RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Many of us are trying to eat more nutrient-packed fish these days, which is smart. Few foods are as healthy for us as fish. Plus, now that it’s summer, angling for freshwater fish is a great way to spend a few relaxing hours. And who knows, maybe you’ll even catch something. But either way you get it—wild or farmed, store-bought or self-caught—fresh fish recipes make for a delightful summertime supper.
Whether it comes from the market or straight from the stream, keep fish cool on the trip home, then get it into the fridge as soon as possible. When storing, remove the fish from any packaging, if it’s store-bought, rinse under cold water, and pat it dry. Since fish deteriorates when it sits in its own juices, it’s best to place it in the refrigerator on a cake rack in a shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover the top with plastic wrap or foil. The fish will keep this way for up to two days. Or wrap fish tightly in freezer paper and store in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw frozen fish either in the fridge, in a watertight bag in the sink under cool running water, or by using the defrost cycle of your microwave.
As for health benefits, freshwater fish are incredible—starting with trout. This fish is an excellent source of niacin and vitamin B12, and a good source of pantothenic acid and selenium. Though coldwater ocean fish are the omega-3 fat champions thanks to their plankton-rich diet, wild rainbow trout is no slouch in this department. It provides 1.175 grams of omega-3s per 100 grams of fish. The farmed version supplies 1.236 grams, which is very good as well. Most rainbow trout, which is native to the U.S., is now farm raised. Its flesh is mild, delicate, and sweet. Rainbow trout farmed in the U.S. has been given the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch “Best Choice” designation because it is raised in an ecologically responsible fashion.
Wild-caught lake trout has a higher oil content than other trout, and its flesh is either white or pink. As for lake trout from the Great Lakes, the Seafood Watch recommends Lake Superior trout as a “Good Alternative” because the population is stable. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for lake trout from Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, which is why the Seafood Watch has placed these fish in the "Avoid" category. (Check SeafoodWatch.org for information on all your favorite fish and seafood; they offer a pocket guide, and a smartphone app as well.)