If you’re storing raw fish in the refrigerator, you want to be careful about where and how it’s stored. Poor placement of your raw fish can cause cross contamination or just create a mess in the fridge.
Putting it in the wrong place can also make the fish go bad, spoiling it before you have a chance to use it.
This isn’t a food you can just store anywhere and not worry about. Raw fish is sensitive, it spoils easily, and it could contaminate other foods with bacteria from its surface.
That’s why you want to be very careful about where you have chosen to store raw fish and the way in which it’s stored.
I’m going to tell you a few things you can do to make sure it’s being stored properly, making certain that it’s preserved and usable when you’re ready for it.
Keep Raw Fish Cold
One of the most important things you need to know about storing your raw fish in the fridge is that it should be put in a place where it can stay cold.
Think about the parts of the fridge that fluctuate in temperature or that are prone to become warm. Raw fish needs to stay cold at all times. If the temperature fluctuates very much, it can become a habitat for bacterial growth, and you want to avoid that if at all possible.
Certain parts of the fridge may not stay cold all the time. If the door opens frequently, items in the front of the fridge on the shelves may have a tough time staying cold. They might be kept refrigerated, but their temperature level isn’t likely to stay the same all day long.
You don’t want to take that risk with raw fish, so place it near the back of the fridge where the temperature is the coldest. You can also place it behind other items to keep warm air from reaching raw fish.
Another good place to store the fish is in one of the drawers in the fridge. The drawers tend to trap in the cold temperature better than any other area in the fridge, so if you have an empty drawer, you can place your raw fish in, go for it. That’ll be an easy way to make sure that the temperature doesn’t fluctuate at all and the fish doesn’t spoil.
Keep Raw Fish Packaged or Sealed
The placement of your raw fish is important in the fridge, but so is how it’s packaged. Raw fish should be stored in its original packaging to keep it from leaking out and touching other foods. You want to avoid cross contamination, as bacteria can travel from the fish to other foods.
This can be a problem, since you’ll be cooking the fish but possibly not cooking the other foods. If bacteria from raw fish touches strawberries or other fresh fruit, you’ll be putting that live bacteria right in your mouth.
That’s why it’s so important to protect against cross contamination. Not everything in your fridge will be cooked, so you want to treat the raw fish as though it could easily spread to any food.
Keep it well packaged and sealed. You may also want to place it in additional packaging to keep it from leaking out. Putting your raw fish in airtight container is a good idea, as is wrapping it up further than the wrapping it comes in from the store.
Just make sure that you toss any wrappers when you’re done cooking the fish and that you clean out any containers after you take the raw fish out of those.
Whatever kind of wrapping or packaging you’re using for the raw fish, ensure that there’s no leakage.
Try to choose something that won’t leak, but then also check for leaks throughout the day to ensure that no liquid is seeping out from the raw fish and affecting other food.
If there is any leakage, be sure to clean and sanitize the affected areas of the fridge. If the liquid from the raw fish comes into contact with other foods, you need to toss those out or cook them.
Use the Fish Before the Expiration Date
It may not always be a good idea to store your raw fish in the back of the fridge. That could be a somewhere where you forget about it, if you don’t see it every time you open the fridge.
Storing it in the drawer can cause the same problem. If raw fish is kept out of sight, you may forget you purchased it and the expiration date could pass.
Don’t risk eating raw fish after the expiration date. This is not a food you want to take any chances with, because the risk of food poisoning is high with any kind of seafood that has spoiled or very been contaminated.
Maybe you bought the raw fish in packaging that doesn’t have an expiration date. It will probably stay safe to eat up to three days after you purchased it, if you’re storing it in the fridge and keeping it sealed and packaged.
However, it’s a good idea to check the fish for signs of spoilage. Give it a sniff test to see if it smells like it has gone bad.
If you see any discoloration in the fish, then it could have gone bad already. If there’s anything suspicious or different looking about the fish, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Keep Raw Fish at the Bottom of the Fridge
The position of your raw fish is very important when you’re trying to store properly and keep other food from being contaminated. The back of the fridge is a good place for it, as are some of the drawers, but it’s also important that you keep raw fish near the bottom of your fridge.
In fact, if you can accommodate raw fish in the very bottom of the fridge, that’s really the best place for it. Not only does that area stay very cold, but your fish cannot leak juices out onto food below it.
That’s a big problem with raw fish. There’s often a lot of leakage, and the packaging it comes in from the grocery may not be the most secure. You want to store your fish in such a way that if it does leak, it’s not going to contaminate anything.
Try not to store anything on the same shelf as the fish, so that if it leaks across the shelf, it won’t cause any cross contamination. Try not to store anything below the fish either, as leakage can drain down into the lower parts of the fridge.
If you want to avoid tossing any food out because of the damage caused by raw fish leakage, then make sure you choose the lowest possible point in the fridge for your raw fish storage.
With proper storage, raw fish can last to its expiration date and not contaminate any other foods. It will stay cold, fresh, and good to eat until you’re ready to cook it up.
It’s not too difficult to keep raw fish properly stored, but knowing what’s required and what are the best practices will help you to avoid making silly mistakes.