Buying Fish – Fresh or Frozen?

By on November 14, 2017

When buying fish, is it best to buy fresh or frozen?

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

This is a great question as consumers assume that fresh means better.  As we will soon discover, however, you should know the facts before buying fish.

Jules Silver, owner of Club Sauce, recommends asking these questions when purchasing fish: When were the fish received at the market? When and where were the fish caught?

What Buyers need to Know

In the eye of the consumer, “fresh” is often considered to be the superior choice over “frozen.”  The fact is, however, that fresh fish sold in markets can be as old as nine days.  Frozen fish, however, is the better choice because it is “flash frozen” within hours of harvest.   While fresh fish is kept in a chilled state, experts agree that flash frozen fish is superior in quality.

“Japanese chefs … never serve fresh salmon raw … it ‘has to be frozen for sushi,’ stresses sushi master Shiro Kashiba, of Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant in Seattle.” (Gourmet Magazine, August, 2008)

Whether you are buying fish that is fresh or frozen, Jules suggests the following considerations:  

  • Purchase fish from a dealer or market that is known for high quality seafood.
  • Let your nose be your guide. If it smells fishy, smell another. The fish should have a fresh, yet mild briny smell to it.
  • Appearance is moist and the flesh should have elasticity when poked. It should spring back immediately. The flesh will easily slip away from the bone on an aged fish.
  • Whole fish is the easiest way to detect freshness. Eyes are clear, not cloudy, pink or sunken. The gills should be bright red or pink.
  • There should be no slimy feel to the skin.
  • Fish should be cold, preferably packed on ice and never in water.
  • Pre-packaged fish is tightly wrapped with no liquid.
  • Frozen fish is solid with no freezer burns, discoloration, or ice crystals.
  • An average serving is 3 to 4 ounces cooked. A raw filet should be about 1⁄4 pound per person, and a whole fish about 3⁄4 pounds per person. Although this is a rough guide, I personally like to prepare a little extra for those larger appetites.

Fresh Fish

Fresh fish is very flavorful and doesn’t need much in the way of sauces and marinades to enhance its flavor. Many of the gourmet sauces and accompaniments we offer at the Club Sauce Store are perfect additions to a variety of your favorite recipes and cooking styles. You’ll also find that our gormet seasonings, rubs, sauces, and condiments, when used sparingly, will enhance the final presentation and delight the palate with added flavor.

For more information, please visit and learn about our fabulous recipes and professional line of More Than Gourmet demi glace and stocks. We carry four different demi glace and over twelve different stocks, including fish, seafood/lobster, chicken, beef, veal, lamb, turkey, duck and more. They’re simple, easy to use products that will add a natural richness and depth of flavor to all your favorite sauces, soups, stews, rice and pasta dishes, stir-fry, braising liquids and more.

You can find many more expert tips and recipes at recipes.   If you have any questions or comments, please contact Club Sauce at 888-560-3562. We would love to hear from fellow sauce enthusiasts.

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About The Saucemaster

I've followed the food show circuit for years, charted the winners, and personally tested the cooking sauces. Though there are literally thousands of items represented at the food shows, I've only selected the top gourmet sauces in their category for your cooking and dining pleasure.

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