31 Oct

Tips on Identifying Fresh Fish

It’s understandable why so many people love fish – it tastes great and is also a fantastic brain food.

But just like any other meat out there, sometimes we can unfortunately purchase a supposedly nice fish – whether whole or a fillet – only to find out it’s gone rotten. In this blog, we’re going to offer you some simple tips on how to identify whether a piece of fish is fresh or starting to rot away.

The eyes

If you enjoy buying whole fish either from a supermarket, fish shop or a fishmonger at a local market, one of the first things you should do is examine the eyes. If the eyes are bright and clear, then chances are the fish is fresh. However, if you notice the eyes have dulled or a glazed over, this most likely means it’s been dead for a while and isn’t as fresh as it could be.

The skin

Once again, if you buy whole fish, another good way to judge its freshness is to observe its skin. If the skin looks shiny, clean and metallic, these are the signs you’d expect from a fresh piece of fish. If, however, any of the skin is discoloured or has lost its sheen and colour, then this could be a sign of some serious ageing.

If you prefer just purchasing fish fillets, keep an eye out for any bruising. This is pretty clear as fillets are typically white and bruising will show up as a clear dark grey or black mark. Regardless of the colour of your fish’s normal flesh (for example, you may be looking to buy salmon), bruises will always show up in a similar dark grey or blackened fashion. 

Another thing to observe with fillets is the liquid on the fillets. In other words, whatever moisture or slight layer of liquid is on your fillets, it should be completely clear. If you notice the liquid on your prospective fillet is a milky colour, do not purchase it. A milky colour is one of the first signs of rot.

The gills

Back to whole fish, the gills can also paint a clear picture of the freshness of your fish. Typically, the gills should be a rich red colour. A faded red colour or brick-like colour will not cut it because your fish isn’t fresh. Either rich red or nothing.

The smell

Last but not least, make sure you smell your fish. Because even if every other sign is pointing to a fresh fish, the smell can be one of your most telltale sign. Of course, any fish that is rotting should manifest this fact through the other signs, but the smell of a fresh fish is usually one of the most consistent.

Simply, a fresh fish should smell, well, fresh. Either it should smell like clean water or similar to a fresh ocean or even a smell comparable to cucumbers. If your fish has an actual “fishy” smell or any pungent, unpleasant smell, this is a definitive sign that you’re dealing with a rotten fish, and no amount of cooking will reverse the bad taste it results in.

Any other signs you believe should be mentioned here? Share them with us in the comments below.

* Image source: bigjom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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