Tips for Buying and Storing Fish

When buying fresh fish fillets or steaks, look for firm flesh that has a moist look. Don't purchase fish that looks dried out. Whole fish should have bright clear eyes that are not sunken and a firm body that is springy to the touch. Fresh fish should have a mild smell, not a strong odor.

When buying frozen fish, look for packages that are solidly frozen, tightly sealed and free of freezer burn and odor.

Follow these guidelines for how much fish to purchase per person: about 1 pound whole, 1/2 pound pan-dressed or steaks and 1/4 to 1/3 pound fillets.

Fresh fish is highly perishable and should be prepared within a day or two after it is caught or purchased. Freshly caught fish should be pan-dressed, washed in cold water, blotted dry with paper towels, placed in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic bag and refrigerated.

For long-term storage, wrap fish in freezer paper, heavy-duty foil or heavy-duty plastic bags and freeze no longer than 3 months for fatty or oily fish (such as salmon, whitefish, mackerel) or 6 months for lean fish (such as sole, catfish, cod, orange roughy).