Tips and Tricks for Shopping Smart and Buying the Freshest Fish 17.03.2015


You’re smart, so you know that fish is a healthy alternative to meat. You know that there is a variety to choose from; there’s salmon, blue fish, perch, and tuna to name a few. But how do you go grocery shopping for fish that is fresh and won’t bust your family shopping budget? Smart food shopping is never easy and shopping for fish can be intimidating. But don’t worry! Read our tips on buying fresh seafood and you will become a fish shopping guru.

5 Shopping Tips for Buying Whole Fish

If you are family shopping on a budget, whole fish may be right for you. It’s much cheaper than precut fillets and can save you a bundle if you have a large family meal to prepare. But how can you make sure that you’re buying fresh whole fish? Well, here are 5 tips that are sure to get you the freshest fish at the grocery store.

  • Look at the fish’s eyes. If the eyes are bright, clear, and convex the fish is fresh. If the eyes are cloudy or sunken, the fish has been sitting around for a while.
  • Smell the fish. If you just smell sea and brine, the fish is fine. Detect an overpowering fishy odor? Then the fish is old and you shouldn’t buy it.
  • Check the fish’s gills. If they’re bright red gills then the fish is fresh.
  • Look at the skin. Is it firm, clean and glistening? That’s a good sign. The skin should look as if the fish were still alive, not dried out and soft. Don’t worry about the skin color, with most fish the skin color will fade almost immediately after death.
  • Watch that belly.  If the fish’s belly is either swollen or sunken, don’t buy it. This indicates that the digestive enzymes have broken down and digested some of the fish’s own flesh.

5 Shopping Tips for Buying Fillets


Fish fillets are more expensive than buying a whole fish, but they cut down on your prep time and that’s always a plus. It would be great if we could all order freshly cut fillets from a whole fish. Some grocery stores will do this for you, especially if you call ahead. But what if you’re stuck with precut fillets? Follow these 5 grocery shopping tips for buying fresh fillets

  • Smell the fish. Just like with the whole fish, a fillet will smell bad if it’s old.
  • Check the skin. Look at the skin on the underside of the fillet. Make sure the skin is tight and shiny. That’s a great indicator of freshness.
  • Clean cut. Make sure the fillets are cut cleanly and that the skin is not ragged.
  • Is fillet shiny? The flesh should be firm and shiny, never dry. If the edges of the fillet have begun to brown, skip it. The fish has been out way too long.
  • Is the fillet glossy? The fillet’s flesh should be glossy and, depending on the type, transparent. If the fish looks milky or opaque, the flesh has been exposed to the air too long.

If the fish doesn’t look right to you compared to the other fish on display, then pass on it. Trust your eyes. You’ll know what looks good when you see it.

Follow our simple fish buying tips and you’ll be the savviest shopper at the fish counter.  Your wallet and family will thank you!



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