Why Frozen is Fresher than Fresh

Sep. 20, 2017

“Fresh fish is better than frozen.” We hear this all the time, but it’s far from a sure thing.

At Sea to Table, we believe that the best fish is one you catch yourself. But for those of us who don’t live near a fishing pier, making the best choice can be tricky. Here’s why.

 

Frozen is often fresher than fresh.

Believe it or not, seafood advertised as “fresh” is often anything but that. Fresh fish can travel for up to two weeks and sit in a refrigerated case for days before purchase, compromising the safety and quality of the fillets. Additionally, much of this fish is previously frozen and then refreshed for display at the store.

For the longest time, “frozen fish” painted a bad image. If fishmongers didn’t sell their catch during the week, they froze it Friday — potentially a week or more after it was first caught. But in recent years, quickly evolving technologies help to deliver flash frozen seafood of pristine quality that chefs, including our restaurant partners, have come to adore. Many vessels even catch fish with the intention to freeze it either while still out at sea or immediately upon landing at the dock. Flash freezing right away preserves the flavor and nutritious value of the fish at peak freshness.

Frozen is better for the planet.

Most fresh seafood is caught far from where it’s consumed. In fact, 90% of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported from overseas. If this foreign fish is not frozen, it must travel by air to final destination. These long, cross-ocean trips add a significant amount of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

U.S. frozen seafood travels by freezer truck to its destination, making it fuel-efficient and emitting far fewer greenhouse gases. If flash frozen means a smaller carbon footprint, we won’t complain.

Frozen is better for your pocket.

By nature, fresh fish is extremely perishable and often ends up in the trash after hiding in the back of your fridge for a week. In fact, many retailers throw away about thirty percent of the fresh fish they offer, and consumers end up paying for that yield shrink.

Flash frozen fish, with that fresh-out-of-the-ocean taste locked in, can last for months in the freezer. For best results, just remember to move it into your fridge the day before cooking for a slow and proper defrost.

No one appreciates a fresh catch dinner more than we do, but it’s good to be aware that “fresh” might not mean what it should. Always ask where your fish comes from, and remember that frozen can be fresher than fresh. Besides, who doesn’t like to enjoy wild Alaska salmon all year long?

 

Photo from Getty Images.