North Carolina Sea Grant
Mariner's Menu

Mariner's Menu

August 6, 2010 | David Green

how to select, handle, clean and store seafood

After a successful fishing trip at the coast, you can keep your catch fresh until you get home with this simple technique. First scale, head and eviscerate your fish or fillet them so they are ready to use or freeze when you arrive at home.

Next pack dressed fish or fillets in ice or even better, superchill the catch. To do this you need an insulated cooler with a drain. Before packing the fish, make a salt-ice mixture in a separate container, using about one-half pound of salt for every five pounds of ice.

Line the cooler with 3 to 4 inches of flaked or crushed ice. Layer the fish in the cooler, covering each layer with the salt-ice mixture. Eviscerated fish should be unwrapped and the body cavities filled with ice. Dressed fish or fillets should be wrapped in heavy, clear plastic film.

When the cooler is filled, top the contents with a generous layer of ice and tightly close the lid. Also close the drain plug. Place the cooler in a cool, shady area of your car. Check your fish and ice at the end of each day. Drain off the melted ice at night and add more ice.

After you have tried superchilling, you will be able to do it without mixing the ice and salt. Adding salt to ice lowers the holding temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and extends the fresh quality of fish for several days.

Contributed by David Green

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