Storing Your Seafood

It's always best to cook fresh seafood within two days of purchase. If that's not possible, here are some tips to help you store it.

To store fresh fish, remove from its package, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. When fish sits in its own juices, the flesh deteriorates more rapidly. To prevent this place cleaned finfish, whole, fillets or steaks onto a cake rack so that the fish do not overlap. Set the rack in a shallow pan. If it is necessary to keep the fish more that 24 hours, fill the pan with crushed ice. (Since ice leaches color and flavor from fish, make certain that it does not come into contact with the fish.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil, seal tightly and refrigerate. Drain and re-ice as necessary. Each day, rinse fish under cold water, clean the rack and the pan and change the ice. If the fish has a fishy or ammonia smell after being rinse, it should be discarded. If you will not be using the fish within a day or so, it's best to freeze it immediately. To do so, rinse the fish under cold water and pat very dry with paper towels. First wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap, squeezing all the air out, and then wrap tightly in aluminum foil and freeze. For best quality of fish frozen at home, use within two weeks.

Always thaw fish and seafood in the refrigerator. Thawing at temperatures higher than 40 degrees causes excessive drip loss and adversely affects taste, texture, aroma and appearance.