Tuesday, August 4, 2009

buying seafood

For today I am excerpting a piece I recently wrote for Helium. To see more, follow the title to link, or visit http://www.helium.com/users/256391/show_articles

Experts say we should eat seafood twice a week for its nutritional value, but how can you tell if the fish is as fresh as possible? It may seem like a daunting task, but a few clues can help to guide you through the process.
First of all, make sure that the store you purchase your fish from has a high traffic of consumers. As long as there are a lot of customers coming through, the seafood will be rotated out at a constant rate, and it will remain fresh. On the other hand, if there are very few people buying from the store, then the fish will just be sitting around. It will certainly not be in its prime. Also, the quality of the stock will be affected by the cleanliness of the vendor. Therefore, it is important to take the time to examine the seafood area thoroughly.
When you first approach the counter, you should notice a scent that reminds you of the ocean. There should absolutely not be an overly “fishy” odor, which indicates that the fish has been sitting around for a long time. In addition, give a cursory glance to the back area where the workers fillet and package the fish. Make sure it is cleared of anything that should not be there, such as any remaining bones or heads that were removed after filleting. Finally, check to see that the seafood selections are always kept very cold, preferably on crushed ice. As for the fish itself, there are a few easy tips to remember which will help you to ensure maximum freshness.
1. The fish should have firm flesh and shiny skin, not be “watery” looking or slimy.
2. For whole fish, check the eyes: they should be clear and bright instead of cloudy.
3. Finally, look at the signs which indicate origin- more local fish will usually be fresher.

When you have purchased your fish, make sure that you store it properly- refrigerated immediately, and kept for no more than a day or two before cooking and serving. As long as you purchase your fish from a reputable source, and use the tips above to help you gauge the freshness, you can feel confident that your seafood will be quite enjoyable and fit for wonderful meals.

Please comment below, and visit my page on Helium. How do you buy seafood, and where from? Share any favorite recipes with me,or check back next week for some of mine.

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