When selecting fish there are three things you need to do/know in order to get the freshest available.
1. Follow your nose – the smell of the fish.
2. Follow your eyes – the tell tale signs of quality and freshness.
3. Get Over The “fresh” fish is better than frozen myth.
Here’s a bit more about these three essentials in detail.
Follow Your Nose
Truly fresh fish doesn’t smell fishy. If you detect a strong odour then the fish is past it’s best. It should have a pleasant smell of the sea, no more than that. The first thing you will notice when you defrost fish from Fish Fabulous Fish and smell it, is that there is zero fishy odour! A pleasant reminder of the sea is all you will smell. And that is just how it should be!
Follow Your Eyes
Fresh fish should look fresh! If you are looking at whole fish then make sure the eyes are bright and firm, not cloudy and/or sunken. The skin should be iridescent and wet, the flesh should not gape.
What Is Gaping And Why Is It Bad?
When fish is filleted, the cut surface is normally smooth and glossy. Sometimes, however, the flakes separate from one another so that slits or holes appear in the fillet and, in bad cases, it may even drop to pieces when it is skinned; fillets like this are said to gape. Gaping is generally caused by poor handling of the fish and/or the fish being stale. Here’s why…..
● Rough physical handling – There is little connective tissue in fish so what little there is needs to be handled gently. This is fish, not a steak! You can bash steak and tenderise it. Bash fish around and it will fall apart and look a mess!
● Poor temperature control – if the fish is not kept sufficiently chilled then connective tissue between the muscles will start to break down and the fillets will gape. Poor chilling of fish means it won’t keep as long and even lead to food poisoning!
● Delay between catching and filleting – fish needs to be processed as soon after being caught as possible. Delay means that the fish will go through rigor mortis. When this happens the stiffening and contracting of the muscles tears the connective tissue and the fillets will gape. So in this case the fish was not fresh when processed.
Get Over The “Fresh” Is Better Than Frozen Fish Myth
If you are buying fresh fish from the supermarket then that fish is already several days old. In fact an article in the UK press not long ago showed that some supermarket fish was up to 9 days old! So as you can see there’s a massive difference between fresh caught and so called “fresh” fish that you are currently buying in the high street!
If fish is processed and rapid frozen (blast frozen) as soon as it is landed then you will be getting fish that is pretty indistinguishable from fresh caught fish and therefore much fresher than the so called “fresh” fish in the supermarket.
At Fish Fabulous Fish, all our fish is blast frozen this way! The key top quality fish is to freeze the fish properly. If you buy “fresh” fish and freeze at home, your freezer won’t freeze it quickly enough. And there’s the problem!
When you freeze fish by simply sticking it in your freezer, it freezes slowly which means ice crystals form inside the flesh. As the water turns to ice, it expands, rupturing cells within the flesh and causing it to break down. This means that when you go to defrost it to use in your favourite recipes, water from the damaged cells drains out alongside the flavour – now your fish has become mushy and tasteless!”
Another thing to consider is that some “fresh” fish has been previously frozen. It is often frozen on the boat and then defrosted ready for sale in the supermarket. Though it has to by law be labelled as previously frozen or defrosted, this can easily be missed and you may decide to freeze it once home! Obviously dangerous bacteria could have multiplied in the fish once it’s defrosted. Refreezing also causes problems with the quality of the fish as well, since further freezing will exacerbate the breakdown of the flesh.”
The best advice is to buy fish already specially blast frozen within hours of being caught. This fish will be properly prepared, portioned and packaged for the freezer and will keep in top condition for longer than if you froze it yourself!
Check out our range of freshly blast frozen fish>>