How to Store Fresh Fish?
Those who have the catty instinct in them and love fish more than anything else in the world, the question that bothers them often is “How to store fresh fish?”. Storing fresh fish doesn’t call for any complexity. All that it needs is a guided knowledge of how to do it efficiently. The thumb rule of keeping the fish fresh for a longer time is to clean it well (and as soon as possible) before storing it. It is only after you have cleaned, skinned and filleted it, that the actual process of storing fresh fish can start.
There are, broadly, three techniques of storing fresh fish – Icing, Refrigeration and Freezing.
Icing is the best way to transport fresh fish. After a fish is dressed, you can easily ice it. For this, place the fish on layers of ice. Then, cover it with a few more ice layers. Water generally spoils the flavor of the fish. Hence, to avoid this you can use an insulated cooler. Just leave the cooler’s drain plug open so that the ice water can drain off.
Refrigeration is the process commonly used in our houses.
• For this, first wash the fish in cold water.
• Then dry it with paper towel or even a clean cloth.
• Now, wrap it in a plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator.
Normally, fresh fish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Larger fishes stay for a longer time than the smaller ones. Also, lean fishes (like panfish or walleye) can be stored longer than the fatty ones (like trout). This is mainly because fat becomes rancid faster than flesh when stored.
This method is used when you need to store fish for a longer period, that is, three months to twelve months. Fish can lose its flavor and become stale faster when it directly comes in contact with the air. Hence, to avoid this, while freezing the fish, ensure that it is wrapped well in an aluminum foil or a plastic wrap, followed by a freezer paper.
You can also freeze fish in a solid block of ice. For this, place the fish in the refrigerator container. Put enough water so that the fish is just covered.
Thawing a frozen fish in the right way is also important. For this, take the fish out of the freezer and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can place the wrapped fish in cold water for thawing. Do not ever thaw fish at room temperature.
Never thaw a fish in a microwave, as this will start cooking partially thawed portions of the fish even before other parts are thawed completely.
There are other ways of storing fish as well. Some of them are smoking, pickling and canning. It is true that nothing can match the taste of fresh, live fish. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to get a live fish every time you decide to have fish. But, if you store fresh fish in the right way, you can definitely enjoy its freshness for at least a few more days.