6 simple tips to remember when purchasing fish

9th Jan 2017

When walking into your local fishmongers or supermarket, you may find yourself overwhelmed with selection of fish available to choose from. To ensure that you buy the best quality fish we have put together 6 simple checks for you.

1) SKIN –  A shiny skin with slime on the surface is a good sign that the fish is fresh and good quality.

2) FINS – The fins should be clearly defined and perky, not scraggy or broken.

3) GILLS – A moist, shiny and pink or red gill is a great sign that the fish is fresh and good quality. Stay away from fish that has brown or faded gills.

4) SMELL – Remember fresh fish should smell of the sea not fish. Also make sure that the fish smells appetising and not of a smelly odour that you hope will  disappear when you cook it.

5) FEEL – A good quality fish will always feel firm. Some fish will feel softer than others however if the fish feels flabby or goes slack then this is a sign that the fish has gone stale.

6) EYES – Fresh fish should have bright clear eyes. Stay away from fish that have cloudy, sunken or red blotched eyes.

Top tip from Rick Stein…

“Rather than slavishly going for the fish in the recipe, choose the best looking fish on the counter and use that. Go for the brightest eye, the most sparkling skin. Like wine tasting, it’s easier to make a judgement of quality by contrasting one fish with another.”

If you would like more tips, learn how to skin a whole flat fish with our blog here.

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2 Responses

  1. Marianne Scally says:

    When there is whole fish available, I always go for that but what of the offerings of many stores (ie supermarkets with a fish counter) with already filleted fish? How can you tell it’s fresh, (when it’s sitting on all that ice and piled up) ?

  2. Maggie Webb says:

    I personally don’t like buying from a supermarket counter having as a child regularly visited the old fashioned fish mongers with my Grandma.

    However when I was once tempted, I asked the assistant behind the fish counter how old the fish was, he brought out a book which allowed him to trace back the history/trace-ability of the catch! So I would recommend you ask the same question when making a purchase.

    Hope this helps!

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