For the Love of Fish: Fresh versus Frozen

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Why do people love to fish? I recall enjoying the peaceful feeling of being at sea with friends with nothing but water and fish in all directions. Life is beautiful at sea! Ask anyone who enjoys fishing why they fish. Most often, cooking and eating the fresh catch of the day will be right at the top of the list. However, unless you live by the sea, going fishing simply isn’t an option. So, what do you do when you want fish for dinner? You head to the store to purchase frozen fish or fresh fish from the market.

One of the buzz words in nutrition lately is …. drum roll, please … Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which support hearth health. If you’re not getting enough of this nutrient, fish is an excellent source. Invite them to the party! Fish is also low in saturated fat and a good source of protein. In my book, You Rock It! Eat Clean, Live Healthy, I cover superfoods, including fish highest in Omega-3: wild salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Other great fatty choices are bass, bluefish, cod, halibut, oysters, pompano, sablefish, shad, tuna and whitefish. Salmon also tops the list of fish lowest in mercury. There is debate about whether farm raised fish lose some of their nutrients. Farm raised fish are raised in a caged area, under supervision.

In case you’re not sure, fresh fish is raw. It hasn’t been frozen or heated in any matter. It also does not contain preservatives or a list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Generally, it is sold or prepared the same day it is caught.

Flash frozen fish is close to fresh but all things are not equal. Flash frozen fish is frozen right after is caught and frozen on the fishing boat. This keeps the fish from spoiling and allows fishing to continue. This method of freezing does help maintain the nutrients in the fish.

Previously frozen fish may be frozen some time after it has been caught. Fish that has been previously frozen may look fresh but it is not. Most likely it will have preservatives added so that is more presentable when it is time to sell. It may also lose some of the vitamins and minerals contained in fresh fish if it is stored for too long a time.

If you prefer fresh fish consider where you live. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to get fresh tuna steaks without paying a premium for them if you live in Arkansas. Purchase fish that are caught locally and in season.

When searching for fresh fish for a meal, look for fish that have clear eyes. The skin should be shiny and flesh should spring back when pressed. You can also tell fish that is good to eat by how it smells. If it smells like fish, you don’t want it.

No one disputes the benefits of eating fish. There is too much evidence to be found. However, if you don’t live within 100 miles of the coasts, you may not be able to get fresh fish on a regular basis. Flash frozen fish is a good alternative if you know what you are looking for and don’t have your heart set on fresh.