Recognizing Fresh Fish

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Nowadays, consumers often have no idea where a given piece of fish in the market has come from, when and how it was harvested, how long it has been in transit, or how it has been handled. So it’s important to be able to recognize good-quality fish when we see it. But looks and smell can be deceiving. Even perfectly fresh fish may not be of the best quality if it has been caught in a depleted state after spawning. So the ideal solution is to find a knowledgeable and reliable fish merchant who knows the seasonality of fish quality, and buys accordingly. Such a merchant is also more likely to be selective about his suppliers, and less likely to sell seafood that’s past its prime.