Fresh Seafood vs. Frozen Seafood
We hear a lot about the positive benefits eating Wild Seafood has on the body. Researchers are continually pouring out new evidence confirming the healthy rewards of a seafood rich diet; better skin, increased memory, and even smarter children. However, even with all this valuable information about the health benefits of seafood, consumers are still largely unaware of varying degrees in the quality of the seafood they purchase.
Still today, unless shipped straight from the processor, it is difficult to find high quality fresh fish and seafood in many parts of the country. When compared to other forms of processed seafood, fresh fish and seafood is generally viewed by the consumer as the highest quality product available. The use of misleading terms and phrases by many in the seafood industry has led many consumers to wrongly believe that fresh seafood is actually synonymous with high quality seafood. In the seafood industry the word "fresh" should specifically refer to a product that has never been frozen. However, the term is often misused and it gives absolutely no insight to the actual quality of the product or its "freshness".
The reality is, fresh seafood is rarely the highest quality product available. Only when consumers are close to the source, during the fishing season, can high quality fresh seafood be found. This is because once seafood is harvested a slow and continual decomposition begins. Enzymes found in the muscle tissues begin to break down the flesh, which over just a short amount of time can greatly jeopardize the quality of the seafood. Once the breakdown is initiated there is no process to reverse it. There is, however, a process that can stop the breakdown, usually for a considerable amount of time. What is this process? Freezing.
While fresh seafood is in a continual state of quality decline, the degradation in frozen fish (also known as fresh-frozen) is stopped and the quality is held at the level it was upon freezing. Due to minimal breakdown, in many cases frozen seafood can be found in a superior quality to fresh seafood. An example might help explain: Two Alaskan Halibut were caught at the same time; the first fish was processed and shipped from Alaska to California as a fresh fillet, while the second was shipped to the same location as a frozen fish fillet. At the point of arrival the frozen Alaska fish is a higher quality than the fresh Alaskan fish because its "freshness" was "locked in" at the time of freezing, while the first fish was slowly breaking down and losing quality throughout the entire transportation process.
When shopping for high quality Alaskan Seafood, it's important to consider your proximity to the fishery and realize that passing up "fresh" fish and seafood for a "fresh-frozen" product will in most cases lead to a higher quality seafood product and greater satisfaction in the end.