Tips on how to buy fresh fish

By Maria Murore

It is important to buy fish that is clean and fresh because fish deteriorates quickly and can cause severe food poisoning once it goes bad. These tips will help you know what to look for, so that you will always buy the freshest fish.

Shiny, moist, firm flesh
The flesh of fresh fish should be shiny and firm to touch. It should bounce back into place when pressed, leaving no indentation. The flesh should also be evenly coloured with no darkened areas. If it has a milky liquid on its surface, this is a sign that the fish has started to rot.
Clear eyes
The eyes should be clear and bulge a little. Cloudy, sunken eyes mean that the fish is not fresh.
Firm scales
Take a good look at the scales, they should be bright, shiny and close fitting without any gaps. Loose scales or those that easily fall off, are a sign that the fish is not fresh.
Sniff the fish
Any fish that has a “fishy” smell should be shunned. Fresh fish should have a fresh smell and should not stink.
Filleted fish and fish steaks
If fish has already been filleted or cut into steaks, it should be moist and evenly coloured. Brown or yellow edges on the fish, indicate that it is not fresh. The flesh should be firm, if it has any gaps or separates form itself do not buy it.
Buy from the source
If possible, buy fish directly from fishing sites as this is usually sold straight after it has been caught. It also pays to make friends with your fishmonger if you buy fish regularly, so he can let you know as soon as he has fresh fish.

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