In choosing seafood, “go fresh” would be the usual advice. But are fresh seafood always the better choice?
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Those living within a few miles off the coast or near a lake have a good chance of getting fish of excellent quality. Those who live inland may take a risk at fish claimed to be fresh, but with extreme caution: “Fresh” fish tossed into a bed of ice may be days-old, stale, and previously frozen, especially if they are not local and in season.
But don’t fret. Chances are fish stored in grocery freezers are still at par with the freshest catch, thanks to modern freezing techniques. Seafood suppliers employ freezing techniques right on the boat to keep fish and other seafood at their best state even when they are transported for a long period and are prone to perish easily. Fish buyers are therefore not restricted to just what’s available fresh today.
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Some of these modern techniques include vacuum sealing and quick freezing. Vacuum sealing involves placing fish in airtight bags after coating them with a thin smear of ice to lock in moisture even when they are not to be consumed immediately.
Quick freezing meanwhile slows down fish spoilage by immediately freezing them to below zero temperatures stopping potential bacteria growth better than putting them on a regular freezer or a container full of ice.
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Flash-frozen or vacuum-sealed, the look, taste and nutritional value of properly frozen seafood is as good as fresh–probably better, even.