Preparing The Catch
If you are out on the water or fishing off the bank, you want to be sure you have an ice chest full of ice readily available. If you do not have an ice chest, then a live well will work. It is of the utmost importance to keep your fish cold or alive once you have reeled it in.
- Reeling in your fish
Place your catch directly on ice or in the live well once it is ashore. Keeping the fish ice cold or alive in a well will keep it fresh until it is ready to be processed. Be sure not to allow the fish to flop around on the boat or dock. These flops and thumps can cause bruising on the flesh, which causes the meat to get tougher and bloodier.
- Prepping for the freezer
If you want to freeze your fish whole, start by removing the guts and gills and giving the fish a good rinse. Then use your preferred freezing method and put it in the freezer.
First, determine if you want to keep the skin or scales on the fillet for fish fillets. If you're going to scale your fish, then do so using the blunt end of a knife scraping the scales off from the tail to the head. Next, give the fish a final rinse, then fillet your fish accordingly. Finally, use your preferred freezing method to safely store the fillets.
- Freezing Methods
The most important thing to keep in mind is that air is not your friend. Air dries out the flesh and changes the color, texture, and taste of the fish.
The most notable freezing method is vacuum sealing the fish or fillets. A vacuum sealer is the best freezing method because it removes all the air from around the fish. Fish can stay fresh for 6 - 12 months using this method.
Using freezer paper to store fish fillets is another option. Wrap your filets in freezer paper and put them in a freezer-rated Ziplock bag for the best results.
The last method is ice glazing the fish. Dip the fish in ice-cold water and place it in the freezer to freeze. Once that layer is frozen, repeat the process until the fish has a ⅛ to ¼-inch thick ice glaze around the fish. You put the iced glazed fish in a Ziplock bag or keep it in a pan in the freezer.
Locating Quality, Fresh Fish
Not everyone has the desire to hunt and gather for their meals, and that's okay! Domestic Seafood sells an array of fresh, high-quality meat and seafood products sourced directly from fishers and farmers alike.