It has long been said that consumption of seafood may help you lead a longer and healthier life. Many people consider seafood as an essential part of diet, livelihood and culture. Seafood versatility has something to offer all consumers. From a char grilled halibut or braised oysters to a classic Japanese sashimi dish, seafood versatility calls for adventure and expression.
All in a Label
As the seafood adventure begins, many seafood lovers start to look at the possibilities of raw seafood. While this can feel overwhelming at first, becoming an educated consumer is the first step. Understanding which fish or shellfish is safe to consume raw will help you avoid some of the risks of consuming raw meat. Labels such as “sushi-grade” and “sashimi-grade” are common words in raw seafood language.
Raw seafood consumption is negatively associated with risks of parasites, bacteria or tapeworm. Seafood safety depends on proper guidelines for handling and storing seafood. Freezing raw seafood before consumption has been proven to kill harmful bacteria or parasites that can be present in the raw meat. A joint project on seafood health offers a helpful website that gives information on consuming seafood. Labeling a product as “sashimi-grade” indicates that the seller has optimized the product through quality and safe handling. Finding a reputable and honest seafood company gives you the best chance of finding quality and safe products. BC Live Spot Prawns & Seafood takes labeling products as sashimi-grade seriously and responsible. After you purchase sashimi-grade products, you might have safe storage questions.
Sashimi in Fridge
Sashimi-grade seafood should always be purchased frozen, to immediately begin killing bacteria or parasites. Consuming fresh sashimi requires it be consumed immediately in order to conserve the quality of taste and texture. Before consuming raw sashimi, it may be thawed by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If it needs to be thawed quicker, placing it in a sealed plastic bag then immersing it in cold water will speed the thawing process. Frozen sashimi placed in a refrigerator, at a temperature of 4℃ or below, must be used within two days after purchase, to avoid risk of food-borne illnesses.
Sashimi in Freezer
Freezing your own fresh sashimi, to consume at a later date, is not recommended. The process of freezing sashimi-grade products is done at temperatures of -40℃ or below. This temperature surpasses the ability of household freezers. During freezing, ice crystals (from water absorption) form in the product and break down the structure of protein on the cellular level. The quicker it freezes, less ice crystals will form and preserve the sashimi quality.
Flash freezing seafood ensures the quality and overall freshness of the product. Many consumers consider flash frozen fish are “fresher” than “previously-frozen” fish that can be found in the freezer aisle of the local supermarket. The process of flash freezing preserves the product’s freshness by rapidly reducing the temperature to -40℃. This ensures the size of ice crystals to be extremely small. Flash frozen-at-sea requires the product to be frozen within four hours of catching. Freshly caught seafood that is within the distribution chain is processed and flash frozen within eight hours.
Uni (Sea Urchin Gonads)
Uni, a famous delicacy, tastes best when consumed fresh. In order to preserve the succulent taste, uni is consumed raw. As with all fresh, natural products, flavour and texture are time sensitive. Early consumption of uni guarantees a favorable pallet taste. We proudly serve fresh Uni that may be refrigerated for 5-7 days. Less fresh uni has fridge longevity of only two days. Sashimi uni should never be frozen or it will lose the highly sought after texture.
All Things Considered
Seafood safety remains a concern for consumers due to the risks that are associated with raw consumption. Handling and storing sashimi-grade seafood must be done responsibly. When it comes down to it, remember the importance of temperatures as well as the benefits of flash-frozen. The versatility of raw seafood depends on the adventurous nature of cooks and consumers. Done safely and responsibly, sashimi is a healthy way to enjoy the benefits of seafood.