When you?re at the market to buy some fish, be prepared to hunch and scan for the freshest catch. Take a closer look at the exterior and then poke and pry at the fish. Allow your eyes and nose to seek out the tell-tale signs of quality.
Here are a list of specific things that you can look for in a fish to gauge its freshness. Remember that the fresher the fish, the tastier it will be.
- Fish should have bright clear eyes, not cloudy ones. A fish with cloudy eyes means that it?s not as fresh as it is supposed to be.
- The fish should also have bulging eyes; sunken eyes are a sign of a dehydrated fish, one that has spent more time on ice than in water before you made your purchase.
- If your nose picks up a very fishy smell coming from the fish, be warned that the fish is not fresh.
- Fish should smell of the sea ? saltwater fish should smell briny and freshwater fish should smell like a clean pond.
Skin & Scales
- Fresh fish should have a healthy sheen.
- If it has scales, they should never look dull. It should be bright and metallic-looking and tightly layered; avoid it if it?s missing chunks of its scales.
- If the scales from the fish have been removed, the flesh should be shiny and wet-looking and not discoloured.
Also Look Out For
- One sure-fire way to discern the freshness of a fish is through touch.
- The flesh should appear firm.
- When you press the flesh of the fish, it should spring back and not leave an indentation. If it doesn?t, the fish is not too fresh.
- The gills should be a vibrant, cherry red.
- When buying fillets, make sure the flesh looks moist and fresh ? never grey or flaky.
- The fillets should lie flat, without any curling edges.
Selecting the freshest fish is easy when you know what to look for. The next time you?re off to the market to make your purchase, trust your senses and always ask to see the fish up close.