Fish is a very vulnerable and perishable food and, as any other type of food must guarantee its safety and quality. On the other hand, there is no doubt that it is one of the essential protagonists in our food diet. Not only because of its infinite nutritional properties, but also because it is easy to digest.
Therefore, before buying the fish, we must pay attention and start our five senses so they do not sell us cat for Hare. Do not be fooled and learn to differentiate with the naked eye when a fish is really fresh.
What is a fresh fish?
The AZTI Technological centre, an expert in marine and food innovation, has developed a guide for the sensory evaluation of fish, which is very useful for the general public and the companies in the fisheries and food sectors. According to this guide, “a fishery product is fresh when it has properties close to those that correspond to live fish”. In other words, fresh fish is one that is preserved in cold (not frozen, since it would be considered a processed product) is suitable for human consumption.
How to identify when it is fresh fish?
Although it may seem like a difficult task, we have four essential allies that can help us a lot in knowing whether we are in front of a fresh fish or not. The sight, the smell, the taste and the touch will allow us to carry out a sensory analysis of the fish to evaluate its freshness and quality. But… in which parts of the fish should we set ourselves to determine the freshness?
- The skin must be shiny, elastic with a certain metallic reflex, and it will be well adhered to the meat. You must not forget: a greater definition of colors, greater freshness.
- The eyes must maintain a vivid and bright appearance: if you see them shady or rather sunken it is preferable that you do not buy it. The colors must be very well defined, bright, with black pupil and transparent crystalline.
- They must have a shape, usually convex. Some species, such as sole and monkfish, must have a slightly convex appearance. As exceptions, the eyes of the hake have to be slightly convex or flat and those of the bonito must have a flat appearance, indicating a greater freshness.
- Whenever we observe or we can touch the fish and we realize that the skin, the scales or the gills are easily detached from the rest of the animal, we will know that they are signs that indicate that the fish is no longer fresh. Also, the gills must be red and shiny.
- Its smell must detach cool, to fresh or salty water (depending on the origin of the fish). It must never detach an ammoniated smell, clear and unmistakable symptom of its poor condition. Nevertheless, the cartilaginous fish like the streak, usually detach both in the mouth and anal area, a light smell of ammonia. This smell is normal and synonymous of freshness. But in the case that its meat smells this way, already we can give for fact, of which this fish has already stopped being a fresh air.
- If the spine is large, it should ooze a pink fluid. We must look at cutting the piece: If the spinal cord festers a red or pink juice, the piece will be fresh. The more dull and brown the color, the less fresh. If it is brown or close, the piece already touches the bad state.
In addition to verifying at the moment of the buy the characteristics that we have just indicated you, you must bear in mind that, on having come to house, the good conservation of the fish depends on you.