Here at the Dish on Fish, we get a lot of questions about seafood. We love being that go-to resource for you! We want to share some of the most asked questions we get about seafood. So here’s our seafoodie tip list. Plus, we’re also clearing up some common misconceptions around seafood. We hope you find this helpful, and keep the questions coming!
Q: Where does our seafood come from?
A: The majority of the seafood Americans eat is either fished or farmed in other parts of the world. America’s seafood stocks are responsibly managed by the U.S. government, while waters in other parts of the world provide a variety of delicious seafood at a greater yield. At grocery stores and fish markets, all seafood is labeled with its country of origin. If you don’t find this information on a restaurant menu, just ask your server!
Q: What seafood is the most popular?
A: Americans eat more shrimp than any other seafood, consuming 4.7 pounds per capita in 2019. Rounding out the Top 10 list of frequently consumed seafood are salmon, canned tuna, Alaska pollock, tilapia, cod, catfish, crab, pangasius and clams, according to the 2019 Fisheries of the United States report released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Interestingly, the Top 10 species make up only 74% of total U.S. seafood consumption, down from 90% in past years. This means that Americans don’t just love shrimp, salmon and tuna—we’re diversifying our seafood consumption and trying a lot more different species.
Q: How do I safely purchase seafood?
A: It’s as easy as buying any other perishable food. For shelf-stable canned or pouch seafood, check for the expiration date and any damage to the packaging. For fresh or frozen seafood, just keep a few key questions in mind. First, does the seafood smell fishy? Raw seafood should not have a “fishy” smell. Is it discolored? Seafood should not have dark edges, dark spots, or any discoloration. Finally, does it appear to be icy? Don’t purchase seafood with ice crystals in or on the packaging. When in doubt, ask your fishmonger, or turn to the Dish on Fish for advice. We’re happy to help!
Q: Is it true that you should eat shellfish only in months with an “R”?
A: Nope! This is one of those old fish tales. While the non-“R” summer months are ripe for large algal blooms that can contain toxins absorbed by some shellfish, seafood purchased from a reputable source won’t be an issue. As long as you’re consuming shellfish from a grocery store, fish market or restaurant, you may continue to enjoy it all year round. Just leave the harvesting to the pros!
Q: Should you eat seafood when you’re pregnant?
A: Yes! It’s important to eat seafood regularly during pregnancy to keep both baby and mom healthy. In fact, research shows that the omega-3s found in fatty fish like salmon are especially beneficial for baby’s brain and eye development, as well as mom’s heart, skin and mood. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and young children all should consume at least 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week. The only species that pregnant or breastfeeding moms and young children should avoid are shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, orange roughy, marlin and bigeye tuna. For more information, check out this Seafood Pregnancy Guide.
Q: Will eating shrimp raise your cholesterol?
A: Not at all. Shrimp may be higher in dietary cholesterol than some other seafood, but recent research shows that eating shrimp has a net positive effect on cholesterol in the body. In fact, the American Heart Association and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan both recommend shrimp as a heart-healthy choice. So, you don’t need to skimp on the shrimp!
Q: How do I keep my kitchen from smelling like fish?
A: We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve! You might already have what you need in your pantry. White vinegar will absorb and neutralize any fishy odor. Place a small bowl of it nearby before you start cooking, or fill a mister with vinegar and spray the air afterward. You also can boil a pot of water and add a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a spoonful each of cloves and ground ginger. Let this simmer on the stove while you’re cooking. Your kitchen will smell like potpourri, with no trace of fishy fragrance.