Making Your Restaurant Better

Making Your Restaurant Better

A Guide For New Fish Eaters: How To Tell If Your Seafood Is Fresh

Virginia Caballero

A part of any healthy diet should include seafood. However, purchasing seafood can be an intimidating process if it is not something that you do on a regular basis. Use this guide to figure out if the seafood you want to purchase is fresh. As you become more confident in your ability to select fresh seafood, you will find it easier to incorporate into your diet.


If you live near a region where shrimp are harvested, purchase shrimp with their heads on. When their heads are still on, they stay moist for longer. It is a little more work for you when it comes to cooking the shrimp, but it also means your shrimp will be moist and more fresh.

If you do not live near a region where shrimp are harvested, your best bet is to purchase whole, frozen shrimp. You want the shrimp to be whole instead of deveined shrimp because the shell helps protect the shrimp from the freezing process and helps keep the shrimp moist. Try to avoid purchasing fresh shrimp if you don't live right next to a shrimp-fishing area because shrimp can very quickly become rotten.


When scallops are harvested, they are generally always shucked before they are sold. The best way to purchase scallops are "dry packed" scallops. Dry packed scallops are not stored in brine; this can compromise the quality of the scallops. If the scallops are stored in what looks like milky water, do not purchase them. Stick to dry packed, frozen scallops for the freshest experience. 


Shellfish spoil very rapidly, which is why they are sold alive. Ideally, you should only purchase shellfish from really good fish markets that have very rapid turnover to ensure that the shellfish you purchase is still alive.

You can tell if the shellfish is alive by tapping lightly on the shell. When you do this, you should notice the shell close tightly. Shellfish are alive, and should react to you. Another way to tell if a shellfish is alive is by cooking it; if it is dead, the shell will not open after it has been cooked. Throw it away if that happens. Lobster Or Crab

When purchasing lobsters or crabs, once again, you need to look for signs of life. Pick crabs or lobsters that are swimming around happily inside of the tank. Don't choose crabs or lobsters that look like they are sulking or just standing around, not moving. When crabs and lobsters get stuck in a tank for weeks, they often starve themselves, and don't make for a very tasty meal.

Like with shellfish, it is best to purchase lobster or crab from an active fish market that quickly goes through inventory, and not from a supermarket that has the same lobsters or crabs inside of their tank for weeks on end. 

Fish Fillets

When purchasing fish fillets the first thing you should pay attention to is color. The fish should be vibrant; the color should not seem faded or dull.  The second thing you should pay attention to is the smell; the fillet should not have a pungent smell it to. If it smells pungent, it is probably not good. 

Third, look at the liquid on the fish. Any liquid should not be milky, it should be clear. If there is milky looking liquid around the fillet, then the fillet is starting to rot. Finally, push your finger into the flesh. The flesh should be strong enough so that your finger indentation disappears. If your finger print hangs around, the fish is probably starting to go bad.

If you ever have any doubts or questions, ask the person working behind the fish counter. They should be able to help you find fresh fish and even offer you cooking advice as well. If you don't feel comfortable finding your own fish, visit a restaurant, such as Buffalo Phil's Pizza & Grille


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About Me
Making Your Restaurant Better

Finding the problems inside your restaurant isn't always easy, especially if you are close to your employees. However, a few years ago I could tell that things weren't going well, and that I needed to do more to improve food quality. I started carefully evaluating every aspect of my restaurant, and before I knew it, I found little changes that made a big difference. This blog is all about making your restaurant a little bit better--one change at a time. You never know, the changed you make today might become the profits that you will make tomorrow. Check out the rest of this blog to learn more.