Fresher Frozen - It All Comes
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Information for this page came from the
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
When people ask "Is the
seafood fresh?" what they really mean is "Is it good quality?" It may
come as a surprise, but the best quality seafood is often frozen.
Seafood quality cannot be improved once it leaves the water, it can only
be maintained. Therefore, Alaska has chosen high technology freezing as
a superior method of preserving its seafood the minute it leaves the
The watchwords for
maintaining seafood quality are time, temperature and cleanliness. As
time passes and ambient temperature climbs, bacterial growth increases,
seafood quality diminishes, and eventually spoils. Seafood, like other
foods, needs to be frozen very quickly to prevent cellular damage.
Alaska seafood is rapidly chilled down and held at 32F until it is flash
frozen at a temperature no higher than -20F and protected from
dehydration by glazing (a covering of water that forms a protective
sheet of ice). Alaska seafood is held or transported at below 0 F for a
resulting product that tastes every bit as fresh as the day it left the
water. Numerous studies have shown that most consumers cannot tell the
difference between high quality frozen seafood and quality fresh
How To Purchase Seafood:
At the grocery store you
will find fresh-frozen Alaska seafood in two places in the frozen foods
department and at the seafood counter. When purchasing frozen seafood,
look for solidly frozen packages. Do not buy fish or shellfish that is
stored above the chill line of the case. Do not buy seafood with freezer
burns, or icy white discoloration.
When purchasing fresh or
thawed Alaska seafood from the seafood counter, let your eyes and nose
be the judge. Good quality seafood smells sea-fresh. It should not have
a strong odor or smell "fishy." Fish fillets and steaks should appear
moist, firm and freshly cut. Shellfish should be bright in color with no
discoloration or dryness. Pre-packaged seafood should contain only a
minimum of liquid.
How To Store Seafood:
Do not allow frozen seafood
to thaw until you are ready to use it. Refreezing seafood will severely
alter its quality. Wrap seafood in moisture-proof paper or enclose in an
airtight container. Do not store seafood wrapped only in waxed paper or
Frozen Alaska cod, halibut,
Alaska pollock and rockfish may be stored up to 6 months in a home
freezer at 0F or lower. For best quality, frozen Alaska sablefish and
salmon may be stored up to 4 months in a home freezer at 0F or lower.
How To Thaw Seafood:
It's best to thaw seafood
overnight in the refrigerator. Place the wrapped package on a plate or
shallow pan to catch any liquid that drips out. Allow 8-10 hours
(extremely large cuts may take a bit longer). Do not try to speed up the
process of thawing seafood. Never allow seafood to thaw at room
temperature or place it in warm water to thaw. Flavor and texture are
both lost this way.