Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Buying Frozen Fish at the Grocery Store

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021

Your wallet will thank you, trust us.

salmonMarian Weyo/shutterstock

If you’ve been spending big bucks on freshly caught fish, good news—you can put some of that cash back in your pocket, because SINTEF, a Norwegian research firm, just concluded that frozen fish is just as good as the fresh stuff in terms of quality. The major difference is that frozen fish is often significantly cheaper, meaning you can afford better cuts and varieties, and eat salmon sandwiches to your heart’s content.

The catch is that the fish must be flash-frozen for the quality and nutrition to be preserved and left fully in-tact (which lucky for us Americans, is exactly what is mandated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration), must remain at a stable and low temperature leading up to the time of thawing, and the thawing itself must take place immediately before the fish is laid out for sale or consumption. In fact, you may unknowingly be buying fillets that were frozen before you got them at the grocery store. Here are 10 more facts that will change how you eat fish forever.

“Frozen fish products are frozen within a few hours of harvest,” explains Grant Hon, executive chef of Omaha Steaks. “This process ensures that moisture and flavor are retained in the fish, resulting in excellent taste and texture. It is essentially the same taste as fresh-caught salmon that is immediately prepared.”

In fact, the cheaper, frozen fish retains just about all its nutrient content and value, according to Matthew Robinson, a food scientist, and chef at The Culinary Exchange.

“The cold does a very good job of retaining the nutritional value of foods. The cold can slow the processes involved with vitamin breakdown. Typically, it is not the freezing that is responsible for the loss of nutrition value. It is the handling before (and after) freezing,” says Robinson.

The process of flash freezing is far beyond what a normal freezer is capable of and accelerates the freezing process to -20 degrees Fahrenheit to hard-freeze fish in mere moments. This means that fish you bought even months ago is capable of being thawed to utter perfection.

Now, should you buy farm-raised or wild-caught salmon? Here’s what you need to know.