How to Cook Fish and Seafood - Recipes and Information
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How To Cook Fish & Seafood

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How to Buy Fresh Fish - The Basics that You Must Know First

Whether purchasing fish for a celebration of sorts or just for the love of fish, getting it right the first time before sitting down and enjoying the great tastes fish has to offer is critical and can save you a lot of lost money, time, heartache and can even prevent potential health issues. So where are we best to buy from?

There are markets that only specialize in seafood sales and you can usually be assured of the highest quality with them carrying premium seafood product as they only have seafood to rely on for keeping their business in business.

If you live in an area that only allows you to purchase your fish within a supermarket, well don’t despair, they have standards to hold up to by government regulations. Having said that, there are still some things for you to consider before purchasing - many supermarkets offer both fresh and frozen seafood.

If the fish for instance is being displayed in a fresh, not frozen condition, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s truly ‘fresh’. These supermarkets are supposed to be labelling any particular seafood item as previously frozen in most countries by law even if it has just been thawed out for their showcase or display.

Unless you have caught the fish yourself, there’s a good chance you really don’t know how fresh that fish is that you are looking at.

Here’s a key element when purchasing fish:

Ideally you will ask the supermarket attendant or clerk as to when exactly a fresh or previously frozen item was placed on display. Whilst they may not tell you the exact truth for whatever reason, it’s still important to try and find out.

If you’re a recognized customer of a particular supermarket, then you may be in a better position by having a stronger relationship with the attendant or clerk going out of their way to help you out with the freshest choice.

At the fish counter you are likely to be looking at whole fish, fish fillets, steaks and cutlets. Be wary of any whole fish that have been covered in ice with just the heads sticking out; this is an old trick that has been used by various shops for years to hide or disguise older product.

You should be in this case, asking the attendant to remove the fish from the ice for a better overall inspection.

In some countries or regions the printed labels that are attached to the fish display should be stating if the fish has been repackaged and there will be a tiny ‘r’ appearing near the date somewhere. These should be avoided, as you are being informed in a very subtle way that the product is not fresh as could be.

Sea-Ex has some great photos and information on identifying fresh fish and seafood on their page Tips for Identifying Fresh Fish & Seafood



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