How to Tell If the Fish Is Fresh & Some Handy Tips

The consumption of protein in the diet also includes fish, fresh or frozen. Fish is a first-rate food thanks to the high nutritional value that distinguishes it and easy digestion.

Fresh fish

There are many methods of preserving and transporting fish whose goal is to keep the food fresh as long as possible.

Sometimes, however, the fish we buy is not fresh, so it is good to understand it immediately in order to avoid possible intoxication.

Currently, determining whether the fish is fresh or not is a bit complicated due to the “modernity”.

We think first of the convenience of having the fish already cleaned, gutted and filleted. It is therefore easier to consume non-fresh fish without knowing it, especially since in most cases it is bought frozen.

Fish in bad shape

When the fish is stale, it has the following characteristics:

  • The smell: rotten fish has a foul odor, sometimes tastes like ammonia.
  • The skin: fish in a poor state of preservation has very soft skin, the scales and the flesh come off easily.
  • The eyes: the eyes are sunken, the cornea milky and the pupils gray, as if the fish has cataract.
  • The gills: are located behind the head and in spoiled fish are yellowish or grayish in color.
  • The belly: it is the first area that is affected by a bad state of conservation; in spoiled fish it is swollen or flaccid and sunken.

Fish in good condition

When the fish is fresh, it has the following characteristics:

  • The smell: fish is fresh when it tastes of seaweed and sea and retains all its nutrients.
  • The skin: fresh fish has a bright color; the scales are hard and shiny.
  • The eyes: the eyes are out; the pupil is black and bright.
  • The gills: the gills of fresh fish are pink or red, depending on the variety, bright and without mucosity.
  • The belly: the meat is hard and not slimy.

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Tips for avoiding unpleasant surprises with fish

In order not to waste food, we advise you to cook the fish a few days after buying it. Alternatively, you can freeze it in order to ensure its integrity. In this way you preserve its properties and avoid the risk of food poisoning.

Consuming fish stored in the freezer after a week can carry some risks. The risks mainly depend on any problems with the electricity service. Properly frozen products do not last more than two days once defrosted.

On the other hand, we advise you not to refreeze food. If you happen to have defrosted fish due to a power failure, it is better to throw the product away.

Refrigeration and freezing only prevent the proliferation of bacteria, but it does not kill them.

This promotes the decomposition process. In short, if there have been any alterations in the conservation techniques, the fish must be discarded.

The degree of humidity

Before cooking the fish, you must look at the container that contains it, if it has a lot of frozen liquid or if it is dry. If there is liquid in the bag or container, there may be a power failure and therefore the fish has thawed.

If the freezing process has not changed and the container is dry, you must still make sure that the fish is fresh.

You have to defrost it, observe it and smell it. If it looks and smells normal, you can consume it, otherwise you can’t.

If you don’t eat it the same day, put it in salted water for a few moments. Dry it well and then put it in the refrigerator. Finally, you can check if the fish is fresh or spoiled when you eat it.

Evaluate the taste: if it’s not bitter or sour or anything, it means it’s fresh. The palate is able to identify fish that has gone bad. If everything is in order and the fish is fresh, you can eat it without problems.

Also Read: 5 Best Foods That Can Help In Making Your Bones Strong

How to properly store fish?

The fresh fish should be stored at a refrigeration temperature between 0- and +1- degree Celsius. If you store it in the refrigerator at home, which is normally set at a higher temperature, it is recommended to place it on a bed of ice.

Relying on your trusted fishmonger is always the best choice. However, if you decide to buy fish at the supermarket, the advice is to always go to the fish counter where it is kept exposed on ice.

Forget the fish that you find already packaged because they are kept at a higher temperature which accelerates bacterial proliferation and their deterioration.


If the fish isn’t fresh, it could cause severe food poisoning, so it’s never wrong to take the best precautions to make sure it’s not spoiled.