Most Australians love seafood, which is why the industry is so big here.
From seafood markets to supermarkets, we are blessed with a wide range of seafood options, all of them as delicious as the next. But seafood also requires care to ensure it remains fresh, tasty and bacteria free. In today’s article, we provide some tips how to keep your seafood fresh all the way from purchase to eating.
When you purchase seafood, be it from a supermarket or seafood market, you’ll notice that almost all seafood is kept on ice. This is for two key reasons; you need to keep seafood both cold and maintain moisture. If you fail either of these, the overall quality of your seafood will diminish. Of course, the most important factor here is keeping the seafood cool.
Once you purchase whatever seafood you want, you should aim to keep it cool for as long as you can between purchasing it and getting it back home. If you only live a few minutes away, then keeping all cool items together should be fine. However, if you live an hour or so away, you’ll probably want to consider an esky filled with ice or, if you’re purchasing a large amount of seafood, hiring out a cold storage/refrigerated truck or van for the day.
Also be careful with how you handle your seafood. Rough handling can can lead to bruising and/or blood vessels rupturing, which can prematurely spoil your catch.
At home storage
Once home, unless you’re going to consume your seafood that day, then you should freeze your seafood. If you are going to have it straight away on the very same day of purchase, then placing it in the fridge should be fine. Although it is worth noting that you should store in the lower shelves or crisper where the fridge naturally stays the coolest (hot air rises, cool air sinks).
If you do need to freeze it, be aware that different seafood types do require slightly different treatments. Not only that, but different seafood can last longer or shorter than others when frozen. Overall, however, freezing seafood will afford you a few additional months before needing to consume it. After all, freezing essentially halts the bacteria growth and food deterioration, but it can also impact on the quality and taste to varying degrees. For your reference, here are some general guidelines to follow for the freezing of different seafood types:
- Before freezing, make sure you scale, gut, gill and wipe out all fish so that they’re ready for consumption after thawing
- For molluscs, clean them thoroughly and then remove the meat. It’s suggested that you place them in airtight freezer bags, and that you remove as much air from the bags as possible before freezing
- Not that non-oily fish can be frozen for up to 6 months at -20°C.
- Oily fish can ideally be frozen for up to 3 months at -20°C, as can molluscs and crustaceans.
- For prawns, place them in a large container, fill with water, and seal. The ice that forms insulates them and keeps them nice and fresh. Do not use any salt as this sucks away important moisture.
- Ensure you label all seafood so you know when you placed them in the freezer, thus avoiding keeping them frozen for prolonged periods of time
- Just be sure to note that if your freezer cannot reach -20°C (many domestic freezers can’t), this means it is worth consuming all frozen seafood within 3 months, even those types that can otherwise keep for 6 months. Of course, if your freezer does offer a temperature set of -20°C, then this does not apply to you. If you happen to not consume your seafood within the suggested times, this isn’t necessarily a health risk, but just be cautious.
Just as a little footnote, remember that when thawing frozen seafood, you should first let it thaw in your fridge for 24 hours. After that, you can take it to cook. The reason for this is that thawing at the typically higher room temperature can cause bacteria to grow. Rapid changes in temperature in meat – seafood or otherwise – is grounds for harmful bacteria to multiply.
If you’re looking for a refrigerated transport solution for any meats or products you need to keep chilled, give us Brisk Refrigerated Truck Rentals a call on 1300 798 558.