Helpful Tips to Determine if Fish is Actually Fresh

Fish is a healthy, tasty protein and it can be easily transformed into a wide array of dishes. Regardless of if a person wants to make a crisp fried fish or fish curry, there’s no question that this is an amazing ingredient a person should be excited to experiment with.

[ photo: by Francesco Ungaro ]

However, there are some who avoid this particular ingredient because they believe it poses certain challenges. While cooking fish will require some skill, it is easy to find and purchase. Before buying any fish, it’s imperative to make sure it’s really fresh. Just because a sign reads “fresh” doesn’t mean it really is. Keep reading to learn the signs of fresh fish.

Look for Shiny, Firm Flesh

When looking at a fish the flesh should easily bounce back when it’s touched. The skin should also have a natural metallic glow, and should never look dull, like the options found on

The surface of the skin should also be tight, and the scales need to be tightly attached. If a person notices loose scales or cracked skin, it may be a sign of a fish that has begun to rot.

Sniff the Fish

If fish is truly fresh, it should not be extremely smelly. Instead, it needs to have a mild scent. If a person finds a fish that has a very strong, fishy odor or that smells sour, they should avoid it.

The way a fish actually smells is going to be specific to the river or sea where it lived prior to being caught. This means pleasant and natural. If a fish is spoiled or old, or has a sharp or pungent smell of trimethylamine, there’s a problem and the fish should be avoided.

Look at the Fish’s Eyes

In many cases, this is the best way to determine if a fish is really fresh or not is to look at the eyes. They can tell a buyer quite a bit about how fresh the fish is.

The eyes should be clear, shiny, and bulging. There should not be any signs of cloudiness. If the eyes are sunken into the head, it may be an indication that the fish is older.

Check Out the Gills

If a person is planning to purchase a whole fish, they need to look at the gills. The color should be reddish or bright pink. The gills also needed to be wet, rather than dry or slimy. 

Other Signs of Fresh Fish

When trying to purchase fresh fish, there are several other signs to look for, as well. For example, look for signs of discoloration on the skin. This includes yellow or brown sliminess near the edges.

Another issue is if the skin has a spongy texture. Both of these are signs of an old fish.

Buying Fresh Fish isn’t as Hard as it May Seem

When it comes to purchasing fresh fish, it’s important to be aware of what to look for. The signs here will let a person know, for sure, whether or not the fish they are about to purchase is really fresh.

If it isn’t, it’s best to avoid buying it, as it may cause food poisoning or other health problems if consumed. Be sure to keep this information in mind when shopping for fish. 

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