—by Kate Wagner, HPC Member
The consumption of fish and seafood increases dramatically in February and March, as many Christians observe the season of Lent. This is a good time to educate ourselves about how to buy, store, prepare, and cook fish safely, as well as how much fish is safe to eat.
Buy the Best
Fish tastes “fishy” when it hasn’t been handled properly. To avoid “fishy” fish, use your senses when making your purchase. Fish should have a fresh and mild odor. It should be firm to the touch and “spring back” into place after you remove your finger. If you can see your finger print after you touch it, or if it has a strong odor, it's not fresh.
Don’t buy cooked seafood, such as shrimp, crab, or smoked fish, that is displayed in the same case as raw fish. Juices from the raw fish can transfer bacteria onto the cooked or ready-toeat fish. For frozen seafood, avoid frost or ice crystals. These are signs that the fish has been stored for a long time, or thawed and refrozen.
Because of its high protein content, fish spoils quickly. Spoilage begins as soon as the fish dies. Ice is the key to fresh-tasting fish. One pound of ice for each 2 pounds of fresh fish is a good rule of thumb.
Freeze fish at 0° F or lower. Fish stored at 15° F for as little as 2 weeks will show a significant loss of quality. Freeze for no more than 4-6 months. Never refreeze fish.