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Ask a
Fishmonger - Ep. 3

Q: How do I check the freshness of seafood while shopping at a seafood market?

There’s nothing worse than a sketchy fish market experience. In the world of food safety, seafood tops the list of being a high-risk food that, if not handled correctly by professionals, can create some serious health issues. So how do you as a consumer know whether your fish is fresh?

Check out our video below on how to check a seafood market for freshness/quality below!

Here's some tips on what to look for when checking for seafood freshness

First, how does the market smell? A fish market will always have a scent of the sea, but if you’re hit by a wave of pungent fishiness, that’s red flag number one. 
Second, check the fish case. Is the glass of the fish case clear and clean? Are the fish neatly displayed? If the fish case or glass is dirty, this is an indication of a lack of cleaning standards. 
Next, inspect the fish for sale. The fish filets should look firm and vibrant. A great test is the “thumbprint” test—if you ask your fishmonger to press his finger into the meat of the fish, does the meat bounce back? Or does it take a long time for the imprint to dissolve? The latter indicates a potential freshness issue.

A whole fish should look shiny, with clear, bright eyes; the gills should be reddish. If you see that the gills have been pulled out of a whole fish, this may be a sign the seller is trying to hide how fresh the fish is. 
Finally, don’t be shy, ask! Ask your fish monger when the fish was caught at sea, and when it was brought in to the market? If you’re examining shellfish, you can ask the fish monger to inspect the shellfish harvest tag.

Teriyaki Salmon with Soba Noodles 


Have a question for our fishmongers? Send it our way!

Ordering Seafood at SoPo

At SoPo, you can order seafood for overnight delivery across the USA or purchase seafood instore at our South Portland Fish Market. Overnight delivery orders can be placed directly on the SoPo website. Delivery is available Tuesday-Friday. 

Maine Bluefin Tuna Cut