Seafood is a lean protein with fantastic health benefits, but how do you maximise the benefits by picking the freshest fish at the market.
Follow Foodie HQ’s guide and you will always have the freshest seafood available.
Unless of course you catch it yourself!
- Smell the seafood before you buy it. If there is a strong “fishy” smell chances are it has been sitting around for a long time.
- Check how busy the store is. A high turnover of customers means a high turnover of fish and you are likely to be getting fresher produce.
- If buying whole fish check the eyes and gills. The eyes should be clear, not cloudy. The gills should be red, not brown.
- The flesh of fillets should not be waterlogged or soft. It should be slightly firm to touch.
- Check for freezer burn if the fish has been frozen or packed in ice.
- When purchasing shellfish like oysters or mussels, check that the shells are not cracked. If the shells are slightly open, tap them to make sure they close. If they don’t then the fish is dead and therefore inedible.
- When in doubt ask your retailer when their shipment of fish was delivered. If it came in that day, it is the freshest you will get it.
- Buy local. If you live near the coast ask your retailer what fish was caught locally as it won’t have had to travel far.
- Even the freshest seafood will quickly spoil if you don’t store it properly on the way home. Keep an esky and some ice in your car to place the fish in, especially if it is a warm day. Alternatively, you can ask your retailer to double bag your fish with some ice.
When it comes to fish, big isn’t always better. In fact, smaller fish are thought to be better for your health as they contain less mercury than the bigger, deep sea varieties like shark or swordfish.
Seafood with lower levels of mercury include atlantic salmon, herrings, sardines, prawns, lobster, squid, snapper, trevally, mullet, bream and garfish. These fish can be consumed two or three times per week.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to be particularly careful about the fish they consume.
This chart is provided by www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au to help mothers who wish to include fish in their diets but don’t know how much is suitable.