tips on buying and storing fresh fish

In my cooking classes, I am often asked for advice on handling fish. So, I thought I would share here my 10 tips on buying and storing fresh fish:

1. Pick the right market. Choose a fish market with knowledgeable sales people and high turnover. Makes your job a lot easier if they know what they are doing; and high turnover means fresher fish.

Now, I break my purchasing tips down for whole fish vs. fish fillets and steaks.

fresh whole fishWhen purchasing a fish whole:

2. Look at the eyes. They should be clear and bright/shiny, not cloudy.

3. Check the scales. You want them to be shiny and firm, not dry and flaky.


tips-on-buying-fish-filletsWhen purchasing either fish fillets, steaks or whole fish:

4. Examine the consistency. It should be firm (spring back when touched), with no cracks, and should look damp but not be sticky.

5. Look at the color. You want the flesh to not be discolored or brown, and white fish should be fairly translucent. Tuna should be pink to dark red but not brown.

6. Smell it. You want fish with a mild scent that is fresh – like the ocean, not fishy or sour smelling.

7. If wrapped in plastic, make sure there is little to no liquid in the bottom of the packaging.

Once you get your fish home:

8. Eat it the same day – or up to one day after purchasing.
9. Store it in the refrigerator, on top of a ziplock baggie of ice – or one of those frozen ice blocks you put in a cooler.
10. Keep it refrigerated until just before cooking, especially if grilling.

Now that you have some fresh fish ready to go, here are a few of my favorite recipes to try:

Roasted Salmon Steaks    roasted-salmon-steaks-recipe

Baked Fish on Lettuce


Grilled Tuna with Puttanesca Sauce


Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

2 Responses to “Tips on Buying and Storing Fresh Fish”

  1. Kellie Woloszyk

    Love the salmon recipe. I really enjoyed all the comments of how terrific my salmon was. Thank you greatly for the delicious recipes. Looking forward to many more gatherings. Well with you and your recipes
    I believe all will be successful.


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