FQA: Fish Questions Answered, Vol. 5

In today's episode of Fish Questions Answered, Helen Stonhill, our Marketing Deckhand, answers two of your excellent questions about ... you guessed it ... fish!

If you have a question for Helen, and would like her to answer it in this column, simply email your question to support@sea2table.com.

How Long Will Fish Last In My Freezer?

Dear Helen, 
How long will fish last in my freezer?
— Frosty in Phoenix

Dear Frosty,
It depends if you are talking about fish you freeze yourself at home, or fish purchased from Sea to Table. Sea to Table fish are flash frozen immediately after landing. Flash freezing is the process of freezing an item quickly at an extremely low temperature. This preserves the food much differently than if you were to take fish from the grocery store and freeze it yourself. Why? Well, quite simply, your home freezer is not designed to freeze foods, it's designed to keep frozen foods cold.

When you put unfrozen foods in your freezer, it takes hours to freeze them fully. During this lengthy time, ice crystals form between the fibers of your fish and actually "break" the fibers and force the nutritious juices right out of your fish.

So, when you thaw out your fish, you'll actually see all the juices that have been forced out of them, and then you’ll end up throwing that out or washing it down the drain. In contrast, Sea to Table’s seafood offerings are frozen (at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) so quickly that the ice crystals don't form between the fibers of your fish. When you thaw out our flash frozen seafoods, you will keep all of the nutrients and juices inside the fish, instead of down the drain.

The air-tight packaging also makes a huge difference. All Sea to Table’s offerings are packaged in vacuum-sealed, airtight wrapping to protect against freezer burn, dehydration and discoloration. In fact, we guarantee your fish, properly cared for in your home freezer, will stay at peak quality for up to one year.

Is Sea to Table fish “sushi grade”? Is it safe to eat raw?

Dear Helen,
Is Sea to Table fish “sushi grade”? Is it safe to eat raw?
—On a Roll in California

Dear California, The term “Sushi Grade” is tossed around frequently, and there are no regulations and standards regarding the use of that term. However, it’s generally used to describe fish of the finest quality and freshness. So in the most used sense of the phrase, yes, Sea to Table fish is sushi grade. But can you eat your Sea to Table fish raw? The answer again is yes (with some important caveats we’ll get to in a minute). FDA guidelines for fish sold for raw consumption be frozen under one of the following conditions to kill any parasites:

 

  • -4°F (-20°C) or below for 7 days (total time)
  • -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid, and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours
  • -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours

Sea to Table’s seafood offerings are flash-frozen, at temperatures as low as -40°F, on the fishing boat or at the dock, eliminating the (very, very small) risk posed by unfrozen fish. But speaking of risk, the most dangers of eating raw fish are created in the home kitchen itself. To avoid cross-contamination and bacteria, always work with scrupulously clean and sanitized equipment, and keep your fish cold… temperature abuse is your biggest risk.

Now, which Sea to Table fish to choose for this gustatorial adventure? It’s hard to go wrong with either Wild Alaska Sockeye and Coho Salmon. Or try our Atlantic Sea Scallops. They are never treated with chemicals like STTP and are packed “dry”, making them a terrific way to introduce shellfish to your sushi game.

Need ideas for what to do with your raw fish? You could serve it as sashimi, thinly sliced, with a little soy and some wasabi. Or serve it as crudo, with some good olive oil and a finishing salt. Or, if you want a more defined recipe, why not try our gravlax or poke?


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