Stay fit with fish — Rich in protein and other nutrients

Seafood is high in protein and other nutrients and is also low in fat. There are many healthy choices when it comes to seafood. Some ideas include Salmon, flounder, sea bass, sole, freshwater trout, pollock, sardines, catfish, oysters, tilapia, whitefish, clams, perch, shrimp and king crab.

Fish — Rich in protein and other nutrients

How to shop for fish

⊙ Whole fish and fillets should have firm and shiny flesh. Dull flesh may mean the fish is old.
⊙ The flesh of the fish should not be dark around the edges or have brownish or yellowish discoloration.
⊙ Fresh whole fish should have bright red gills and should be slime-free.
⊙ The fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy or ammonia-like.
⊙ The flesh of the fish should spring back when pressed.
⊙ Make sure fresh seafood is refrigerated or properly iced when you buy it.

Storing fish

⊙ Put seafood on ice, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer, right after you buy it.
⊙ If you plan to use the seafood within two days of buying it, store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The best places are usually under the freezer compartment or in a special “meat keeper.”
⊙ If you are freezing the seafood, wrap it tightly in moisture-proof freezer paper or foil to avoid air leaks.
⊙ Throw out shellfish if they die during storage or if their shells crack or break. Live shellfish close up when the shell is tapped.

Handling fish

☛Wash your hands well with hot soapy water before and after handling raw food.
☛It’s best to thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator gradually overnight.
☛If you must thaw fish quickly, seal it in a plastic bag and place it in cold water for about an hour. You can also microwave on the “defrost” setting if you plan to cook the fish immediately. Make sure to take the fish out of the microwave while it is still icy but bendable.
☛Marinate seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Throw out any marinade that is not used since it contains raw fish juices.
☛Do not allow cooked seafood to come in contact with raw products. Use separate cutting boards and utensils or wash items completely between uses.

Cooking fish

How do you know the seafood is done?

⇛ For fish, pull aside the flesh with the point of a sharp knife. The edges should be opaque and the center slightly clear with flakes beginning to separate. Let the fish stand three to four minutes to finish cooking.
⇛ For shrimp, lobster, and scallops, check color. Shrimp and lobster turn red and the flesh becomes pearly opaque. Scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm.
⇛ For clams, mussels, and oysters, watch for the shells to open. That means they’re done. Throw out those that stay closed.
⇛ Also, remember that cooked seafood should not be outside a refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours.

NOTE: Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children are advised by the federal government to avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

They are also advised to limit consumption of albacore “white” tuna to 6 ounces per week to reduce exposure to mercury. It is OK to eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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