish counter. That just means it was flash frozen at the source to seal in freshness and your store has thawed it for you. Another bonus is that flash frozen seafood means the nutrients were sealed in at the time of freezing.
Uncooked Frozen Seafood
Fish fillets and steaks should be completely frozen.
Ice crystals should not be present on, or in, the packaging.
Frozen seafood varieties should not have white or dark spots or any discoloration.
Uncooked and Not Frozen Seafood
Raw seafood should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, preferably the meat drawer. Keep the seafood in its original store packaging, and cook it within one day of purchase.
Prepared seafood may be stored in a sealed container for no more than four days. And to preserve freshness, always store your prepared seafood in a covered container.
Frozen Seafood (Uncooked)
The maximum recommended storage time for frozen seafood in a freezer is three to six months. Before preparing uncooked, frozen seafood, check for ice crystals or discoloration—these are signs that the fish may no longer be fresh.
Pro Tip: Having a bag of salmon fillets or tilapia is the freezer makes it easy to have seafood twice a week! And a bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer is your best friend for a FAST dinner paired with pasta, rice or salad.
Frozen Seafood (Previously Cooked)
If you’ve frozen your cooked seafood for enjoying later, label it so you can thaw and eat within two months.
Thawing Frozen Seafood
Frozen seafood is affordable and nutritious. And, it’s easy to prep frozen fish. Use these tips to safely thaw your fish.
Overnight thawing—Thaw your seafood overnight in the refrigerator. Take seafood out of the freezer the day before, place it in a clean container and cover with plastic wrap. Place the container on a low shelf in the refrigerator to defrost. After thawing, discard any liquid that has collected in the packaging and use within a day.
Quick thawing—While thawing overnight in a refrigerator is ideal, you can thaw seafood quickly in cool water or in the microwave. Just ensure that your seafood is cooked thoroughly before serving.
Cool water method—Place seafood in a leak-proof plastic baggie. Seal the baggie tightly and submerge in cold tap water (never hot water) and change the water every thirty minutes until food is defrosted. Cook seafood immediately after thawing.
Microwave method—Follow your microwave manufacturer’s settings for defrost, checking frequently until the seafood is cool and pliable. Be careful not to overheat-this will start the cooking process. Cook seafood immediately after thawing.
Information sourced from our partners at National Fisheries Institue | Dishonfish.com