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robie

Slightly smelly cod

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About a week ago, I bought some cod fillet at Costco.  It had been packed the day before and IIRC, the sell by date was for 3 days later.  When I opened the package to portion and freeze the cod (I didn't cook any just then), it smelled fishy.  It had not been a hot day during transport and I have a fair amount of confidence in Costco's freshness.  I have also smelled somewhat fishy fish that has been just fine once cooked.  I do feel confident that that fish is safe to eat (firm texture, not slimy, no evidence of past its prime except smell).

 

I plan to defrost, rinse, and re-do the sniff test.  If still OK, I'm thinking about doing in a cioppino to mitigate the smell.  Any other ideas?

 

EDIT:  If it still stinks after defrost and rinsing, I will toss it and have a little less confidence in Costco fish.


Edited by robie (log)

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You are doing everything right for a fillet several days old. I would just add kosherIng while defrosting. A salt rub followed by fresh water rinse will freshen it. Sometimes I do this for chicken, too.

Also, you can talk to the meat manager at Costco. Maybe they need to retrain the morning stocker in that area. It  is possible  they should  have rejected the whole

 box of cod on that day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fish shouldn't smell fishy. It should smell of the sea. Your fish isn't fresh. I would toss it.

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5 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Fish shouldn't smell fishy. It should smell of the sea. Your fish isn't fresh. I would toss it.

I have heard this for years and never quite comprehended .  To me, the sea smells fishy.

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2 minutes ago, jayt90 said:

I have heard this for years and never quite comprehended .  To me, the sea smells fishy.

 

For me, they are two distinct smells. The sea smells fresh, salty, briny. Fishy is unpleasant

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As a former West Coast commercial fisherman for twenty five years let me explain something.

As soon as anything from the sea dies immediately a gas begins to form on the surface of, in your case a piece of cod.

The reason the gas forms is to attract bugs which will lay their eggs which hatch and begin to eat the fish. 'Decomposition'.

The gas is what smells 'fishy'.

An easy and effective way to wash away the gas is to put the fish in a cold water bath with the juice of a lemon added. The fish only needs to be in the water for only a couple of minutes. Beyond that and the acid in the lemon will start to cook the fish.

Give the fish a good rinse and pat dry. This ought to remove virtually all the fishy smell. If it doesn't the fish has been dead long enough for the gas to permeate the flesh. In that case the fish is not edible and whoever sold it to you needs to be spoken to,

In many commercial kitchens which serve fresh fish they use 'food-friendly' chemicals to remove the gas on fish/seafood.

 My advice is to NEVER buy ANY frozen seafood from countries like VN or China etc.

The sanitary conditions on the 'factory ships' and the chemicals used to keep fish from 'gassing-off' are beyond sickening.

 

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16 minutes ago, pufin3 said:

As a former West Coast commercial fisherman for twenty five years let me explain something.

As soon as anything from the sea dies immediately a gas begins to form on the surface of, in your case a piece of cod.

The reason the gas forms is to attract bugs which will lay their eggs which hatch and begin to eat the fish. 'Decomposition'.

The gas is what smells 'fishy'.

An easy and effective way to wash away the gas is to put the fish in a cold water bath with the juice of a lemon added. The fish only needs to be in the water for only a couple of minutes. Beyond that and the acid in the lemon will start to cook the fish.

Give the fish a good rinse and pat dry. This ought to remove virtually all the fishy smell. If it doesn't the fish has been dead long enough for the gas to permeate the flesh. In that case the fish is not edible and whoever sold it to you needs to be spoken to,

In many commercial kitchens which serve fresh fish they use 'food-friendly' chemicals to remove the gas on fish/seafood.

 My advice is to NEVER buy ANY frozen seafood from countries like VN or China etc.

The sanitary conditions on the 'factory ships' and the chemicals used to keep fish from 'gassing-off' are beyond sickening.

 

 

Thank you for a very informative post.  Is it advisable to 'de-gas' all fish using this method before consumption?

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15 hours ago, pufin3 said:

 My advice is to NEVER buy ANY frozen seafood from countries like VN or China etc.

 

Well, I live in China near the border with Vietnam and the fresh fish is delightful and doesn't smell fishy.

 

Most of the frozen fish sold here is from the USA! I never buy that. It's usually 50% water and 50% mush.


Edited by liuzhou typo (log)
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8 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Well, I live in China near the border with Vietnam and the fresh fish is delightful and doesn't smell fishy.

 

Most of the frozen fish sold here is from the USA! I never buy that. It;s usually 50% water and 50% mush.

 In other words if you don't live were the fish live eat meat and/or vegetables. When you live inland it is very hard to get fresh ocean fish despite refrigerated trucks etc.

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Thank you puffin3.  That is very informative.  I don't think the fish is bad or really even "old."  I have smelled the fishy smell before and the fish has been good when cooked.  This just seemed a little stronger so I thought I'd ask.

 

I will do the water/lemon quick bath and probably cook in a more flavorful way like curry or cioppino or something like that.  I'm considering fish and chips too but I hate deep frying.

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I'm with Liuzhou. .   I'm very picky about fish so it there was even the hint of a fishy smell, it would be tossed.

We live on the west coast and I buy fresh fish right down at the Bay. Never once have I found fresh to be fishy. 

 

And when we lived in Toronto, there were a number of fish shops and again, fresh fish never smelled fishy.

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Id guess that in China / VN  they eat fresh fish , not the Fz they export.

 

and visa versa.

 

here in BOS  its impossible to get fresh fish that does not have an aroma.  sometimes the aroma is milder, at an expensive fish market.

 

at supermarkets, it gets worse.

 

some fz from TJ's  vac/pac'd  are of the mild aromata.  but you can't find good salmon there.  you get the tails where there is little or no fat.

 

to get fish that doesn't even have the 'deep-sea' aroma, is next to impossible 

 

Ive gotten fresh fish in MenloPark  CA  at Cook's for a long time.  I grew up in the area and that's one town over.  I ate fish excessively ever time I visited my

 

father from that place.   the fish had no aroma what so ever.  this was salmon delivered every morning whole, many of them rejected, and local fish

 

from  half moon bay etc  :  fish like sand dabs, of different sizes.

 

so yes

 

you have to be near where the fish is caught.   presumable BOS np longer catches fish.

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1 hour ago, pufin3 said:

As a former West Coast commercial fisherman for twenty five years let me explain something.

As soon as anything from the sea dies immediately a gas begins to form on the surface of, in your case a piece of cod.

The reason the gas forms is to attract bugs which will lay their eggs which hatch and begin to eat the fish. 'Decomposition'.

The gas is what smells 'fishy'.

An easy and effective way to wash away the gas is to put the fish in a cold water bath with the juice of a lemon added. The fish only needs to be in the water for only a couple of minutes. Beyond that and the acid in the lemon will start to cook the fish.

Give the fish a good rinse and pat dry. This ought to remove virtually all the fishy smell. If it doesn't the fish has been dead long enough for the gas to permeate the flesh. In that case the fish is not edible and whoever sold it to you needs to be spoken to,

In many commercial kitchens which serve fresh fish they use 'food-friendly' chemicals to remove the gas on fish/seafood.

 My advice is to NEVER buy ANY frozen seafood from countries like VN or China etc.

The sanitary conditions on the 'factory ships' and the chemicals used to keep fish from 'gassing-off' are beyond sickening.

 

 

I'm googling this and coming up with nothing. What is the gas that the fish emanates?

 

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54 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

I'm googling this and coming up with nothing. What is the gas that the fish emanates?

 

 

I believe the chemical is triethylamine.

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The good thing is Costco has good return policies.  My first and only purchase of cod from Costco smelled of ammonia.  I tossed it and got a credit.  A recent purchase of corvina from them was also off and tasted like it.  It also went in the garbage and I got credit to my account.  Haven't had problems with salmon or steelhead trout.  Tuna I've purchased has been good

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12 hours ago, rotuts said:

you have to be near where the fish is caught.   presumable BOS np longer catches fish.

 

Sadly, I think this is true, of one of the world's premiere cities that was built on fishing.

 

Boston Harbor is part of the Gulf of Maine, an enormous catch basin defined by Cape Cod, the underwater islands of Georges Bank and Browns Bank, and the coasts of New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. When the first European colonists arrived, the cod was so plentiful that early accounts described sailors scooping fish directly out of the water with nets.

 

It is now so overfished that "groundfish" as the Atlantic fisherman call them are essentially gone from inland areas, so far as commercial fisheries go. Even the tasty, tiny coldwater shrimp of the gulf have been depleted to the extent that fishing has been cut back or prohibited in recent years. Only the lobster fishery is sustainable in these waters now - which may or may not be a result of overfishing of other species (it could also have to do with warming waters, algae blooms, troubles relating to spawning fish not able to migrate upstream and return to the sea, pollution, or other factors - likely a combination of all of the above).

 

rotuts I realize that you're aware of all of the above! But it's worth reiterating that some of the world's finest fish came from Boston until recently: cod, haddock, halibut, mackerel, salmon - and it's so depressing that that's no longer the case.

 

Fortunately a few miles' journey north or south will still get you some of the best shellfish the world has to offer: lobster, peekytoe crab, mussels, Ipswich soft shell clams, Maine shrimp (if you're lucky), scallops. Consume it while it lasts...

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P.S. Don't ever buy or eat smelly fish. It won't hurt you but it also won't be tasty. Throw it out - life is too short.

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After reading this discussion, I'm even more thankful to have our little fresh fish market so close in our neighborhood. We are a couple of hours from the Atlantic, but their fish, mollusks and shellfish have always been fresh when I got them there. The fin fish and squid are whole and stored mostly buried in crushed ice out front. They get clams, oysters and mussels from the back somewhere, so I don't know how they are stored, but have never received a dead one. Once I got a couple oyster shells in a batch that were filled with nothing but mud, but they were tightly closed, so there was no way to tell before opening. You can tell from the eyes of the fin fish that they are fresh because they are clear and shiny. As they age, they will dry out and shrink and become more opaque. They gut and fillet the fish at the store if you want. If it makes you inland guys and gals feel any better, at least you don't have to worry about hurricanes. :)

 

If I lived further inland, I might have to lower my standards or eat a lot less fish, but with my options here, I would never serve or eat a smelly piece of fish. It sounds like Costco has a great refund policy, though, so you won't lose either way. I would just get my money back the next time I was in.

 

I do buy some frozen fish from Trader Joes, and sometimes I buy more at the fish market than we can eat that night and immediately wrap and freeze. I think frozen is the best way to buy fish if you live inland. Fish doesn't keep well period even at fridge temps, which is why fish markets store it in crushed ice. It seems to do okay in the freezer, and if it has been handled well between the time it was caught and the freezer you are buying it from it is a fine alternative to fresh fish.

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@patrickamory  

 

Im very familiar with Ipswich clams.   I used to go up to that area very frequently.  knew all the clam shacks.  some of the obscure ones were the best.

 

Ive dug my own a few times.  perfectly fried w their bellies       good eats.

 

and years ago you could get cod on the old docks that still had fishing boats tied up to them in Boston

 

the No Name fish restaurant years ago comes to mind.

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I'm taking the cod out of the freezer with the plan of fish and chips tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

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I'm wondering why fish that I've just caught myself (Spanish mackerel) often has that *fishy* odor? It's one of the reasons why I can't stomach it. As soon as you land it in the boat, it stinks! The only other fish that I've noticed this with is barracuda, but we throw those back anyhow so I never have to think about eating them. But what is it that makes Spanish mackerel so stinky? They stink even when they are still alive. It's very odd. Maybe it's a defense mechanism? If so, it's working well with me. 

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1 hour ago, kbjesq said:

I'm wondering why fish that I've just caught myself (Spanish mackerel) often has that *fishy* odor? It's one of the reasons why I can't stomach it. As soon as you land it in the boat, it stinks! The only other fish that I've noticed this with is barracuda, but we throw those back anyhow so I never have to think about eating them. But what is it that makes Spanish mackerel so stinky? They stink even when they are still alive. It's very odd. Maybe it's a defense mechanism? If so, it's working well with me. 

 

Mackerel certainly does have its own pong, although I don't feel it's the same smell as that coming from stale, on the turn fish. Instead of smelling 'fishy', it smells 'makerel-y'.

The "defense mechanism", if that is what it is, doesn't work with me. Mackerel is a favorite,


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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17 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

The "defense mechanism", if that is what it is, doesn't work with me. Mackerel is a favorite,

@liuzhou  you can have mine! Sometimes when I'm fishing, that's all that I catch. :( 

PS some locals told me that it tasted better smoked, so I found a guy with a smoker and tried that, but IMHO it didn't help. I just ended up with smoky, stinky mackerel.  Oh, and it's strangely greasy, too.  Did I mention that I don't like mackerel? LOL 

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1 hour ago, kbjesq said:

@liuzhou  you can have mine! Sometimes when I'm fishing, that's all that I catch. :( 

PS some locals told me that it tasted better smoked, so I found a guy with a smoker and tried that, but IMHO it didn't help. I just ended up with smoky, stinky mackerel.  Oh, and it's strangely greasy, too.  Did I mention that I don't like mackerel? LOL 

Oily fish are the best smoked.   Casting into a school of Spanish mackerel can be a hell of a lot of fun 

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I never buy fish that I don't cook or process the same day. Letting it hang out in your fridge for several days and relying on sniff tests isn't conducive to either safety or deliciousness.

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