15. Follow Safe Thawing and Cooking Guidelines
It’s also important to follow safe cooking and thawing guidelines when consuming seafood. Seafood quickly grows bacteria when it sits at room temperature. Additionally, raw fish or fish that has not been properly cooked could contain parasites or cause foodborne illness. While there are some types of fish that people consume raw or undercooked, like in the case of sushi or medium-rare tuna, it’s important to note that these are considered sushi-grade fish. There are different standards because the fish is not being cooked all the way through. The food is prepared and processed differently to reduce the chance of parasites, however, consuming any kind of undercooked fish comes with this risk.
When thawing fish, never make the kitchen mistake of thawing at room temperature. Instead, thaw fish in the fridge overnight when possible. If you can’t, put it in a bag and submerge it in cold water or use the defrost setting. If defrosting, only warm it until the fish becomes slightly pliable and is still frozen. To kill bacteria and parasites, fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, check the flesh of the seafood. Fish flesh becomes clear and flakes easily with a fork. Shellfish like clams, oysters, and mussels all open and you should discard those that don’t. Finally, the flesh of scallops, lobster, crab, and shrimp become firm and clear when cooked.