Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Purchase and Prepare Seafood Properly

Written by Jasmine of

Buying fresh seafood is difficult to do. There are many factors that go into choosing the best possible seafood for any meal. Unless you caught the fish or any kind of seafood yourself, you will have a hard time determining how fresh it is.

How to buy seafood?

There are different ways to spot fresh seafood. It is different for fish and shellfish. Here are tips that can help you spot fresh seafood.


For whole fish, check the clearness of its eyes and the shininess of its skin. Clear eyes and metallic skin characterise freshness. If the skin of the fish you see is dull and patchy and its eyes are clouded, it is no longer as fresh as a first catch, but it is still safe to cook and eat. Another characteristic you should consider is the color of the gills. Bright red gills signify that the fish is still fresh, while brick red gills characterize an older fish. Smell the fish to find out if it is still fresh. Fresh fish smell like cucumber or fresh water. A quality fish restaurant in Hong Kong uses fresh seafood to ensure that customers get their money’s worth.

Aside from whole fish, there are a few things you must look into when purchasing fresh shellfish. Ideally, it is better to buy shellfish in fish markets that have a quick turnover to ensure freshness. Dead shellfish cannot be opened once cooked, in such cases these shellfish must be thrown away quickly. Scallops are best bought when they have been vacuum-sealed and frozen. Avoid purchasing scallops that were stored in brine or packed wet. Shrimp is freshest when it is bought frozen and shelled. Shelled shrimp prevents it from rotting quickly. Once the shrimp loses its shell, it tends to rot faster.

These are the characteristics you look for when you purchase seafood. Italian restaurants in Hong Kong make sure that the seafood they serve is always fresh. You can follow their example and cook your own fresh seafood.

How to cook seafood properly?

Now that you know how to purchase fresh seafood, the next step to take is how to prepare seafood properly. Preparing seafood properly ensures that you keep all of its nutrients and avoid any fish borne diseases. Here are some tips that can help you prepare fresh seafood:

1. Thaw frozen seafood gradually by refrigerating it overnight. You can also thaw seafood by placing it in the microwave and putting it on the ‘defrost’ setting.
2. A majority of seafood is cooked in an average temperature of 145⁰F. You can tell if the seafood is done cooking by checking if the fish meat is opaque and is separated easily using a fork. For scallops, the flesh is firm and opaque. For lobsters and shrimps, the flesh turns opaque and pearly. For mussels, oysters, and clams, the shells normally open while they’re being cooked, if they don’t open, throw them away immediately.
3. Never leave seafood outside the refrigerator for more than two hours.
4. Separate hot seafood from cold seafood when serving them for a meal.

These are ways you can follow whenever you need to prepare, cook, and serve seafood. Restaurants in Central make sure their seafood is cooked and served properly for guests. You can follow their example, if you are cooking seafood for any meal of the day.


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