Fish is a staple of the South Beach Diet for many reasons. For one thing, fish is an excellent source of lean protein. Additionally, many types of fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and most contain essential vitamins and other nutrients that can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, depression, and some cancers. Fish can also be cooked quickly and easily, and it lends itself to a wide range of cooking techniques and cuisines. But how can you tell if the fish you buy is fresh? Follow these tips to help you purchase the tastiest fish.
for bright, clear eyes.
If you’re buying whole fish to save money (and having your fish purveyor fillet
it for you), bright, bulging clear eyes are an indication of freshness.
Although dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, they are past their prime and peak
freshness. If the eyes are sunken or discolored, then the fish may not be
whiff. Some people are turned off by the
idea of eating fish because of its strong taste and smell. When you first enter
a fish market and you detect a strong overly fishy odor, chances are some of
the fish are old or are not properly refrigerated. A reputable fish market
should not smell strongly of fish. Fish that have lighter or milder flavors and
smells are halibut, flounder, sole, mahi mahi, sea bass, and grouper. Ask the
dealer to point out the freshest unfrozen fish and those that have been
previously frozen. The dealer can also tell you which fish has been caught wild
and which has been farmed.
the color. The flesh of fish fillets should
look firm, bright, and clear. For instance, fresh tuna will have a dark red
color, and farm-raised salmon will be bright pink. Wild salmon is generally
redder than the farm-raised variety; white fish should have a clear appearance.
As a general rule, avoid all fish that have any discoloration or show signs of
dryness or aging. On whole fish, the gills should be deep red and the skin
vibrant and unbroken.
- Check the placard. Most grocery store fish departments will use placards to label the fish as either fresh or frozen. Note that there’s nothing wrong with a frozen piece of fish — in fact some frozen fish are fresher because they’re frozen at sea immediately after being caught. Local fish tend to be fresher than those that have been shipped.