A lot of people have problems with fish—how to handle fish and how to buy fish—yet it can be very simple. Here’s our guide to shopping and cooking some of the more common species you’ll find at the fish counter or directly from…
What Are Fish?
Fish are aquatic cold-blooded vertebrates found both at sea and in freshwater. Many edible fish are great sources of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, iodine, and calcium, but fish also pose a risk of harboring toxins and parasites and spoil much more quickly than other meats, which is why it’s especially important to buy fish that’s fresh, in season, and sustainably harvested.
How to Shop for Fish
Eating fish doesn’t have to be bad for the environment, but it’s important to research varieties of fish and learn when they are in season. Plan your dinners and lunches around their availability to make sure you’re not contributing to overfishing practices.
When buying a fish, make sure the gills are bright red and the eyes are not sunken. These indications mean the fish is fresh. Buy fish that smells fresh, and not too fishy, which can indicate bacteria. Look for whole fish that is shiny (not dull) and taut (not wrinkly). Eyes should be bright black (not opaque gray) and convex (rounded outward—not flat). Flesh color varies among species but fillets should not be brown around the edges.