Seafood Search: 7 Characteristics to Look for When Buying Fresh Fish

7 Characteristics to Look for When Buying Fresh Fish

When it comes to buying food, you definitely want the best. Most especially for foods that easily perish or get old, you aim to get yourself the freshest and those in their foremost condition. Aside from meat and vegetables, fresh seafood is also among the most sought-after eats in the market, and it also is a category filled with nutrients and health benefits.

The most common seafood you probably know, see, eat and encounter, just like everyone does, is fish. There are countless types of fish out there under the world’s waters travelling from one part of the world to another, and many of them get to your plate and tummies and turn into the tastiest meals. With fish and others obtained from bodies of water, on top of everything, you need to think first if you are purchasing fresh seafood.

When it comes to every fresh seafood, you will know that it is through many signs. Here, specifically talking about fish, are 5 signs of freshness that you must look for when buying fish:


For humans, the skin is a big indication of the health and the body’s condition. For fish, the flesh also tells something about theirs. If you touch and the flesh doesn’t come back to its original form and position but stays where you pushed it to, then the fish isn’t very fresh. It should recover to how it looked like before you pressed it, and that proves that the flesh is firm and is indeed fresh.


Again, just like the human’s skin showing how you glow or turn pale, the fish’s skin is involved when the health of the fish is affected. Part of the fish’s flesh, the scales should not look dull and unclear if it is fresh. They must look shiny giving the fish a metallic appearance. You notice how the colors of some fish, especially when not yet cooked, are vibrant and very attractive when you look at them, and that’s because of their healthy scales. Also, they must be attached well because loose scales, showing flaky skin, aren’t good signs.


If the gills and fins feels slimy, it is an unpleasant sign of an aging fish. They also become faded in color if the fish is old and fresh no more. For fresh seafood, bright red and pink are the agreeable colors. That shows you how it was just alive freshly some time before. Its fins and gills are also a bit wet and not very dry if the fish is fresh.

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Discolored areas of the skin that look like bruises on the fish are signs of unhealthiness. The color, however, isn’t always dark. It could also be light but still brings an off look to the fish.


The belly is one of the fish’s assets which is also a reason why restaurants serve fish belly on their main menus. If you see that the belly is in a good condition, it is undamaged, it is shiny and the opening doesn’t stick out, you just hit a fresh seafood. Otherwise, it’s not.


The eyes do speak a lot. They indicate the fish’s freshness for if they are shiny, unclouded and a bit swollen, the fish is in a good condition. Although dull-eyed fish can be eaten, still, it’s not at its best version.


The smell is an immediate sign that gives everyone a huge hint whether a fish is fresh or not at all. When you smell something “fishy” or taste something that seems like that, you feel weird and disgusted because it means something’s off.

An irritating smell coming from the fish indicates that it’s rotting or rotten. If you have fresh seafood, it must not have an intensely fishy smell but a smell like that of the body of water where it was caught from — for example, the sea smell or the ocean smell. The smell is pleasant although it directly came from underneath the ocean. There’s something in it that tells your sense of smell that it is nothing but a fresh piece of fish.


You don’t want to eat and don’t want to feed your loved ones with stale seafood. That is why you need to look carefully at the fish you buy. Be careful of deceitful seafood vendors that say their products are newly caught and are truly fresh but really aren’t. Knowing the characteristics that imply newness and good fish health will help you avoid getting tricked, and you’ll be able to purchase the best of the bests.

Remember, fresh seafood does not only look and taste good but is also generally healthy. Make sure you buy from excellent and honest fresh seafood markets (online or actual), so you can get the prime picks and receive what’s worth your money and efforts!

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Nicole Ann pore

Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Travel, health, shopping, lifestyle and business are among the many subjects she writes about. Through quality and well-researched writing, she informs and even entertains readers about things that matter. She is also interested in film critiquing and filmmaking. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.
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