Seafood

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Fish and Shellfish Storage Chart

PRODUCT REFRIGERATED FROZEN
Fresh Fish
Lean Fish 1- 2 days 6 months
Fatty Fish 1- 2 days 2- 3 months
Caviar (fresh),
non- pasteurized
6 months unopened
2 days after opening
Don't freeze
Caviar, pasteurized
vacuum packaged
1 year unopened
2 days after opening
Don't freeze
Cooked Fish 3- 4 days 4- 6 months

Smoked Fish
14 days or date on vacuum pkg. 2 months in vacuum pkg.
Fresh Shellfish
Shrimp, scallops, crayfish, squid, shucked clams, mussels and oysters 1 to 2 days 3- 6 months
Live in shell 2 to 3 days 2- 3 months
Canned Seafood
Pantry 5 years After opening,
3- 4 days
Out of can
2 months

 

Please Note: Storage times are from date of purchase.
If products bear a use-by  date, observe it.

It is not important if a date expires after food is frozen.

 

Your supermarket maintains rigid quality assurance and sanitation standards to ensure that you always receive fresh, wholesome seafood. Once you purchase the food though, it's up to you to take care of it. This is important, especially for these perishable foods, because a large number of foodborne illnesses are caused by improper handling of foods in the home.

 

Purchasing Seafood

Fresh Fish

  • Fresh fish smells like a fresh sea breeze. If it smells "fishy," don't buy it!
  • Eyes should be bright, clear and shiny.
  • Scales should be shiny and cling tightly to the skin; gills should be bright pink or red.
  • Steaks and fillets should be moist with no drying or browning around the edges.

Frozen Fish

  • Make sure the packages are undamaged.
  • Frozen fish should not be freezer burned, off color, partially thawed or covered with ice crystals.

Fresh Shellfish

  • Shrimp and freshly-shucked scallops and oysters should have a fresh odor.
  • A clear, slightly milky or light grey liquid should surround freshly shucked oysters.
  • Only buy fresh shellfish that are alive Shells of live clams, mussels and oysters will close tightly when tapped.
  • Live crabs and lobsters will show some leg movement. Live lobsters will curl their tails tightly beneath them when handled.

Frozen Shellfish

  • Be sure that shellfish are packed in close-fitting, moisture-proof containers.
  • Buy solidly frozen prepared items, such as crab cakes or breaded shrimp, with no freezer burn or unpleasant odor.

 

Most cases of food poisoning are caused by pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms, parasites or viruses. However, not all microorganisms cause food poisoning. Some bacteria, yeasts and molds are used in food production. Others are food spoilage microorganisms which cause foods to turn bad.

Bacteria are part of our environment. Where there is food there may be bacteria. Proper food handling and cooking are the best ways to prevent foodborne illness. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially for children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who have chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems.

 

Storing Seafood

Fresh Fish

  • Store fresh fish in its original wrapper.
  • Keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator (40ÿ F or slightly below) , which is usually under the freezer or in the "meat keeper" drawer.
  • Cook fresh fish within one to two days.
  • Never refreeze previously frozen products.

Fresh Shellfish

  • Live shellfish should be refrigerated in containers covered with clean, damp cloths-not airtight lids. Discard shellfish that die.
  • Live mussels, oysters and clams may open their shells even in the refrigerator. Give them a tap. They will close if alive; if not, discard.
  • Cook fresh shellfish within one to two days.

Frozen fish and Shellfish

  • Frozen fish and shellfish should be used within three to six months. The longer these foods are frozen, the more likely they are to lose flavor, texture and moisture.

Canned Fish or Shellfish

  • Never buy or use dented, bulging, rusted or leaking containers.
  • Store canned seafood in a cool, dry place.
  • Observe the "use-by" date on pasteurized products such as crabmeat which are stored in the refrigerator.

Preparing Seafoods

  • Defrost seafood in the refrigerator; in cold running water in airtight packaging; or in the microwave. Never thaw at room temperature. Cook microwave-thawed seafood immediately.
  • Rinse seafood in cold running water to help remove any surface bacteria.
  • Marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
  • Avoid cross-contamination! Never allow cooked or prepared foods to come in contact with raw, perishable foods.

Cooking Seafoods

  • Cooked fish should be opaque and flake easily when tested with a fork.
  • Raw shrimp should turn pink and firm when done. Depending on the size, it takes from three to five minutes to boil or steam one pound of medium-sized shrimp in the shell.
  • Clams, mussels and oysters in the shell should open. Remove them as they open and continue cooking until all are done.
  • Scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm. Scallops take three to four minutes to cook through, depending on the size.
  • Boiled lobster turns bright red. Allow five to six minutes per pound, starting the timer when the water comes back to a boil.

Consumer Tips

  • When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and other refrigerated or frozen items last.
  • Always keep cold foods cold (40ÿ F or below) and hot foods hot (140° F and above).
  • Never keep perishable foods at room temperature for longer than two hours -including time to prepare, serve and eat.
  • Store seafood in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before and after handling any raw seafood.