5 Signs That Tell us About the Freshness of Fish: Check When You Buy It

When buying fresh fish at the market or in a store, it is worth carefully inspecting the goods. If the fish has been stored longer or in inappropriate conditions, it can be poisoned.

Examine the gills

All Odessans know this way of checking the fish. Fresh fish has gills that are bright red or pink in color. If the gills are brown or dark gray and covered with muddy mucus with an unpleasant odor – the goods are stale.

Look at the eyes of the fish

Fresh fish should have convex and transparent eyes. If the fish has been stored outdoors for a long time, its eyes will become cloudy and droop in the head.


The smell of fresh fish is specific, but not disgusting. It should not have a note of rottenness and dirt. In the process of decomposition of tissues, fish releases ammonia, which gives it a pungent, unpleasant smell.

Check the scales

The scales of fresh fish fit tightly against the body and are not seriously damaged. Minor abrasions may be due to shipping. But if the scales can be easily removed by hand, it is better to refuse to buy such fish.

Dunk the fish in water

When buying a fish to check this way will not work, so the test is carried out at home. Pour water into a bowl and dunk the fish in it. If the carcass sinks, it is fresh, and expired fish will float to the surface.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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