Tips for Buying, Storing, and Preparing Seafood
Always buy seafood from trustworthy sources such as well-known stores and licensed vendors. Frozen seafood has the same nutritional value as fresh seafood, and can be superior in quality as most of it is frozen at sea within a few hours of being caught.
When buying fresh fish, check that ...
- Whole fish and fillets are firm with shiny flesh and bright, red gills free from slime.
- Eyes are clear, shiny, and protrude. Avoid fish with cloudy, sunken eyes.
- Flesh is firm, and springs back when pressed. Scales should be shiny and should cling to the skin.
- There is no darkening around the edges, blemishes, or brown or yellowish discoloration.
- The fish smells fresh and mild, like seawater, with no “fishy” or ammonia-like odor.
When buying fresh shellfish, check that ...
- Shellfish have a fresh ocean aroma. Avoid shellfish with a “fishy” smell.
- Shellfish are alive, with closed shells that are moist looking and not cracked. If open, the shell should close if tapped sharply.
- Fresh crabs and prawns have a good colour and all of their limbs. Crabs should be moving and not sagging at the joints.
- Shucked shellfish meat is plump, covered in a clear or slightly milky liquid, and free of shell or grit.
- Store seafood in the coldest part of your fridge (below 4C). Consume fresh seafood quickly or store it in the freezer for longer.
- Keep fish in its original wrapper. If it is not pre-packaged, rinse it under cool running water, pat dry with a clean paper towel, and place in an airtight rigid container.
- NEVER store live shellfish including crabs in airtight containers as they will suffocate. Instead, place them in an open container and cover with a damp cloth. DO NOT add any water as salt water will shorten shelf life, and freshwater will kill shellfish.
- As with chicken or beef, store raw seafood separate from any other foods to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.
FOR YOUR SAFETY ...
- Wash your hands before and after handling any raw seafood product.
- Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator. Allow one day to thaw OR place the seafood in a re-sealable plastic bag (such as a Ziploc), and immerse it in a pan of cold water in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours per pound of seafood.
- Consume thawed seafood immediately. Do not re-freeze previously frozen products.
- Discard any marinade used with seafood. Never use it on cooked food.
- Wash cutting boards and utensils used for raw seafood immediately.
Suggested Cooking Methods for BC Seafood
- Caring about Food Safety -Fun and Interactive site!
- Oyster Map -A guide to oyster bars in your area!