How Long Is Fish From The Deli Good? [Answered!]

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You have just bought some fish from the deli. It was on special offer and is high-quality fish. But how long will it keep? You must be wondering this as well. Will it still be good after 3 days? Will it still be good after a week? Will it still be good after a month?

Usually, the sell-by date on fish is written on the packet or the box. But what does this date mean? Do you need to throw away any fish that is past its ‘best before’ date? Should you be eating it anyway?

What is the best way to determine how long ‘fresh’ fish will keep? How about trying it out yourself? You can do this by preparing a simple meal using high-quality fish that you have just bought. Watch the fish closely during the first few days after you prepare it. This is when the fish will be at its best, before it starts losing its taste. If you prepare it a day or two after you buy it, the fish will be a bit more ‘off’ in terms of freshness. So, try to avoid preparing cooked food with fish that is more than two days old.

Key Points

Fish is one of the most popular food items amongst students. It is not only healthy but also light and easy to prepare. Most importantly, it can be kept in the fridge for a long time. This makes it easy to grab and go, whether you have an event or a lecture to prepare for. Your fish will stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge.

So, if you are looking to buy some high-quality fish, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind. These include the type of fish, its freshness, and how long it will keep.

What Is Fish?

Fish is a food product, usually saltwater-based and low in fat. It contains small, sharp bones called gnocchi, which give it a wonderful texture, similar to potato or rice. This is why most fish is used in Italian cooking and why many restaurants specialize in seafood.

Depending on where you are located, you will get to choose from a variety of fresh fish. Popular choices include the following:

  • Fish that is fresh and not frozen – this will keep well for up to a week after purchase;
  • Fish that is frozen at – 18 degrees – this will keep for up to six months;
  • Fish that is farmed – this is a popular choice amongst consumers and is considered a healthy alternative to ‘wild catch’ varieties;
  • Marble Fish – this is a type of salmon that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids – these play an important role in promoting heart health;
  • Sole – this is a type of flatfish, which is typically served fried;
  • Tuna – this is a versatile foodstuff that is often canned and used in food preparations;
  • Red Snapper – this is a type of larger fish that is most popular in the Caribbean and is usually prepared by baking, grilling, or deep-frying;
  • Trout – this is a type of freshwater fish, which are usually small in size and delicate in flavor;
  • Lump Crab – this type of crab has a firm texture and a sweet flavor, which makes it particularly popular in Asian cuisine;
  • Prawn – this is a type of large shrimp, which is usually cooked on the grill and served with cocktails or spicy hot sauce;
  • Shrimp – this is another type of large shrimp, which is often included in seafood mixes;
  • Scallop – this is a type of seafood, which can also be found in larger supermarkets; and
  • Squid – this is a type of cephalopod, which is typically shaped like a doughnut and has a tough, rubbery texture.

Keeping Fish Fresh

Although we often buy fish ‘fresh’, this does not always mean it is prepared right away. Most fish is stored frozen for later use. When ready to eat, you just need to defrost it. Some types of seafood, such as crabs and lobsters, require more time to thaw out. During this process, you will need to make sure the meat is still alive. Otherwise, you will have to throw it away.

To keep your fresh fish for a longer period of time, store it in the fridge. Make sure you remove any pieces of ice that form around the fish before serving. This will prevent the fish from deteriorating. If you put the fish on a plate, cover it with a lid, and put it in the fridge, this will help keep the fish fresh. If the plate is covered, the oxygen is prevented from coming in contact with the fish. So, the chances of it going bad are greatly reduced.

How Long Does Fish Stay Fresh?

If you prepare raw fish right away, within a few hours of purchase, the fish will start losing its freshness. Especially if you buy it from the deli counter and it has not been pre-cooked, the quality will decline rapidly. So, if you are planning on preparing fish right away, do not buy any that is more than two days old. Frozen fish will stay fresh for up to a week, after which it will be considered ‘used up’. You should throw it away and replace it with some new fish. If you store it in the fridge, it will stay fresh for up to a month, after which it will start going bad.

If you prepare it a day or two after purchase, the quality will decline a bit. But, this is still fresh, and it will stay fresh for up to three days, after which it will start losing its taste. Depending on how far away the fish store is, how ‘old’ it is, and how fast you drive, it might be good for three hours, three days, or even three weeks. This is why you must try out the fish to see how long it will keep. You will not know until you test it. Once you do, you will never buy fish that is not fresh again.

If you find that a particular type of fish goes bad after a certain period of time, it is always a good idea to try and find out when this ‘cut-off’ point is. This way, you will know when to start throwing it out, rather than eating it, which could potentially make you sick. Some foods, like milk and coffee, have a long shelf life. However, others, like fish and chocolate, do not. So, you must take this into consideration when planning your weekly food shop.

What Do You Buy Fish-wise?

You need to make sure that the type of fish you buy is what the shop assistant tells you it is. Most stores will list the type of fish on the bag or the box, which you can read easily. This way, you can be sure that what you are buying is what you ordered. If you see that a variety of fish is sold under the same name, this is usually an indication that the fish is of a similar nature, but it could also mean that the shop is selling several different types of fish under one name. This is why, when you buy fish, you must always try to ask the shop assistant for advice, rather than relying on the packaging. A sign of a good fish shop is one that provides clear and concise information about the different varieties of fish it sells, rather than just the one type of fish, which many shops provide these days.

If you are not sure what type of fish is available at your local fish shop, ask the shop assistant for help. Or, you can always look it up yourself. Most fish shops will have an encyclopaedia-type of book that lists the types of fish available, as well as their nutritional information and how to cook them. This is a great way to learn how to cook a fish that is new to you. Or, at least, how to cook it better than the way you eat the fish you are already familiar with.

Marquise Fish

This is a type of salmon, which is often prepared by baking or grilling. It has a flaky texture and a sweet taste, which makes it excellent as a bedding for rich, creamy sauces or paired with grilled chicken.

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