Most of us cannot make out if the seafood that we’re consuming is freshly caught or has been out of water for a long time. Especially in a city like Mumbai, where you have a market for freshly caught fish and another where only frozen fish is available, it is important to know if it is fresh, not to know where it is coming from. Eventually, if you’re paying for freshness, you deserve genuinely fresh fish.
Here are 6 ways to find it out
1. Catch to home: Common sense says that the freshness of the seafood is inversely proportionate to the duration it is out of water. The longer it is out of water, the lesser fresh it is unless iced. In Mumbai, we often see some ‘on field’ fish sellers even displaying their fish under direct sunlight. This will definitely take away it’s freshness. So the next time you’re buying it, if possible, try to find out when was it caught. You can be 100% sure about the freshness while buying live crabs, live lobsters, etc. but in case of fish, the genuineness of the seller is important.
The cycle of a catch goes like this; when it is caught in deep seas it takes a day or 2, sometimes more, for the trawlers to come back to shore. There are large ice boxes in the trawlers. Though they are not frozen, they are definitely refrigerated on the trawlers to keep fresh. When it comes to the shore, it gets disbursed to different markets and sold generally on the same day. If not, they are deep-freezed and sold later. So it is very important to buy fresh fish as soon as they are caught.
2. Eyes: Ensure that the eyes are clean. If the eyes are red, gelled or clouded, chances are that the fish is out for a long time.
3. Gills: The gill can be opened with your thumb, keeping your index finger on it near the eye. It should be red or maroon. If it is white, gelled or light pink, chances are that the fish is not fresh.
4. Smell: When the fish is fresh it doesn’t emit a fowl smell. However, when cut, the smell of the blood is often misunderstood to be of an unfresh fish. When the fish is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, it starts emitting a fowl smell. Especially with crabs, it is advisable not to buy dead crabs or those who are cut for a long time.
5. Flesh texture: The flesh should not be too soft. You may press it slightly and feel the texture. Especially the area near the stomach. In case you’re buying frozen fish, the texture will be stiff. But this blog is about freshness.
6. Fins: In some fishes like silver pomfrets, the color of the fins become slightly darker/blackish when they are out of water for a longer period.
Eventually, everyone’s motto is to buy and consume fresh fish and not stale, rotten fish. Hope this article helps you in choosing the right seafood from the right place. In case you feel you can add more points, please feel free to write in to email@example.com.