Storing Seafood

Chilling and storing fresh or wet seafood

How well seafood is chilled and stored plays a very important part in protecting and maintaining product quality, while limiting the amount of product spoilage. The seafood handling practices involved will differ slightly between commercial and domestic situations. However, regardless of the situation, ice should be used in the chilling and storing of fresh or wet seafood.

Tips for chilling:

ensure that your refrigerator is clean and in good working order, with tight seals.
check the temperature in your refrigerator is close to +4°C.
wash the seafood in cold, running water to help pre-chill it. Do not soak it, as this may cause contamination.
using cling wrap to protect your seafood, place it in a shallow sealed container full of ice and store in the refrigerator.
store raw seafood below cooked and ready-to-eat seafood. This will prevent raw seafood from contaminating cooked or ready-to-eat product in case of a spillage or accidental contact between the two.
store all seafood products as low in the refrigerator as possible, so that if a spillage does occur it will not contaminate other products. The coldest part of the refrigerator will be at the bottom or in a designated chilling zone.


Freezing and frozen storage of seafood

The home freezer, like the chest "freezer", should be used only to keep frozen products frozen. They are designed for cold storage, not for the freezing of food.

However, home freezing of seafood is popular. For best results the following guidelines should be followed when freezing seafood at home.

freeze highest-quality seafood only
freeze whole or gilled and gutted whenever possible
wash seafood under cold running water before freezing
without drying the seafood completely, wrap it tightly in cling wrap or a similar product. Place it in a freezer bag, expel the air and seal.
label each package with name of product and date and remember that first in should be first out.
place near sides or on floor to speed up the freezing process. Along with pre-chilling, this helps speed up the freezing process.
Keep as cold as possible
Seafood stored around –15°C should be eaten as soon as possible. Temperatures of –18°C or below are required for longer-term storage.

Check temperature
Place a thermometer in the "freezer" to keep a regular check on the temperature. Open the door as seldom as possible

Glazing seafood tip

Once frozen, seafood can be removed from the "freezer", unwrapped, dipped under cold, running water, and then rewrapped for freezing. This coats it with a glaze that helps reduce dehydration during its time in storage