It’s been a while since your last trip to the fish market. You decided to treat yourself by buying some fresh fish, which you cooked that night. The next day, you found it really tough to bite into your flesh, and when you did, it was overcooked and tasteless.
What happened? How long does it take for fresh fish to go bad?
The general rule of thumb is two to four days. However, this varies from fish to fish, so it’s best to check the package to see how long the store-bought variety should be cooked. If you’re in a rush, then opt for frozen fish, which will keep for a longer period. Thawing out frozen fish takes a while, so you’ll have to plan accordingly.
Factors That Influence Fresh Fish Tastebuds
The texture of the fish is one of the key factors that determine its freshness. The flesh should be moist and flaky, not dry and brittle. There should be no strange odor emanating from it either. You know the difference between fresh and frozen fish, right? The former is typically prepared and eaten right away, while the latter is usually stored at cold locations, which preserves its freshness.
The environment inside the kitchen where the fish is cooked also influences how its final flavor will turn out. The fresher the better, so make sure you buy the best quality fish available at the market. The water the fish is washed in determines its quality. If it comes from a clean source, like freshwater or seawater, then it’s better than what comes from a dirty source, like heavily polluted reservoirs or canals. Also, stick to well-known brands when shopping for fish, as this will make a significant difference in its overall taste. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to cook different fish species separately, as they have distinct flavors that complement each other. You can also opt for different cooking methods, like grilling or baking, to further enhance the overall taste of your dish.
The Importance Of Cooked Fish Storage
You should always keep your cooked fish fresh by storing it in the refrigerator. This is where all the good juices are trapped, preventing them from seeping out and making the food mushy. Food can be stored for longer in the refrigerator (up to two weeks), so you’ll have time to eat your fresh catch without any worries. If you try to keep raw fish at room temperature for a longer period of time, then it will start smelling up the place, attracting various insects and making it pretty gross to eat. Moreover, some fish are better stored at room temperature, so make sure you check the individual components when buying. This just depends on the kind of food you prefer—sweet or savory.
How To Test Fish Freshness
As previously mentioned, the texture of the fish is one of the key indicators of its freshness. Before buying, test the texture of the fish by simply biting into it. If it feels slimy or has any kind of stringy texture, then it’s best to walk away as this usually indicates that it has been frozen and thawed out a few times. However, if the flesh is soft and moist, then this usually means that it is fresh and has not been frozen. Most importantly, check the smell of the fish before eating it—if it has a strong scent, then it’s best to pass on this particular variety as it will likely spoil anyway once cooked. This is why it’s always a good idea to read the ingredient list on the packaging before buying, as sometimes manufacturers add fake or strong smells to their fish to disguise its actual smell. You can also ask the fishmonger for assistance if you aren’t sure whether the fish is fresh or not.
As previously mentioned, fresh fish has a shorter life expectancy than frozen varieties. This is mainly because the texture and taste deteriorate rapidly once the fish is cooked. If you follow these simple guidelines, then you’ll ensure that your fish is only tasty in the ‘here and now’. Moreover, if you cook fish often, then it’s best to opt for frozen varieties, as this will save you the time and effort required to cook the fresh kind. This is why most restaurants and fish markets have an entire section devoted to frozen foods, as they are usually bought already cooked, which saves a lot of time. If you opt for frozen fish, then you’ll have to remember to defrost it prior to cooking. This will take a while, so you might as well make the most out of the time.