Where Should You Store Raw Fish in the Refrigerator?

Served up with four more fish-storage factoids we bet you didn't know.

No matter the season, fish is always a healthy homemade meal option. Whether your fish recipe calls for pan-frying a whole fish and serving with a smear of tartar sauce or a simple one-pan bake, the meal options are endless.

However, before you actually make your fish fillets, where should you store the raw fish in your refrigerator? More so, what food safety precautions should you take as the head home chef?

To get the answers, we tapped Sur La Table's Manager of Culinary Content, Meredith Abbott. As a professional chef, she was able to shed light on the best practices for cooking and storing raw fish in your kitchen.

Raw Fish in Refrigerator Drawer

Where Should Raw Fish Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

"Raw meats and fish should always be stored toward the bottom of your refrigerator, under ready to eat, and prepared foods" says Abbott, adding that various proteins should be kept independently in a clean container. "Fish is best kept as cold as possible, so if you can, store fish like you'd see at a seafood market, packed, or layered with ice or ice packs."

How To Store Raw Fish

As noted above, meats, fish, and chicken should never be stored together, unwrapped, but separately in their own containers. When bringing home fresh fish, Abbott suggests removing it from the wrapping supplied by the market.

"You should remove your purchased fish from the wrapping or container. Using paper towels, dry all of the surfaces of the fish well and transfer to clean plastic or reusable closeable bag." Abbott says to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can. Once the air is let out, seal the bag and place it on ice.

She also advises to change the ice every day until the day you cook the fish. This way, it will stay cold and as fresh as possible.

How Long Is the Shelf Life for Raw Fish?

Raw fish and or seafood stored in the refrigerator should be cooked two to three days after purchasing.

Raw Fish Handling Instructions

Like cooking with any protein, there are certain food safety protocols to follow. "Always make sure that any time you are handling raw ingredients you have washed hands and clean surfaces and tools to reduce any chances for cross-contamination," Abbott says. "Same goes for after you are done handling the raw ingredients, wash and sanitize your hands and all surfaces and tools around where you were handling the ingredient."

How Long Can You Keep Fish Leftovers?

Having leftovers for second meals is always a good thing. However, how long can you keep fish leftovers in your refrigerator? Abbott advises not to keep it more than three days post-cooking. "Remember, that when you are reheating food, only reheat as much as you intend to eat."

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