Seafood is fish, shellfish like mollusks and crustaceans, and seaweeds, which are edible. They are highly perishable products. If not eaten right away or not transported properly, they will get spoiled. There are times when fresh seafood will not be available to you. If you live quite far from fishing areas, you won't normally get fresh seafood. It will also be impossible for you to buy fresh seafood that is not local to your area. This is when frozen seafood comes in. Commercial seafood is usually from the Arctic or the Pacific. Since it takes time for it to be transported to the mainland, seafood is normally processed frozen on the very same day that it is caught, to maintain its quality and freshness. But there are times when it gets thawed while it is being transported or it gets stored in warm temperature areas. Here are some tips on buying quality frozen seafood.
- Check its package. Look for any openings, tears, or crushes on the edges. Do not buy seafood packages which are in this condition. Chances are, the seafood in it has already been contaminated.
- Check for ice crystals. If it is stored in a transparent package, you will be able to see if it contains ice crystals. Ice crystals are signs that the seafood has already been stored for a very long time, or it was already thawed then was just refrozen.
- Check its smell. Properly frozen seafood should still smell mild. It shouldn't smell sour or smell like ammonia. If the seafood has a foul smell, regardless if it's fresh or frozen, chances are it's already spoiled or it has been contaminated.
- Check the shells. For shellfish, always check the condition of its shell. Throw away shellfish that has cracked or broken shells.
- Check the date on the package. Properly frozen and packaged seafood like shellfish, and fatty fish like Alaskan salmon and smoked fish, are best consumed within 3 to 4 months after they have been caught. Properly frozen and packaged lean fish like rock fish, sole, and flounder are best consumed within 6 to 9 months after they have been caught.
Here are some companies that offer packed seafood.
- Arctic Fisheries. Based in Buffalo, New York, this company offers seafood caught from Iceland and the Arctic. They market the brands Manaberg, Three Seas, Iceland Harvest, OP, Yagry FAS, and X-Sea-Lnt. You can visit their website at arcticfisheries.com where they have recipes for their famous catches. You can also contact them at (716) 632-3633.
- Bannerman Seafoods. Based in Ross-shire, Scotland, this company exports seafood to establishments like restaurants and pizza parlors in France, Spain, Greece, United States of America, and some trade and private customers. Their seafoods are caught from the Highlands of Scotland. You can visit their website at bannerman-seafoods.co.uk or contact them at 01862-892322.
- Darik. Based in Woodside, New York, this company takes pride in being an industry leader in importing and distributing wholesale frozen fish and shellfish products. They market the brands Farallon, Pearl Islands Shrimp, Coral, Harvest, Arriba! Shrimp, Sea-Deli, Diamond's, Panama Bay, Tiger Craze, Arriba! Lobster, Oh! Susana, Prize catch, Island Prime, Coronado, and George Stavrinos. You can visit their website at darikenterprises.com or contact them at (718) 424-1100.
- High Liner Foods. Based in Danvers, Massachusetts, this company takes pride in being one of the largest processors and marketers of superior quality seafood products. They market the brands Fisher Boy and Sea Cuisine. You can visit their website at highlinerfoodsusa.com or contact them at 1-888-860-3664.
As much as possible, try to buy fresh seafood, which is better than frozen. But if you can't find fresh seafood, always remember to buy high quality frozen seafood.