When I was a child, my grandfather would take me fishing on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. On his twelve-foot long aluminum rowboat with the tiniest of outboard motors attached, we’d set out with big dreams of catching bushels of blue crabs, or countless bluefish. With two lines out the back we would spend the day puttering along and reeling in the day’s catch. This was when I first learned about how to best store fish after they are caught or, let’s say, brought home from the grocery store.
Seafood, being from cold environments, (think a cold mountain river or the frigid ocean), do best when we replicate this icy temperature for proper storage – far colder than our home refrigerators. This is why the seafood department places their product on ice (or in containers set on ice). Whereas the butchery department, with beef, pork and chicken products need only normal refrigeration, not ice, because those animals are raised in warmer environments, like a farm.
In fact, there are even other ways still to best store live shellfish, like lobster, crab and mussels. Every type of seafood has its perfect cooking method just as it has an optimal method of storage.
Before you head home to store your seafood, here’s an insider tip that will save you time and make sure your fish make it home in the best possible condition. Ask your fishmonger for a couple of bags of ice. They will be happy to oblige and will send you on your way with some ice in a plastic bag (which you can place around your fish in your shopping bag to keep it nice and cold). Bonus, when you get home to store your seafood, you’ll have your ice all ready to go for the storing process!