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Frozen Seafood Versus Fresh Seafood: Some Interesting Facts

Updated on July 27, 2009

Is your fresh fish really fresh?

People living near coastal areas are blessed with one great culinary benefit: the ability to savour  freshly caught seafood from the sea.  These inhabitants therefore, may have a lot to say about the differences between fresh and frozen seafoods. However, those not fortunate enough to be able to savour  what is known as the ''clean fresh taste of the sea'' because of their inland geographical location, may still be able to enjoy a good part of what fresh seafood tasted upon being caught. This is thanks to the advances of preservation, in other words refrigeration.

There are still strong beliefs that frozen fish therefore, may not taste exactly as those fresh scallops straight off of the Jersey shore, but that they effectively give some idea. Going into depth on the topic, however, may reveal some interesting surpises as there are many differences between fresh and frozen seafood. Following are some of the most evident and less evident.

Good Things About Fresh Fish

-No Need for Refrigeration Concerns

Because the seafood is fresh, there is no need to be concerned about the seafood being deprived for any length of time from proper refrigeration. With frozen seafood there is always a risk of the fish not being kept at the correct temperature for some time and therefore becoming spoiled.

-No Need to Thaw

At times, it may feel like an inconvenience to thaw fish. With today's busy lifestyles it may be annoying to wait. The process feel long and if not done properly, the fish may spoil. 

-Better Reputation

A restaurant advertising ''fresh seafood'' has better chances of attracting customers than one claiming that its fish is frozen. As with most foods, freshness is often perceived as promising better quality and better flavors. 

Good Things About Frozen Seafood

-It's Frozen at Its Peak

More and more companies resort to what is known as ''flash freezing'' of FAS (frozen at Sea) meaning that the seafood is frozen in a pretty expedited manner, with seafood already frozen while still on the boat. This allows the seafood to be preserved in its peak state of freshness. People often state that seafood preserved in this way is much fresher once unfrozen than fresh fish which is allowed to sit on ice on the boat for hours or days before reaching the shore.

-It Can be Savoured Any Time

Frozen fish offers a great plus for modern lifestyles: flexibility. Purchasing a box of frozen scallops can mean you may cook them tonight, a week from now or even a month ahead.  Whereas, seafood needs to be cooked right away, preferably within hours because it is very perishable. 

-No Need to Test it

Newbies may have a difficult time, recognizing signs of possible spoilage in seafood, therefore a trip to a fish market may be intimidating.  Frozen seafood does not need to be smelled and the shells do not need to be tapped in the same way fresh seafood needs to be, because it is frozen while the fish is still fresh.

-May Be Safer

According to the FDA, freezing may kill some microorganisms found in seafood, but it is important to note that it does not kill ALL of them. For those fans of raw seafood, therefore, frozen seafood may be a better choice than fresh, however, it is always recommended to cook seafood thoroughly to lower the chances of food borne illnesses.


As seen, both fresh seafood and frozen seafood have their pros and cons. Either way, whether you choose fresh or frozen seafood it is always important to practice safe handling of the fish by preventing crossed contamination, cooking the seafood properly and storing the seafood safely in order to prevent bacteria from setting in. 



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