Food spoilage can put a damper on your day, especially when you had a full-course meal planned. Keeping seafood fresh isn’t always easy, but a few tricks can help you maintain its great taste. Here are a few helpful tips for extending the freshness of seafood; use them to experience the taste of the ocean at its best.
Separate Shellfish and Whole Fish
First, noting the differences between shellfish and whole fish is essential. Shellfish—which includes shrimp, scallops, crab, and lobster—have hard exteriors that you typically don’t consume, while whole fish or fillets have scales or exposed raw meat. These two types of seafood require different storage methods.
Shellfish lasts significantly longer than whole fish, as it can survive in environments with air and water. Place shellfish in a container with a damp paper towel over and underneath them, and store the container inside the refrigerator. The mixture of cool air and constant dampness from the paper towels ensure the shellfish remain fresh.
Your whole fish, on the other hand, need colder air, since spoilage is more likely if the surrounding conditions are too warm. The freezer is typically the best place to extend the freshness of seafood.
Cover It In Ice
Ice is a must-have for storing seafood. Ice ensures the fish remains cold, keeping it fresh for significantly longer, maintaining its taste, and preventing staleness. Place a layer of plastic wrap over fresh whole fish to prevent direct contact with the ice, as the ice may cause freezer burn if the fish becomes too cold too quickly. Wrapping the fish in plastic wrap and submerging it in an ice bowl in the freezer provides maximum freshness.
Shellfish can come in direct contact with ice since you won’t eat the shell. Use mesh bags for seafood packaging to preserve the freshness of the shellfish and allow contact with the ice.
Although ensuring that the seafood remains cold is essential, you must avoid freezing it for extended periods. You shouldn’t keep shellfish or whole fish in the freezer for more than six months. The texture, flavor, and moisture fade the longer seafood remains frozen. Plan to thaw seafood within a couple of months of freezing it. This ensures you have the freshest, best-tasting fish.
It’s also possible to use frozen seafood in your recipes. Recipes for crab masala fry, for example, typically use fresh or frozen crab, so whether your shellfish is fresh or frozen, you can have the best of both worlds.
Using the right storage techniques is the best way to ensure your seafood remains at its peak freshness. Keep cool as you keep your seafood fresh and enjoy the next maritime meal you whip up.