Tag: tricks

Not just a label: all the tricks to buy fish – Italian Cuisine

Not just a label: all the tricks to buy fish

People of the sea and people, maybe even prepared, but that of the sea is not, because they do not live in a seaside town. Here, especially among the latter, buying the right, good and healthy fish is not a trivial thing at all. The fish may seem fresh but instead be just full of additives and tricks to make it look fresh. Where generations of fish have been handed down for generations, perhaps it is more immediate in the fateful moment of the purchase to pay attention to some things; otherwise, a small guide does not hurt. The fact is that the purchase of fish requires a series of important measures to avoid being cheated or even intoxication. And remember also that good fish is not necessarily expensive.


First of all the freshness. Because the fish must strictly be very fresh, more than any other food. So the first thing to look is the eye: when you say "boiled fish eye" … think that if the fish is fresh, the eye is still bright, clear and not opaque. Also pay attention to the gills, which must be strictly red or pink depending on the species. Brown? Bad sign. In general you have to look at it well, why the fish speaks with its appearance and it's like an open book. But beware: there is a lot of competition in the fish sector some people play dirty. Unfair competition is manifested when, for example, bleached cuttlefish are found with hydrogen peroxide (yes you have understood correctly) or tuna whose color is revived with carbon monoxide. Then let's be clear: sometimes even frozen fish can be good and fresh. Transparency is important.

Distinguish the species

Then there is the substitution of the species. For some it is science fiction to fall, but for others, more naive or less familiar, it is a moment. The scam is around the corner. There are those who sell a pagro for a snapper and who offers you a marlin instead of swordfish – in this case, for example, it is all a question of where the brown shadow is, ie whether at the edge or in the middle. And here the only remedy is to know them and to have the species in mind.


Then there are specific rules for each species. An emblematic example? The mussels. Woe to the open shell. Finally, seasonality is also important, as in all foods. Every season of the year offers different fish: from mullet season (autumn) to mackerel (from January to March), from mullet (spring period) to amberjack (autumn).


The fish must finally have its label with all information that make traceable the entire production chain. This is what is established by European legislation which has recently entered into force. For any type of fish, it is mandatory to indicate the commercial name and the scientific name. It should also be declared the production method specifying if the product has been "fished", "fished in fresh water" or "bred". In the case of "caught" fish, it is necessary to indicate area" and the eventual "sub-zone" of sea where the capture took place in a form easily understandable to the consumer. Another type of mandatory information is that on fishing method and on tools: trawlers, trawl nets, gill nets and similar nets, nets and collecting nets, hooks and longlines, dredges and traps and traps. The indications concerning thepossible defrosting. Then there is the chapter of optional information that includes the date of capture, the date of landing, the detailed information on fishing gear, the flag status of the vessel, any environmental and social information and nutritional content.

Alessandro Gnocchi
January 18th 2016
updated by
Emanuela Di Pasqua
November 2018


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