Start with the store itself. Pay attention to the cleanliness, appearance and smell (strong fishy odor is a sign of spoilage). Now, time to focus on the seafood… read the guidelines below to safely enjoy their fine taste and great nutrition.

— Fresh Fish Guidelines:

  • Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy or ammonia-like.
  • The eyes of a fresh fish should be clear, bright and a little protruding. Cloudy, pink and sunken eyes indicate the fish has lost its freshness.
  • The gills of the fish should be bright red or pink and free from slime.
  • Fresh fish should have firm and elastic flesh. Test it by pressing with the finger the flesh delicately. It should spring back.
  • Fish with shiny skin and scales that adhere tightly is another indicator of freshness.
  • Fish fillets should have firm and elastic flesh, a fresh-cut, moist appearance, displaying no darkening or drying around the edges. It should be little evidence of bruising or reddening of the flesh from retention of blood. In addition, prepackaged fish fillets should contain a minimum of liquid because when seafood is stored in liquid deteriorates quickly.

— Fresh Shellfish Guidelines:

  • Fresh mussels, oysters, clams are sold live because when they die, their internal organs start to deteriorate. Make sure shells are unbroken shells and closed. If the shells gape slightly, tap them: the shells should close up. If they do not close up, throw them away.
  • The shells of fresh, live shellfish should be shiny and moist. It should smell sweet and mild, like a fresh sea breeze.
  • Fresh lobster and crabs are also sold alive, because they spoil quickly when they die. Look for any leg movement to make sure they are still alive (they will not be very active if they have been refrigerated, but they should move at least a little bit).
  • Raw shrimp meat should be firm and should smell mild. The shells should not have blackened edges, black spots or other dark areas, because this indicates loss of freshness.
  • When buying fresh squid, select those with clear and full eyes, the skin should be cream-colored with reddish brown spots (when they start losing freshness the skin turns pinkish) and the meat should be very firm.
  • Fresh shucked oysters should have a fresh smell. A clear slightly milky or light grey liquid should surround freshly shucked oysters.
  • And last but not least, when shopping, make it a habit to buy your fish or seafood last and then take them home straight away to storage them appropriately

Have a chef on your gift list who loves seafood? We have some creative gift ideas for you. Great for out-of-town guests as well.

VACUUM-SEALED SMOKED SALMON: A great gift for friends and family who can’t make it out to the coast. Available in travel ready pouches and wooden boxes.

CANNED PATES: For the gourmets on your gift list. A west coast twist on a French classic. Available in Salmon, Lobster or Shrimp.

PAUL PRUDHOMMES SEASONING BLENDS: A great multi-purpose spice that work with anything from salmon to popcorn!

SQUID INK / NERO DI SEPPIA: A unique product commonly used in pastas.

SEAFOOD CITY GIFT CARDS: Available in any denomination. The gift of fresh fish is always appreciated.