View Full Version : Is frozen fish a good sub for fresh?
07-26-2003, 09:27 AM
I am trying to eat more fish and less red meat. The problem with fish, though, is that even cheaper species can be really pricey (I get my fish at Whole Foods). Also, I know it's best to use fish right away, but that's not always convenient and I'll frequently skip over a fish recipe because I don't want to go to the store and get it.
I know Trader Joe's sells vacuum-packed frozen fish, and I think it's quite a bit cheaper than buying fresh from Whole Foods. Does frozen fish really still taste as good? If so, then I will be more likely to stock up on fresh fish when I'm at the store and freeze it myself, and also to buy the frozen filets at TJ's.
07-26-2003, 09:41 AM
I prefer fresh, but will sometimes use frozen if fresh is too expensive or not available.
It can be a good sub, but if it is thawed and refrozen at any point the fish can turn mushy.
07-26-2003, 09:44 AM
In some cases frozen is better than fresh. You would have to know exactly when the fishmonger got the fish or was it previously frozen, in order to determine it's freshness. With frozen fish they are flash frozen and therefore as fresh if not fresher than some in the fishmonger's case.
Even though I live near the Gulf coast I buy frozen a lot of the time just because it's more convenient and sometimes cheaper.
07-26-2003, 09:53 AM
I buy several types of the frozen fish at TJ's every time I go there and have been very happy with all of them. The prices are great and they have a huge variety.
07-26-2003, 10:05 AM
I have always preferred frozen (when frozen properly).
Most places that sell "fresh" fish receive their shipments frozen and thaw it for consumption.
I'd rather thaw my own when I need it and know how long it's been since it thawed.
Plus, if they're having a sale, I always ask if they have have some still frozen in their freezers and I buy that...why re-freeze and ruin the texture.
Just me 2cents :)
07-26-2003, 10:05 AM
The frozen fish at TJ is very good. I think most of the frozen fish you buy has been cleaned and frozen aboard ship. It is really fresher than the stuff you get in the supers as "fresh". Unless you go down to the docks and buy it fresh, it has just been refrigerated or even frozen before you buy it.
07-26-2003, 10:50 AM
Well this has been encouraging! I've never bought frozen fish - not because I think it wasn't fresh when frozen, but because I was concerned about the texture/quality issue. I guess I feel more confident seeing what it actually looks like and being able to talk to the fishmonger. But now I'm definitely going to stop by the frozen fish case on my next trip to TJ's! :)
07-26-2003, 10:52 AM
In my experience, the fresh fish at Whole Foods is very good (but expensive), but the stuff you get at other markets is often not as good (although, I thought they were supposed to label it if it was previously frozen?). At TJ's I particularly like the frozen ahi steaks or salmon steaks, and I've done lots of different types of recipes with both of these. The easiest one is to just take the ahi steaks out of the package, throw them in a ziploc with some of the veri veri teriyaki sauce, and let them marinate for a good long time and then cook them in a grill pan (or on a grill, but I don't have one)--very tasty and super easy. DBF claims to hate frozen fish, so I just don't tell him!! :D I also buy the frozen shrimp at TJ's all the time.
I once got some fresh salmon at TJ's, though, which was pretty reasonable and also tasted pretty fresh (it was near where they have sausages, cold cuts, fresh chicken, etc.). :)
07-26-2003, 11:13 AM
I think that is the key...frozen on the ship.
I've seen some grocers try to re-freeze the fish they can't sell, so not only have you gotten RE-frozen fish, but it's days old..blech.
I like the tuna at TJ's as well.
One other seafood that I prefer frozen is scallops. Most of the scallops I used to buy..from upscale butcher-type shops no less, smelled to high heaven. I asked the guy what is causing this and he said I should just marinate them first :eek: :rolleyes:
I finally heard that these are considered "wet scallops" and they have been soaked in odd solutions to plump them up.
The preferred scallop is called a "dry" scallop...no fillers/solutions added--but they cost a TON....till I went to Sams and found frozen scallops. No smell; sweet tasting...reasonably priced. THe ingredients don't list any solutions so I'm assuming these are flash frozen and technically "dry" scallops :)
And frozen shrimp are the ONLY way I would buy them.
I think the only way to get a definitive answer is to try for yourself. I've always bought fresh fish, and find that certain places are more reliable than others (quality even seems to vary from Whole Foods to Whole Foods, and I've got a couple of other places locally which have very nice fish as well.) If you find a place which has good fish and-- even better-- has someone who'll advise you what's freshest or looks best, IMHO I'd stick with it as long as it works for you monetarily.
Several months ago, I talked myself into buying a frozen salmon fillet at TJ's. It looked lovely, I thought, and it was a fraction of what I normally pay for fresh salmon fillet. So, I bought it and poached it, and found it so vastly inferior to the fresh, I'd rather pay the extra money. Yes, it may simply be the luck of the draw-- some fish is good, some isn't, no matter how fresh or how properly it's handled. But, it did sort of quell my enthusiasm for trying more frozen fish at least for the time being... :(
Edited to add: As long as I'm going against the grain here, one other thought. I used to do as you were thinking, buying fresh fish and freezing it for further use. But I stopped because I noticed I was losing texture and overall quality that way. The fish which was cooked within a day of purchase was so much better than anything thawed and defrosted, I really did notice an appreciable difference. Plus, you really need to watch out with shrimp (at least here in this area) because what's commonly sold at the store has been frozen and defrosted. Freezing it yet again tends to mush the little critters.
Would suggest that you'd probably do better to try the flash-frozen stuff at TJ's or elsewhere, see if YOU like it, and if so go that route rather than freezing it yourself.
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