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Goatjunky

Worms in fish

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A friend of mine just gifted me with fresh yellowtail. The last gift of fresh swordtail began exuding worms when i started grilling it. Gross. I was told to freeze it first but a. Are they not still there, i think not. And b. I hate the thought of freezing my fresh fish to cook it. Is there something i can look for?

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most fish have parasites living in them. Freezing kills them, but does not remove them of course. But you probably also won't notice them ;-)

considering that all sushi fish (at least in California) has been frozen, it's not a big problem IMO. Seal it well, freeze it quickly.


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I don't think you can just throw any fish into the freezer if you want to preserve it. From what I understand, most "sushi-grade" meat is flash frozen in a deep freezer. The lower temperatures ensure that the parasites are killed quickly and prevent the formation of large ice crystals in the flesh (large crystals = bad meat when thawed). Most standard household freezers don't go below -10 F, whereas some of the deep freezers can go beyond -30 F.


Edited by Baselerd (log)

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I don't think you can just throw any fish into the freezer if you want to preserve it. From what I understand, most "sushi-grade" meat is flash frozen in a deep freezer. The lower temperatures ensure that the parasites are killed quickly and prevent the formation of large ice crystals in the flesh (large crystals = bad meat when thawed). Most standard household freezers don't go below -10 F, whereas some of the deep freezers can go beyond -30 F.

And, equally important, the flash freezing pretty much prevents all enzyme activity, which ruins the meat pretty quickly.

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So Baselerd---where does my -20 F freezer fit? Is that cold enough to "flash" freeze quickly without damaging crystals forming - especially if I vacuum pack it to freeze? Or maybe vacuum would make no difference?/

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To be honest I'm not sure - hopefully someone more knowledgeable on the subject can chime in.

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The bigger the fish, the bigger the worms. Seriously. I've seen large sheepshead whose flesh looked like it was studded with spaghetti. I toss the really wormy bits, but I'm on the Gulf Coast and have access to beaucoup seafood. I routinely freeze fish in my lame old home deep freeze. No, it's not as good as fresh, but it's not horrible either. Standard practice, in lieu of a vacuum sealer, is to cover filets with water and freeze in an airtight container. The sooner you can use, the better. Long-frozen fish is best used in a dish where subtlety is not required--like deep frying or making fishcakes.

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I've worked with Wahoo and Cod over the years that have worms running through the flesh. They are harmless, but they often damage the flesh around where they are, so I just cut them out and try and neaten it up. Different species are more susceptible than others.


James.

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If you google "spaghetti worms" you will learn more than you want to know about the worms in fish. I stopped buying speckled trout because of them. I told my fish monger that when I look at what I'm getting ready to cook, I don't want it looking back at me, and lobsters are the only exception to that rule. If it's any consolation to you (it isn't to me) spaghetti worms only thrive in unpolluted water, so the fish you're eating probably comes from clean water.


"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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