Normally, there are two main places where you can buy fresh seafood: your local fresh seafood market and a supermarket's seafood section. The fresh seafood market is considered the best out of these two options, since fresh seafood is its specialty. The most vital point about a good seafood market is that it should have a fresh aroma of the sea, which is actually a sweet and pleasant smell. In other words, if fish smells like fish, it is not fresh. Second, a good seafood market displays seafood uncovered, lying on shaved ice or on the tray, placed in the ice.
How do you know whether you buy fresh seafood? Seafood is a very tender product, subjected to fast spoiling. For instance, crabs are fresh only when they are alive and if they are dead, you must not cook them. What concerns the other seafood products, they also lose their freshness and natural taste very quickly.
If you prefer to buy fish fillets, they should have clean, fresh appearance. If there is any browning or curling around the fillet edges- this fish is old. When touching it, the fillet should be elastic but firm. When you press your finger into the flesh, it should retain its shape. The skin of the fish also indicates its age: it should be smooth and slick, but not dry or slimy. Furthermore, if you want to buy fresh seafood, buy it in accordance with the seasons, as species fishing has its own periods of catching.
The other keas to buy fresh seafood are the following: fillets, steaks and shrimps should have shiny surfaces; clams and oysters should have tightly closed shells; the whole fish should have red or pink (rather than grey) gills and clear slightly bulging eyes.
Buying frozen seafood, keep in mind that the frozen seafood loses about thirty percent of its moisture, as it thaws and is more appropriate for moist cooking methods. Hence, the frozen seafood is not suitable for grilling, as its meat texture will lose all its moisture on the grill and become dry.
What else can we say about the frozen seafood? If a package cover of frozen seafood is transparent, look if there is frost or ice crystals. It can indicate that the fish has either been stored for a long time or thawed and refrozen.
What about seafood sections in the supermarkets? It is worth noting that recently (during the last ten years or so) the quality of seafood sections in the supermarkets has improved considerably. It concerns the quality of products and the staff qualifications as well. A friendly and professional staff is ready to help increase your knowledge about different seafood species and cooking styles. Still, seafood market offers a greater choice and variety of seafood than the supermarket's seafood section does.
Finally, always buy fresh seafood from reputable sources. For instance, it is better to avoid vendors, selling fish out of the back of their pick-up trucks. It is even better to buy seafood from the same vendor, since you already know that you can buy always fresh seafood and regular clientele have more advantages in service.