Seafood tastes best when they are fresh with the ocean smell and beautiful texture. However, it is ironic that one of the most delicious food like seafood is so easy to be spoiled. With such a perishable ingredient, storing seafood is a difficult work that required some certain knowledge. This article, hence, will provide you some basic guidelines to correctly store seafood. We will go to details with different types of seafood.
The most basic rule for storing fish as well as other seafood is “keep it cold, keep it clean, store it quick, prepare and cook it properly”. Since seafood has short preservation time and is very easy to go bad, you should note some storing tips so you will not waste your money or have bad seafood dishes because the reduced quality of this ingredient.
When buying fishes in the market or supermarket, observe the fish’s eye. If the eyes are clear and translucent and the flesh has certain elastic pound with smell of ocean, then they are good fresh fish you can take home. Remember to buy fish last and put them in the fridge as soon as possible. Since the quality will be lost with higher storage temperature, make sure you store your fish at 400F or lower or in the refrigerator’s coldest part.
After you have washed and drained water from the fishes, put them in sealed containers or closed plastic bags because you don’t want you fridge smell terrible from the leakage later. You can put them with ice as well, but make sure that ice don’t melt and produce water later. Fresh fish should be stay in the fridge for 2-4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Don’t store your fish in freezer for too long, it won’t turn bad but the quality is not as good either.
For thawing frozen fish, put them in cool part of fridge for a day. Put them in container or bowl to prevent leakage and odor when thawing. Don’t store or let raw fish contact with other food especially vegetables, fruit, meat or cooked foods.
Storing Fresh Clams, Oysters, or Mussels
The best way to cook clams, oysters or mussels is to cook right away for their freshness. When purchasing these shellfish, test whether they are alive by tapping on the shells. If the shell slightly closes then you can take them home. These seafood is very easy to go bad, so they should smell like ocean.
For fresh alive shellfish, put them in a shallow pan or bowl and cover the container with moistened paper towers so they won’t dry out. Refrigerated with the temperature around 35 to 400F. You can keep them in fridge about 2-3 days for mussels and clams, 7-10 days for oyster. Remember not add water, store them in plastic bags or closed/sealed containers.
After cooking, the shells should be open as they are ready to be eaten. Those with closed shells after cooking are not good and you should discard them.
With scallop, you just have to preserve them in your fridge but not more than 2 days for fresh ones. Just give them a wrap after you dry them with a tower or paper towers and remove as much air as possible from the containers before putting them in the freezer. For frozen scallops, you can keep them up to three months. Put your scallops in the cool part of your fridge for thawing one day before cooking. And remember not to store scallops in water.
Clams and mussels: Put them and their liquid in airtight containers in your fridge
Oysters: Store them in airtight containers or wrapped bowl if you are going to cook them within a day. Keep them in the coldest part of fridge if you are not going to cook right away.
Scallops: Shucked scallops should be kept in sealed containers or stored with ice and then put in the coldest shelve of your refrigerator.
If you lucky enough to have alive crabs, then try to keep them alive as long as possible. There are huge difference between fresh alive crabs with dead ones. The crabs must be still able to breathe to test whether they are fresh or not. For fresh crab, you should keep them alive in sea water, or in cool, moist condition. A cardboard box and paper bag are recommended. The common mistake is to put fresh alive crabs in bucket of water or directly on ice, the crabs will suffocate and die very soon. The right temperature is around 500 F.
For fresh crab meat, you should store them in refrigerator’s ice shelve. Crab legs for cooked crab should be warped with foil or put in airtight containers before going to the refrigerator.
For storing fresh shrimp, the most recommended method is placing them on crushed ice and then making sure you drain the water couples times a day or through a pipe. The purpose is to prevent fresh shrimps dipped in water. This will reduce their natural flesh texture. Other way to keep shrimps fresh is keeping them in the coldest shelve of your refrigerator in plastic bags or containers. Cooked shrimps are require cool environment to perverse as well. And remember not to freeze shrimps long time, the flavor and texture will be reduced.
This expensive delicious creature should be treated like a king. It is matter of course. You don’t want to throw hundred dollar through the window for any mistake. Therefore, mark following advices for this fancy tasty seafood. Our priority is to keep lobsters alive. They need to be alive when cooking for perfect taste. Keep lobsters in open containers, cardboard box, refrigerator or cold place and keep them moist. Do not throw your lobsters into water buckets or on ice. You will turn a beautiful alive lobsters to dead ones in real time.
Just like lobsters, crawfish and crayfish should be alive when you cook them. In order to do so, you need to keep them moist with cool temperature around 40 – 500F. You can keep them in open containers, cardboard boxes with some ice to keep them alive. You also can put some seaweed or damp newspaper on top of your crawfish/crayfish. If your crawfish/crayfish is frozen, put them in cool corner of refrigerator. Don’t put them in water and the cooked ones that having straight tails are dead ones.