Fresh Seafood Shouldn't Smell Fishy, Food Science Expert
-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- If seafood is on the menu
this holiday, there are a number of ways you can ensure that it's
fresh and safe.
A faint sea odor is normal, but fresh seafood should not smell
"fishy," according to Kantha Shelke, an Institute of Food
Technologists food science expert. Freshly cut fish, peeled
crustaceans (shrimp, prawns, rock shrimp, lobster, soft shell
crabs) and shucked mollusks (scallops, oysters, clams and mussels)
should be moist, not slimy or dry around the edges.
Fresh fish should have clear, well-rounded eyes, not clouded,
dry and sunken. The gills should be bright red, not darkened or
slimy, and the fish should feel moist and springy instead of mushy,
Fresh prawns, shrimp, lobster, soft shell crabs and rock shrimp
should have a uniformly light-colored tail without any
discoloration, Shelke said. Mollusks in the shell should be alive
and hold tightly to their shells when handled and must come with
either a "last sale date" or "date shucked." When buying fresh
oysters, look for a natural creamy color within a clear liquid.
It's best to buy fresh seafood the day you're going to eat it.
If that isn't possible, properly store it in the fridge or freezer
until it is prepared and cooked. Shelke offered the following
- Fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, freshwater prawns, and lobster
tails can be stored in tightly sealed storage bags or plastic
containers and kept on ice in the refrigerator. Using this method,
fresh scallops and crustacean tails will keep three to four days
and fresh fish will keep five to seven days.
- Scallops, crustacean tails and fish can be frozen in water and
stored in a freezer for four to six months (0 degrees Fahrenheit or
lower). To thaw, leave them in the refrigerator overnight or you
can place them under cold, running tap water immediately before you
- Live, hardshell mollusks can remain alive for a week to 10 days
stored un-iced in the fridge, kept at 34 to 38 degrees
- Freshly shucked mollusks can keep for up to 10 days when packed
in ice and stored in the refrigerator.
- Fresh softshell crabs can be stored up to two days if wrapped
in plastic and packed in ice in the fridge. They can keep for up to
six months when wrapped in several layers of plastic and stored in
a freezer (at 0 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to thaw these
overnight in the refrigerator only.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
fresh and frozen seafood.
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