Freshness is everything
Fresh fish has a sweet flavor and juicy texture, where as an old and stale fish would taste bland, dried out, and smelly. Therefore, the key to enjoying the perfect fish dishes laid in its freshness. However, determining the freshness and quality of fish can be challenging.
Tips to help you choose fresh fish
Selecting Whole Fish
1. Check the eyes for clarity Fresh fish should have eyes that are bright, shiny, crystal-clear, and full with a little bulge on it. On the other hand, cloudy, dry out, or sunken eyes are signs that they’re past their prime.
2. Check the gills The gills should be intact with a vibrant red colour. When newly caught, a fish’s gills would be bright red. The gills should also feel clean and not slimy. As fish ages, its gills will slowly darken over time. A dull and brick red-brown color indicates that the fish is no longer fresh.
3. Examine the skin (scales) Fresh fish would have skin that is shiny and not flaky, like it’s just come out of the water. The fresher the fish, the brighter and more metallic the skin. There should not be any discoloration on it. Dry, dull and loose scale are signs of age.
4. Poke the fish. Run and gently press your fingers on the body of the fish. Fresh fish should feel firm, rubbery, and elastic, but not sticky. The skin of Fresh fish should bounce and regain its shape, leaving no indentation after you press it. A soft or squishy feeling is a sign that the fish isn’t fresh.
5. Check the smell Odour differentiates fishes from fresh and stale. Saltwater fish should smell like the sea, while freshwater fish should smell like a pond. If the smell is too fishy, this is an indication that the fish is becoming stale.
Selecting filleted fish
1. Examine the flesh and texture The flesh should look moist, bright and firm. Avoid those that appear dull and soft. If the flesh separates from itself and feels mushy, it’s not fresh. Pooling water inside the container is also an indication that the fillet is aging and losing its ability to lock in moisture.
2. Examine the skin The skin should appear shiny and bright. Avoid those that have dull or torn skin.
3. Check the smell Fresh fish should smell of the sea. Avoid those with a strong fishy smell.