Just how fresh is seafood’? Well, to the untrained eye [and by extension, taste buds], any seafood that has spent a few hours in the refrigerator may appear fresh.
First Things First
Unless you had literally accompanied the fisherman into waters or actually caught the fish yourself, you might face quite a few challenges when it comes to identification of the freshness of the seafood. Here is a look at how to tell if your seafood is fresh.
For already-cooked seafood, you can easily find out the freshness of the seafood with the help of your taste buds. Seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and many other nutrition factors, but your ability to take advantage of such nutritional benefits squarely depends on the freshness of the seafood.
The following are the 4 ways you can tell if seafood is fresh
- Appearance: Observe the eyes of the fish. At the very least, ensure it appears clear, shiny and bulging. If the eyes are sunken into the head, then chances are the fish is not fresh. Pale eyes with cloudiness is also another sign of old fish. Also on appearance, remember the gills of the fish should be in light or dark red color and slightly wet but shouldn’t be dry or slimy. Overall, the fish should glow but shouldn’t appear dull.
- Touch and Feel: The seafood should be rigid and bounce back on touch. The scales should be tightly attached to the surface of the skin. Remember that loosened scale and cracked skins are signs that the seafood is in its rotting stage.
- Smell: Fresh seafood, especially fish, have a mild smell and do not stink your kitchen or house much. Fish that lacks freshness has strong fishy smell that’s intolerable, due to the release of an organic compound called trimethylamine. A fresh fish has a natural and pleasant smell but by and large, it depends upon the sea where the fish has been caught.
- Other Signs: There are other signs to look out for, such as a strong pungent odor and a spongy texture. Also, skin paleness or discoloration, as well as yellow slimy edges and black moist are clear warning signs that the seafood is not fresh.
Apart from the popular fishes, seafood also includes shellfish. They are often sold alive or frozen, and you need to identify them by tapping the shell (clams & mussels).
While doing so, it should close tighter. Remember that dead shells do not open when they are cooked. The shell of the shrimp is meant to protect it, so always choose the frozen and dried forms and check for the rigidness before buying. Likewise, squid and octopus have to be bought frozen.