Irrespective of the type of food you purchase, proper handling and storage are highly essential and they follow a few basic rules. Seafood is generally more perishable than other foods, therefore, buyers should give somewhat more consideration to its proper handling. Regardless of whether an individual purchases fish from a grocery store, market, or harvests fresh fish, appropriate handling and storage are important. They will help in maintaining the quality as well as safety of the seafood.
Grocery stores usually have custom cold rooms to properly store their seafood and meat products. However, instead of the availability of different types of storage methods, seafood is still very perishable and must be handled with proper care. Following are a few easy and simple safety tips to properly handle, store, and cook the seafood.
Always Keep Seafood at Low Temperatures
The freshness of your seafood and how long it will stay fresh will primarily depend upon its purchasing condition. Moreover, it also depends on your handling and storage conditions. While storing the fish, put it into the coldest part of the fridge. Seafood easily loses its taste and deteriorates quickly at high temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended to use ice to keep fish fresh for longer.
Moreover, buy fish at the end of your shopping trip, and carry an ice cooler to take it home. In case you have caught fresh fish, place it on ice promptly or utilize crushed ice to properly store it.
Proper Storage of Seafood
There are different ways to handle and store different types of seafood. Finfish must be put in the fridge for 1 – 2 days after buying from the market. It is a great approach to place it on the ice in the fridge to keep it cold. If you don’t plan to use the fish in the coming 1 or 2 days, tightly pack it inside a moisture-resistant bag and put it into the freezer.
Shellfish, for example, mussels, oysters, and clams that are bought live in their shells must be placed in a shallow container having no water in it. Then these must be covered with wet paper towel and stored in the fridge. Crabs and lobsters must be cooked on the same day you bought them. Moreover, frozen fish must be kept frozen, and labelled properly so you can utilize them before their taste changes.
Proper Handling and Preparation of Seafood
All kinds of food items should be properly handled. Moreover, it is recommended to use a clean area for their preparation to prevent cross-contamination. Continuously make sure to keep your hands, cutting tools, and preparation area clean and germ-free. Always avoid direct contact with raw food items especially seafood, meat, and poultry with cooked foods. For example, fresh fruits and veggies, salads, smoked fish, and so on.
Regardless of whether you are storing seafood in the fridge or defrosting it, ensure that the juices from raw fish don’t dribble onto the cooked foods. Besides, the marinade is an incredible option for fish yet must not be saved and utilized as a sauce except if the marinade has been cooked to kill the harmful bacteria.
Proper Cooking of Seafood
To prevent any foodborne disease, it is important to cook fish at approximately 145° F for 15 – 30 seconds. Try to utilize a reliable food thermometer to check the temperature and make sure that your seafood is completely cooked. Moreover, try to avoid overcooking the seafood to get its nutrients. When completely cooked, shrimp and scallops will become slightly thick as well as opaque. Shells of different shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams will open and they will turn out to be opaque. However, shells of crabs and lobster will become bright red on cooking.