Monday, October 13, 2008

How Fresh Is The Fresh Fish You Buy?

Consumer Wise
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Getting the biggest bang for your hard earned buck


Everyone knows that eating fish is a healthy thing to do but take a close look at what you're buying. Things can get pretty fishy!

The next time you're in the fresh fish department of your favorite grocery store, take a good look at the tags that identify the fish. Does it say "previously frozen"?

There's nothing wrong with buying frozen fish. It's convenient, usually less expensive and is great to have on hand for family friendly, budget conscious meals. Since it's often frozen right at sea, it's "fresher" than fish that's been refrigerated for several days.

The problem with thawed, previously frozen fish being sold as fresh is that it's marketed as if it was "fresh" with prices higher than if you bought the same fish frozen and thawed it at home.

Lets not forget, too, that it's been sitting on ice for a while loosing moisture and getting stale. Not exactly what you envision as fresh is it?

So what's the solution?

If you live in a coastal area, it's easy to find places that sell really fresh fish but for most of us, you just have to shop around.

In Warrenton, Virginia, there's a darling gourmet food, wine and gift shop called The Town Duck that uses a clever method to market their guaranteed fresh, never been frozen fish.

Each week, e mails are sent out listing what fish will be available that week depending on the season, market prices and what's been caught.

Customers email back their orders and arrange for pickup on the designated day.

You'll see interesting fish like bronzini, black cod, wild rock and artic-char in addition to perennial favorites like salmon and tuna.

"Our scallops are particularly good because we get them dry, says long time owner Annette Johnson. "They're unprocessed, nice and white and plump-y. They don't shrink with cooking like wet scallops do. Wet scallops (the typical kind available) are processed and come in a preservative liquid."

Johnson aims for American fish but doesn't shy away from quality. "Prince Edward Island (Canada) has some gorgeous mussels right now and there's marvelous salmon coming from Scotland." Johnson insists that the fish she gets comes from waters she knows to be unpolluted.

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The Town Duck
New larger location
100 Main Street
Warrenton, VA 20186
(540) 347-7237

Open 7 days a week
www.townduck.com

Fresh fish must be ordered in advance so get on The Town Duck's email list.


Recipe

Easy, Town Duck Fish
Spread fresh fish fillets or steaks with a little crushed garlic and a thin smear of "Lemonaise". Bake until fish flakes.

(Lemonaise is a prepared sauce made by Ojai Cook. It's available at the Town Duck and gourmet shops everywhere.)

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