How to Buy & Store Fresh Fish

Here are 6 tips for buying and storing fresh seafood.

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Preparing fish starts with knowing how to properly shop and store your purchases. When shopping for fresh fish, plan on using it within the first day or two (at the latest) of the week, says Amy Goodson, MS, CSCS, Dallas Cowboys sports dietitian and co-author of Swim, Bike, Run—Eat: The Complete Guide to Fueling Your Triathlon (July 2014). “

Ideally you should cook it within 24 hours of purchase, but it can stay refrigerated for up to 48 hours before cooking.” Plus, look for “fresh” instead of “previously frozen,” or ask how long the fish has been thawed out, Goodson says. “The same rule applies. Since you want to cook fish within 48 hours of thawing, if the fish has already been thawed 24 hours, you need to cook it within a day of purchase.”

• Look for wild fish versus farmed fish, as they contain higher levels of omega-3

• Fresh fish should be nearly odorless and not smell “fishy”

• Do not leave fish at room temperature for longer than an accumulated four hours (as with all proteins)

• When choosing wild-caught seafood look for the Marine Stewardship Council label (, which certifies the fishery demonstrates effective management and maintains healthy populations and ecosystems.

• Frozen fish should be solidly frozen and tightly sealed, free of freezer burn

• Lean fish such as sole, catfish, cod and orange roughy may be frozen (wrapped in freezer paper or plastic bags) for up to six months, and up to three months for fatty fish like salmon.

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