How to Choose Frozen Fish

Freezing is the best way to preserve fish for longer storage, transportation and especially trading. We all know that the frozen fish are all dead fish. HOWEVER, there’s a term which is “Fresh frozen fish”. So, what does that “fresh” word mean?

Actually, there’s a huge difference between the freeze of dead fish and alive fish. Frozen alive fish can give you longer period of time of storage while the dead fish is unable. Not saying that they can bring many health problems to us.

Now, how to realize which one is fresh and which isn’t? In this article, I will share you the best tips ever to distinguish this issue easily along with some storage tips to keep them last even longer. Don’t miss out!

How to know whether frozen fish is fresh or not

Actually, with a professional chef, they will easily clarify which frozen fish is fresh or not right away. However, with amateur like us, it’s going to take more time to know. However, that doesn’t mean this task is impossible.

In fact, there are 5 main features to look at:

Fish’s eyes

Fresh frozen fish will be goggle and transparent with elastic cornea. On the contrary, the eyes of dead fish are hollowed out into the eye socket, opaque with wrinkled cornea. Sometimes, the cornea of fish’s eyes might be even torn.


Fresh fish has a reddish-pink color gill, not viscous and get no smell. Meanwhile, the gill of dead fish is gray as well as has viscosity and smell.


For fresh frozen fish, its flesh is firm with moderate elasticity when pressing. If using the hand press strongly into the fish body, when hands off, the dent will disappear immediately. In contrast, with the fish that is frozen after being already died, its body is fluffy. When using fingers to press the body, after hands off, the indent still remains.

In particular, with the fresh frozen fish, if taking a look at its cross section, you will see the blue color, (might it have other colors) but in general, the flesh is close to bone.

Besides, bones are strong with special smell. With dead fish, its cross-sectional part has no sign of elasticity with loose flesh and not sticky to the bones.


If the frozen fish is fresh, its fins are iridescent and firmly stick to the body, no mucus, no odor. On the contrary, if the fish isn’t fresh anymore, the fins are blurred and not iridescent. Besides, they are easy to unattached from the fish body and get bad smell.

Fish belly

When you press your fingers on its belly, the flesh is solid and elastic without any bruises.

How to choose frozen fish contains no chemical

With those fishes that are marinated by urethral, they will have fresh outer look with clear eyes and more reddish fin than usual. However, the elasticity of its body is not high. Thus, when pressing on the fish body, you will find it’s quite fluffy and appear dents. Along with that, there is a strange intense smell, not the regularly fish odor.

When rinsing it with water, the fish body will soften. Particularly, when frying or cooking, the fish will split apart and have no characteristic fragrance of sea fish.

In addition, you can use urea test paper or urea sensor tools when choosing fish. If the solution contains urea, the color column will turn pink or red.

Remember that the more urea in the solution, the darker the red color will be.

In order to avoid buying fish that is marinated by chemicals, buyers should carefully check and select the reputable stores with clear product origin. In case of not buying fresh fish, you should choose to buy foods that are well-preserved in freezing system, refrigerator or in small freezer. While cooking fish, if there is intense smell with unpleasant taste, absolutely should not eat.

Other important considerations when choosing frozen fish

According to experts from the Institute of Food Technology, you should take note carefully the following:

– If you want to know whether frozen sea fish has quality assurance or not, then let them be thawing and what its outer look carefully.

– When buying frozen fish, you must carefully check the packaging to make sure it is not torn or opened.

– Check the expiry date, it’s ideal to purchase such frozen fish that are available before 1 month.

– If the packaging is clear enough to be seen inside, have a look at the snow or ice inside, as well as the state of the product. Do not choose fish with heavy snow or ice layer. This indicates that the fish is left too long or has been refrozen.

– Avoid picking those fish that has oils. Not all frozen fish are good! High-fat fish such as tuna or swordfish are not suitable for freezing.

How to preserve frozen fish

The cooling process does not destroy the nutrients of the fish but can be influent on its texture.

If you plan to freeze some fish, it is best to do it in the freshest condition – do not leave the flesh in your refrigerator for two days before freezing, as it may affect the texture of the fish when they are frozen.

Fish do not need to be pre-processed when refrigerated

To store the frozen foods from frozen machines in the best way, carefully pack them. Using a bag of frozen food to avoid the air from contacting with fish and keep them last longer.

How to store frozen fish when the power is out

Always close the refrigerator!

When the refrigerator is closed, frozen fish can keep it condition for at least one day, maybe even 2-3 days, depending on the insulation.

Fish that are stored in well-ventilated, family-sized refrigerators with a capacity of 110 liters will not be damaged for 3 days. For larger capacities such as 3-9 times, this can last up to 5 days, maybe even 7-8 days if the fish is extremely cold.

Only open the fridge when you need food, transfer fish to the freezer or take ice. When the door is closed, fish stored in the fridge without being opened frequently can keep its temperature of 4-5oC for 3 days, even in the summer.

Its defrost rate depends on:

The amount of food in the fridge: The refrigerator filled with food can keep its temperature longer than the refrigerator is only stored about half of its cabinet.

Temperature of the fish: The colder the fish, the slower the defrost speed is. Do not allow food that’s still hot or warm into the fridge as it will increase the temperature inside the cabinet.

Insulation: The better the insulation, the better the temperature can be kept.

The bigger the volume, the longer the frozen fish can last.

Of course, I hope you’ll never be in such situation like out of power but wishfully, if you were unluckily in these cases, the provided information can help you deal better with them. Besides, don’t forget to take note all of my instructions, tips and tricks to choose fresh frozen fish to get the most delicious and healthy meal for yourself and your family.

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