Handle Seafood Safer This Easter

If you’re going to be indulging in the fruits of the sea this Easter, it’s important to handle and prepare your seafood with care.
April 19, 2014

If you’re going to be indulging in the fruits of the sea this holiday season, it’s important to handle and prepare your seafood with care. 
According to the business analysts at IBISWorld, Aussies are expected to spend around $24.4 million on seafood this Easter, up from $23.6 million last year.

Keep Your Seafood Chilled

Make sure to chill your seafood shortly after purchasing it. Taking an ice-filled cooler or insulated shopping bag can help your seafood stay fresh when it’s in transit. It can then be refrigerated if you’ll eat it within two days, but otherwise it’s best wrapped in clingwrap or foil and frozen.

Allow Your Seafood to Thaw Gradually Before You Cook It

If you have frozen your seafood, you should ideally thaw it gradually in your refrigerator the night before you plan to cook it. If you don’t have time you can seal it in a plastic bag and thaw it in cold water. If it’ll be cooked immediately after defrosting it, you can also use the microwave.

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw seafood. You should also wash your cutting boards and utensils between the preparation of raw and cooked seafoods. Make sure cooked seafood is also separated from raw seafood to avoid cross-contamination.

Test the Smell

Seafood should smell vaguely of the sea. If it smells like ammonia, it is probably spoiled and should be discarded.

Cook it to 63 Degrees Celsius

Seafood should generally be cooked to 63°C or 145°F. If you don’t have a food thermometer, you can get a good feel for its temperature by observing your dishes. Cooked fish will be opaque and flake away with a fork. Prawns, scallops, lobsters, bugs, and crabs also turn opaque when they’re cooked. Mussels and oyster shells will open up when the molluscs are cooked. You should toss any that don’t open.

Don't Leave Your Seafood Sitting Out

Long leisurely Easter lunches are tradition, but you shouldn’t leave your seafood, or other perishable dishes, sitting out for more than two hours. If the mercury soars past 32°C (89.6°F), cut this time to just one hour.

Be Cautious With Seafood if Pregnant, Elderly, or Sick

Smoked salmon and trout are Easter favourites, but you should steer clear if you’re pregnant, elderly, or unwell. These people have a greater chance of contracting listeriosis or salmonella, which may be present in smoked fish, raw fish or shell fish. Be cautious if serving any seafood to these people.

Following correct seafood handling and preparation procedures over the long weekend is the one of the best ways to ensure you have a happy Easter.