Care and Handling

Food quality research reveals that fish stored above 4 degrees Celsius loses 1 days shelf life per hour (check home fridge temperature to improve shelf life of product).  Carefully handled, fish will remain fresh and edible for 4-6 days, depending on quality of fish when first purchased.

 

Fresh - Chilled

Fish should be stored chilled at all times to ensure its quality and increase shelf-life.

On receipt of chilled fish, the polybin should be immediately placed in the chiller.  To maintain quality it is best kept stored between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius.

Fish purchased for domestic use should be placed in a container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator as soon as possible.  Not all domestic refrigerators are maintained between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius, therefore the base of the container should be lined with ice or icepacks and covered with plastic.  Lay fillets or whole fish on top of the plastic.  If the fish is not being used for several days, cover the fillets or whole fish with a further sheet of plastic and more ice.

Each hour the fish remains above 4 degrees or out of the refrigerator reduces shelf life by 1 day.

It is advisable for domestic shoppers to carry a prepared chilly bag when purchasing fresh chilled fish or ask fish monger for a small bag of ice to ensure the fish remains chilled until it can be refrigerated.

Always have clean hands, utensils and a sharp knife when preparing fish.

 

Frozen

It is without doubt fresh is the best way to consume fish, but there are times when it is necessary to freeze fish to prolong storage and as long as instructions are followed then frozen fish can be enjoyed out of season.

To prepare fish for freezing, it should be thoroughly cleaned, removing all moisture by patting with a paper towel.  Whole fish can be cut into smaller portions.  Fish fillets should be wrapped in plastic cling film and stored in an airtight container or placed in a freezer bag, removing all air to ensure no ice crystals which will spoil the fish.  Fish should be eaten within 3 months of freezing.

Commercially frozen fish is blast frozen at temperatures minus 20 degrees Celsius  (much lower than domestic freezers) and therefore can be stored at this temperature for longer periods but it should not be kept in a domestic freezer for more than 3 months, otherwise the quality will deteriorate gradually.

Frozen fish, depending on size and thickness of fillet, can be cooked either frozen or defrosted.

 

Defrosting

Frozen fish is best placed in a container and defrosted in refrigerator overnight.  Ideally, fish should be cooked as soon as defrosted or semi defrosted. 

If necessary, it can also be defrosted in the oven using defrost or fanbake function but with temperature OFF and for no longer than an hour (30-40 mins if it is a warm day or the fillets are very thin). This method is only suitable for fillets, not recommended for whole fish.

Frozen fish (Monkfish, Ling and Gurnard) is ideal in casseroles, seafood stews, chowders and curries  or it can be enjoyed pan-fried, especially Sole, Flounder and Blue Cod.

Following the above guidelines will improve the quality and enjoyment of your fish meal.