Clean frozen fish thoroughly to ensure a safe and tasty seafood meal. Frozen seafood is an inexpensive way to add lean protein to your diet. Many fish are frozen at very low temperatures in the hull of the fishing vessel as soon as they are caught. Properly thawing and cleaning the frozen fish before it is cooked will help preserve the fish's fresh taste and appearance. Protect yourself and those you feed from food poisoning by carefully cleaning frozen fish before they are cooked.
Things You'll Need
Food-safe plastic tub
Refrigerator (35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit)
Nonporous cutting board
Place whole frozen fish or fish fillets in a single layer at the bottom of a food-safe plastic tub. Seal the tub and place it in the refrigerator for 36 to 48 hours or until the fish is fully thawed.
Hold the fish under cold running water as you run a fillet knife against the grain of the scales to break them off. Removing the scales and leaving the fish's skin intact will help the fish stay together and cook more evenly.
Move the fish to a nonporous cutting board and slice open the belly with a shallow cut along the bottom of the fish. Reach inside the cavity, pull out all the interior organs and discard them in the sink or trash.
Return to the cold running water for a thorough rinse of the fish's newly empty center.
Season and cook your clean fish whole or remove the head and tail to section the fillets. Remove any bones you can see with a pair of clean pliers if you are not serving the fish whole.
Clean, thawed fish can be stored in the refrigerator for up two days, but is best when cooked and served right away.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely
- No Bones About it: How to Clean a Fish—Fish Cleaning
- North Dakota State University Agriculture and University Extension: From Stream to Table: A Pocket Guide to Care and Handling of Fish by Julie Garden-Robinson & Martin Marchello