How to Handle and Prepare Seafood Safely

Seafood is a popular summer entree that is both healthy and delicious. In order to ensure the safety of your family, make sure that you are handling and preparing your seafood properly. This guide will give you some basic tips to learn how to properly handle seafood in order to prevent the spread of germs and disease. Your family will thank you!

Buy From a Reputable Source

One of the most important things to keep in mind when handling and preparing seafood is obtaining healthy seafood to begin with. Make sure to visit fish markets of grocery stores that are reputable. The fish should not have a strong odor. The skin should be shiny but not wet and bounce back when touched. In addition, if you are purchasing whole fish, make sure the eyes look clear. Fish with cloudy eyes are not fresh and should not be purchased no matter how inexpensive.

Use Proper Refrigeration

It is very important that in order to prevent illness or disease that seafood is kept refrigerated or frozen until it is used. If you have purchased the seafood in an area that is a relatively long distance from your home, you should consider bringing along a cooler filled with ice in order to keep the fish chilled. Keep in mind that in cool weather, fish can survive without refrigeration for around two hours, and only around an hour and a half in warmer weather. Once the fish reaches your home, check the thermometer in your refrigerator. Fish should be kept at a temperature of between 30 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are concerned that your thermometer is not working properly, purchase a new one as soon as possible.

Freezing and Thawing Seafood

Often seafood is placed in a freezer–and that is fine, as long as the temperature of the freezer is between -10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to prevent freezer burn from developing on your fish, consider using a vacuum packer.

Seafood should be thawed at a temperature of between 32 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If the item needs to be thawed quickly, place it in a bath of cold water, and allow it to thaw.

Preparing Seafood

When preparing seafood, it is essential that all equipment has been sterilized. Wash your hands before working with the product. This will prevent any germs or disease that may currently be on your hands from transferring to the seafood. After the fish has been cleaned and is in the process of cooking, begin cleaning the kitchen. Make sure to wash all utensils, cutting boards, and work surfaces that have come in contact with the seafood with warm soapy water. Finally, watch the fish closely to ensure it has cooked thoroughly. Fish should cook to an internal temperature of between 140 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Feel free to use an internal thermometer to examine your seafood. Fish, shellfish, and other seafood items that have not been cooked properly can lead to very serious health problems.


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