How to know your fish is fresh
Fish is a delicious protein to accompany any meal and can be quick and easy to source, prepare and cook if you know what you are looking for.
The best time to eat a fish is shortly after it has been caught, and as fresh fish can be hard to get a hold of we have compiled a few handy hints for you to consider when you’re looking for the freshest catch:
How does it look?
- Take a look at the eyes; on a fresh fish, they will be clear and bright. Cloudy or glazed over eyes indicate that a fish is not fresh, or perhaps not healthy.
- The skin should look clean and metallic, the vibrancy of the fish fades with time. Take notice of the scales, they should all be intact and not flaking, with no discolouration.
- Take a look at the gills, again these should be a vibrant red and not too dark in colour.
How does it feel?
- When you touch the fish it should feel firm and should bounce back when pressed.
- The skin should be a little rubbery and wet, dry skin suggests that the fish has been out of the water for a while.
How does it smell?
- Newly caught fish and older fish are easily distinguished from one another; older fish have a strong, fishy smell whereas fresh fish will smell like the sea or river that it had come from.
Where are you buying?
- Start a conversation with the seller, ask about what fish they recommend and check that they know what they are talking about.
- Take a good look at the displays and ensure the fish is surrounded by ice and everything looks hygienic.
When are you buying?
- As the old wives tale states, Monday probably isn’t the best day to buy fish, when buying locally. Not many fishing boats go out on a Sunday and so the fish being sold may have been sitting around since before the weekend.
- Buying fish that is in season not only provides a better quality for your money but helps sustainable fishing by reducing demand for fish in the wrong stages of their life cycle. Fish that are currently in season include; dab, dover sole, haddock, halibut, hake, sea bass (wild), lemon sole, mackerel, monkfish and plaice.