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How to Choose Fresh Seafood

Updated on July 3, 2011
Fresh seafood at a Japanese fish market photo: cranrob @flickr
Fresh seafood at a Japanese fish market photo: cranrob @flickr

Avoid Mistakes When Choosing Fresh Seafood

Make sure you purchase top quality seafoods, whether frozen or fresh. These seafood recommendations on look for can prevent you from making the most common mistakes when choosing seafood.

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What to Avoid When Buying Fresh Fish or Seafood

When you decide to purchase fresh, whole fish, avoid any seafood with the following characteristics:

  • If the overall look of the fish is not shiny and has become dull in color
  • If the scales are loose.
  • Also avoid a fresh fish purchase if the eyeballs have turned cloudy, pink, or become sunken in.
  • Gills shouldn't possess any kind of slime layer, be green, or brownish in color.
  • Look at the tail. It shouldn't be curled up or dried out.
  • Fresh seafood shouldn't have a fishy smell, either.


An Excellent Tip to Choose Fresh Fish

Gently touch the fresh fish. If it is in packaging, do it without damaging the protective wrapping. After you poke it gently, if it's fresh, it should bounce back. The flesh should feel also firm.

If the fish feels soft to the touch, don't buy it. It has gotten old. Also avoid it if you feel slime.

How to Choose Fresh Seafood - What to Expect

At the time you purchase fresh whole fish it ought to be bright and shiny.

Almost all the scales should be unchanged and conform closely to the skin.

The eyeballs ought to be clear and bright, as well as full and sticking out, based on the fish variety.

The brighter crimson color of the gills, the more fresh the fish.

Fish and seafood which are fresh will present virtually no smell whatsoever. If anything, it will have a slight, clean smell like the ocean, but not the fish in it! The fishy odor takes place as time passes.

How to Choose Fresh Seafood - Fish Fillet or Steaks

Avoid buying fresh fish fillets or steaks if they show any of the following signs:

  • If there are indicators of browning or drying out about the ends of the fillets
  • Avoid fish fillets or fish steaks if the edges look gray
  • Don't buy fish fillets or steaks if they look spotty
  • When there is any kind of fluid within the product packaging
  • When plastic wrapping on the package isn't firm
  • If you find lots of room in between the fish and the wrapping


Look for these signs when buying fresh fish fillets or fish steaks:

  • The odor of fresh seafood fillets and fish steaks ought to be clean and light
  • The flesh needs to be damp, not dried out
  • The flesh should also be firm, but flexible
  • It should possess a fresh physical appearance

How to Choose Fresh Frozen Seafood

Whenever you purchase frozen seafood don't buy it if:

  • It's not frozen solid
  • Don't buy any frozen seafood containing ice deposits or water staining
  • If there is any sort of drying out, which could imply freezer burn
  • When there is any kind of discoloration
  • When there is a strong smell


Frozen fish and shellfish must only be bought when it is frozen solid, and when there is no discoloration. If there is any smell at all, it ought to be fresh and slight. The wrapping ought to be damp, but water resistant. The plastic must fit around the seafood tightly without harm of any type. If you see water staining or perhaps ice crystals, that seafood has thawed out previously and then been frozen again. Also, always check on an expiration date.

Flash Frozen Seafood vs. Fresh Seafood

If you are buying any kind of seafood, fresher is usually superior. Whenever you purchase frozen seafood at all, consult with the individual who manages the seafood department. Find out how the seafood was frozen.

In the event the seafood has been flash frozen, it may actually be better compared to fresh seafood. The actual time it requires to transport top quality, fresh seafood to the fish market can cause the seafood to lose a lot of its freshness. Flash frozen is a freezing method when food is actually frozen in just a few hours after harvesting. This process guarantees the highest quality seafood that one can buy.

Anthony Bourdain Samples Fresh Seafood in Australia

How to Choose Fresh Seafood Comments

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    • BrainSpace profile image

      BrainSpace 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the information! It was very informative.

      -Follow me and I will follow you-

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Great help for buying good fresh fish because you could really ill or even die of bad fish.

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