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How can I keep fish fresh without freezing them? What temperature should my cooler be, and can I use Rock Salt as a preservative to prevent freezing?
Uhh, you can't keep fish fresh in any way I know of, short of eating it
right after it's caught. Connoisseurs of fine fish complain of frozen
fish as being not particularly fresh. Certainly the ice crystals will
poke through the cell membranes, changing the texture of the fish when
it is thawed again. Cooling fish down slows the bacterial decay
processes -- the cooler the better. Freezing them makes the bacteria
stop, almost, making the fish taste better if it must be stored for a
long time. But "fresh" isn't always the right word to use.
There are other tricks to keeping the bacteria from spoiling your
fish. You can cook the fish and then put it in a can (like canned fish
soup, for instance, or canned tuna or sardines). Freshness: dubious.
Taste: okay. Salting the fish also prevents some bacteria from
functioning properly. But not all bacteria -- some like it salty. And
this won't always get everywhere inside the fish meat, just on the
surface. And the procedure makes your fish salty. Freshness: dubious.
You can also dry the fish (or freeze-dry it, even better). Freshness:
not at all. Some fish is stored dried and salted. This keeps the fish
edible for a long time, but it's not my favorite way to eat fish. I
guess you can wash it and cook it, but soup sounds the most plausible.
(published on 10/22/2007)
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