The fresher the fish, the better it will taste

Any kind of fish will taste its best only if kept really fresh. And the secret is to keep it as cold as possible and prevent oxidation. If you have caught fish yourself, remember that it should be eviscerated as soon as possible after it's caught and then packed in flaked or crushed ice. Cubes can be used, but they tend to bruise the flesh. Put 3 or 4 inches of ice into the bottom of a chest and place the fish, either whole or in pieces, on this layer. Fill the belly cavity with ice and then alternate layers of ice and fish.

since temperatures inside automobile trunks often exceed 130 degress F., stop every hour to drain the melted ice and replace it with more ice to keep the fish covered and separated from one another. If you must keep it more than a day or two, wrap with paper and pack in dry ice. Since dry ice gives off carbon dioxide, always keep you car windows open for ventilation.

And once you are home, keep fish, whether bought or caught, as cold as possible. If you do not intend to cook it wthin a day or so, freeze after preparing it in fillets or steaks. Lay on trays and do not allow the pieces to touch one another. Freeze at the coldest temperature possible.

When the fish is frozen, remove for glazing, wrapping and labeling before returning it to the freeze. A plastic warp forms a tight seal that keeps out air, but you should also wrap it in freezer paper and tape the packages.

Never thaw fish at room temperature or in hot water. It is best to put the package into a large container with cold tap water, and when thawed sufficiently to be separated, finish thawing in the refrigerator.

Finally, when you cook the fish, never over- cook it. It is done when it loses its translucence and flakes easily. If you follow these steps, you should have good eating. After all the effort or expense to get good fish, it is worth a little care to preserve the quality. Fish Glaze 1/4 cup lemon juice Cold water 1 packet unflavored gelatin

Measure lemon juice into a pint container, then fill the rest of the container with cold water. Dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup of the lemon-water mixture. Heat remaining liquid to boiling and stir dissolved gelatin into te boiling liquid.

Cool mixture to room temperature and place in refrigerator to cool further. Dip frozen fish into the galze solution, making sure that all exposed surfaces are covered. Wrap and return to freezer immediately.

This can be done several times, using cool or cold glaze solution, and the glaze layer will increase in thickness, helping to lock in freshness and quality. This slows down the interaction of oxygen with fish fats and oils, a major cause of poor quality and poor taste.

After glazing, wrap fish in plastic wrap to help seal out the air. The wrap in freezer paper or put into strong polyethylene bags. Each package should be labeled with the fish species and date and returned to freezer at zero degrees F. or lower.

Another method is using wrap only. If fish are to be stored for a short time , a plastic, clinging-type wrap plus a freezer paper or polyethylene bag is enough. However, you should be aware that a higher-quality product with a longer frozen storage life will result from the frozen-in-water or glaze method.

Here are some fish recipes that can be used with either commercially or home-frozen fish. Hawaiian Fish Kabobs 2 pounds thick fish fillets 1 16-ounce can pineapple chunks 1/4 cup pineapple juice 1/2 cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares 3 cups cooked rice (optional)

Cut fish into 1-inch cubes. Drain pineapple and reserve 1/4 cup liquid.

Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, mustard, and garlic. Pour marinade over fish and leave 1 hour. Drain fish and save marinade. Alternate fish, pineapple chunks, and green pepper on skewers. Cook under broiler, basting with miranade. Serve over rice. Herbed Baked Fish 1 pound fish fillets, fresh or frozen 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (optional) 1/4 teaspoon oregano 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1 small bay leaf 1/2 cup onion sliced thin 1/2 to 3/4 cup light cream

Place fish in a baking dish and dot with butter. Sprinkle with seasonings and herbs. Top with onion and pour light cream over all. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 4. Salmon Nut Spread 1 cup flaked salmon 1 cup shredded carrots 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup mayonnaise 12 slices bread Butter Salt and pepper to taste

Combine salmon, carrots, and walnut meats. Moisten with mayonnaise to a spreading consistency. Season to taste. spread on buttered bread. Makes 6 sandwiches.

This recipe, by Florence Aiken, was first- place winner in the sandwich category of the Aberdeen Daily world 1976 Seafood Contest.

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