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Section 19.4 Fish and Shellfish Selection and Storage
Types and Market Forms of Fish and Shellfish Fish have fins and a bony skeleton with a backbone. Shellfish have no fins or bones but have a shell instead. Today, both freshwater and saltwater fish and some shellfish are being raised on fish farms. Saltwater varieties: Come from oceans and seas. Freshwater varieties: Come from inland waters such as: ▫Lakes ▫Rivers ▫Ponds
Fish with light color, mild flavor and tender texture: Catfish Cod Flounder Haddock Halibut Perch Pike Pollock Pompano Red Snapper Sole Trout Turbot Whitefish
Fish with dark color, more pronounced flavor, and firm texture: Bluefish Mackerel Salmon Swordfish Tuna
Market Forms of Fish Drawn: Whole fish with scales, gills, and internal organs removed. Dressed or Pan-dressed: Drawn fish with head, tail, and fins removed. Fillets: Sides of fish cut lengthwise away from bones and backbone. Usually boneless. Large fillets may be cut into smaller ones. Steaks: Cross sections cut from large, dressed fish. May contain bones from ribs and backbones.
Shellfish Generally have a mild, sweet flavor. Almost all come from oceans and seas, but a few come from fresh water. Two types: ▫Crustaceans ▫Crabs
Crustaceans Crustaceans: Shellfish that have segmented bodies and limbs covered with a shell. ▫Crabs: Have a round shell with eight legs and two claws. Whole crabs are sold live, cooked, or frozen. Crab legs and claws are sold cooked and frozen. Cooked crabmeat is available refrigerated, frozen and canned. ▫Crayfish: Are freshwater crustaceans. They are also called “crawfish” or “crawdads”. They are sold whole, live, or cooked.
▫Lobsters: Have a long, jointed body with four pair of legs and two large claws, all covered with a hard shell. The average weight is from 1 ¼ lb to 2 ¼ lb. Maine lobster is the most popular. Fresh lobster is sold live. ▫Shrimp: Varies in size and color. They are usually sold frozen or previously frozen and thawed. You can buy raw shrimp, with or without the shell, as well as shelled, cooked shrimp.
Mollusks: Mollusks: Shellfish with soft, un-segmented bodies that are enclosed in a rigid outer shell. Clams and oysters are examples. ▫Clams: Have two shells hinged at the back with edible flesh inside. Many varieties are available, from small to large. They are sold live (still in the shell) or shucked (removed from the shell). ▫Mussels: Have a thin, oblong shell. Depending on type, the length varies from 1 ½ inches to 6 inches. Shell colors also vary. The flesh is creamy tan and not as tender as oysters or clams. Mussels are sold live in the shell.
▫Oysters: Have a rough, hard, gray shell. They come in different sizes. The flesh varies in color, flavor, and texture. Oysters are sold live or shucked. ▫Scallops: Grow in beautiful fan-shaped shells. Only the muscle that hinges the two shells is sold. Bay scallops are very tiny, about ½ inch in diameter, sweet and tender. Sea scallops are larger and not as tender as bay scallops. ▫Squid: Also known as Calamari. It is sold fresh.
Processed Fish Fish may be: ▫Dried ▫Pickled ▫Smoked ▫Cured Canned fish is ready to eat as is, heat, or use in recipes. Many other convenience forms of fish are available such as frozen or breaded fish sticks.
Inspection and Grading A voluntary inspection and grading program is carried on jointly by the FDA and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Buying and Storing Fish and Shellfish Fresh fish should have shiny skin and glistening color. It should have a mild, fresh aroma, similar to cucumbers or seaweed. Whole fish should have clear, full eyes and bright red or pink gills. Fresh fish and shellfish that have gone bad will smell “fishy” or have an unpleasant ammonia odor. Store fish in the refrigerator or freezer immediately.