How to Properly Clean a Fish
If you have ever hesitated to enjoy a fishing trip because you lack the know-how to clean a fish, this article has the information you need. It is pretty easy to clean fish, though it is helpful to be aware of possible challenges, including some that involve potential injury. When all is said and done, it is good to know that City Fish Market offers fresh fish, including gutted and cleaned fish. Read on for a few tips and warnings as well as step-by-step instructions on how to properly clean a fish.
Tips and Warnings: How to Clean a Fish
Enjoying fish that you catch and clean yourself begins with ensuring that fish caught in the body of water where you are fishing are safe to eat. Fish absorb mercury and other heavy metals, for example, and some waters are polluted with these things. Before heading out with your fishing pole and other paraphernalia, check the intended fishing spot against your state’s parks and wildlife advisories, regulations, and guidelines. Pollution isn’t the only reason to avoid certain fish. Some are not considered edible, whether because they are too bony or have an unappetizingly strong fishy flavor.
The following are important tips and warnings:
- Clean fish promptly. Otherwise, the fish can rapidly spoil and unpleasant flavors may develop due to digestive enzymes.
- There is a potential risk of exposure to disease when handling fish. Therefore, wearing disposable plastic gloves is recommended.
- Check fish for signs that they have disease or parasites. Healthy fish have clear, bright eyes and red gills. Diseased fish may have loose scales, discolored skin, or sunken eyes. Their gills might be white, slimy, or bloody.
- Immediately upon catching a fish, decide whether you are releasing it or keeping it. The chances that a fish will survive catch-and-release are greatly improved by immediate release.
- To prevent contamination that might occur from the catch to the table, it is essential to properly handle, process, and prepare the fish.
How to Properly Clean a Fish
There are two more warnings, and they are related specifically to avoiding injury while cleaning a fish, as follows:
- Fish fins are sometimes very sharp and can cause serious puncture wounds; and
- Be careful if holding a fish by the head because fish bite and some have very sharp teeth.
The first thing to do is scale the fish. Place the fish on the cleaning surface and run the edge of a sharp knife from tail to head, in one direction. The areas most difficult to scale are near the fins and around the cheeks–tasks that usually require practice to master. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to properly clean a fish:
Step 1 – Place the fish on a cutting board and insert the tip of the knife into the belly close to the anal opening and slide the blade all the way to the head. Use a shallow cut to avoid puncturing the intestines.
Step 2 – Open the body of the fish and remove the entrails. Cut out a notch shape at the anus of the fish.
Step 3 – There may be a kidney near the backbone, depending on the type of fish. Use a spoon or your thumbnail to scrape it out.
Step 4 – With a good stream of water, clean the cavity and skin of the fish. If there is dark tissue lining inside the abdominal cavity, it could cause an oily, strong flavor, but you can scrape it off.
Step 5 – Removing the head of the fish is optional. Trout, in particular, are often cooked with the head on.
Step 6 – Next, immediately clean the fish-cleaning table. Properly discard the guts, heads, and scales.
Step 7 – Cook or properly store the cleaned fish.
If you’re in need of some good seafood recipes, be sure to check out our recipes page for fresh ideas.
Simplify your life by purchasing fresh seafood for your home table at City Fish Market any Monday through Saturday. For even greater convenience, enjoy delicious seafood dishes prepared at our restaurant from Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call us today at 860-522-3129, contact us using our online form, or visit us today to get great seafood, including fresh fish that have already been caught for you. We know how to properly clean a fish, and a large selection is available.