As a Midwesterner, frozen fish is a viable option to get omega-3’s into our diet even though it has a reputation of having subpar quality to the picture perfect fillets on ice within modern grocery stores. Turns out, frozen fish actually has a higher quality of nutrition, taste, and texture than “fresh” fish.
Let’s talk about how fresh “fresh” really is. Naively, I assumed that soft-bellied sea bass on ice were flown in overnight with an army of workers scurrying to get them presentable for the customer before they began to turn. Well, I was partially correct in that they are shipped. The rest of the myth, however, is just that. Most of the “fresh” fish, the ones that aren’t meant to be packaged as frozen, have indeed been frozen. Say what? I know! Those fresh little buggers haven’t been swimming merrily up until the moment they are put on ice – they have actually been frozen, at some point, then defrosted to look pretty. The problem with this is that, once you expose the fish to air, contamination begins. Little bacterium slowly begin to decompose the fish as we unknowingly gaze upon their silvery scales.
On the other hand, frozen fish, that is, fish that is MEANT to be sold out of a deep freezer, is flash frozen right after it is caught, usually on the boat. They use liquid nitrogen, at a degree of -196C, within 2 hours of being caught. That’s far below even the coldest setting on my freezer! I mean, it would freeze your hand right off! This process maintains the integrity of the taste, texture, and nutritional value of your catch while eliminating any margin for contamination.
Another reason frozen fish is better for you is because of the price tag. We’ve already established that “fresh” fish really is “defrosted” fish yet it costs so much more! For example, here in the Midwest, fresh red snapper is sold wholesale around $23/lb. Conversely, a frozen red snapper sells at around $12/lb. Incredible, isn’t it? It’s almost like you can’t afford to NOT try out some new Caribbean recipes with fish as the main ingredient!
The third reason frozen fish is better for you is because, duh, it stays fresh longer. If you buy frozen, vacuum sealed fish, you can keep it in you ordinary freezer for up to 6 months. You need to slowly defrost it by putting it in a warm bowl of water within the package. Depending on the thickness of the steak or fillet, it should only take an hour or two. This time frame allows you to peruse over a myriad of Pinterest worthy recipes without worrying about you’ll serve up something that will make your family sick.
Well, my mind is officially blown! I’ve been wanting to try octopus or salmon heads that are wrapped tightly in the deep freezer of our grocery store. I’ve been so nervous thinking, “This can’t be good if it has come all the way from Venezuela, can it?” I’m so happy to learn that I was wrong and I hope you are too! So put away your rod and reel and just go to the frozen seafood section for some delicious and nutritious protein!