The best way to break down the mistakes that are done when buying seafood is to look at each type of seafood and the characteristics it should have when you purchase it. You should buy high quality seafood whether it is fresh or frozen and these tips on what to look for to keep you from making the top 10 mistakes when buying seafood.
When you go to buy fresh whole fish do not buy it if the appearance of the fish is not bright and shiny, scales are not intact and adhere to the skin. If the eyes have turned pink, cloudy and sunken, except with small eyes fish like salmon. Gills should not have any type of slime coating or be green or brown in color. Fish should not have a fishy odor.
When you buy fresh whole fish it should be bright, shiny, and most of the scales should be intact and adhere tightly to the skin. Every fish has markings and colors that will fade and be less pronounced as the fish loses its freshness. The eyes should be bright, clear, and full and sometimes protrude according to the species. The color of the gills fade over time, turning from bright red to pink, grey and then to a green or brown color so the brighter red the more fresh. Fish that is fresh will have practically no odor at all, the fishy smell happens over time.
When buying fresh fish filets and steaks do not purchasing if the fishy odor is strong, there are signs of browning or drying around the edges of the filets, if plastic wrapping is not tight, it if there is plenty of space between the fish and the wrapping, and if there is any liquid in the packaging.
Fresh fish filets and steaks odor should be fresh and mild. The flesh should be moist, firm, and elastic and have a fresh cut appearance.
When you buy frozen seafood do not buy if it is not frozen solid, if there is any discoloration or any type of drying which can mean freezer burn, if there is an odor. Do not buy any frozen seafood product that has ice crystals or water stains.
Frozen seafood should only be purchased if it is frozen solid and if there is no discoloration and if there is an odor it should be fresh and mild. The wrapping should be moist and vapor proof and should fit around your seafood closely and not damaged in any form. If you notice water stains or ice crystals, the seafood has thawed and been re-frozen. Always look for an expiration date.
When you are purchasing any seafood product fresher is always better. When you buy frozen talk with the person that is in charge of the seafood and learn how the seafood was frozen. If it was “flash frozen” it may in fact be better than fresh. The time it takes to get quality fresh seafood to your store will give the seafood time to age. Flash frozen is when the seafood is frozen within just a few hours of harvesting to ensure the quality that you can buy.