Fresh Fish for Sushi

How do sushi restaurants keep fish fresh?

There are some things that every sushi lover is curious about: is sushi fish frozen? How do the restaurants keep the fish fresh? Is it safe to eat raw fish? In this blog post, we will address some of those questions, and we will provide some insider information that will make you look like an expert and have more confidence while trying new dishes. The storage of fish is of utmost importance for sushi restaurants because if its cold chain is broken, it will have to be discarded. And when we talk about sushi, it is of much more importance because it is consumed raw in many dishes and sushi rolls. Now, not all varieties are used in Japanese food; the favorites are:

  • Tuna
  • Sea bass
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Calamari
  • Eel
  • Hamachi

Some of these are often used because they are resistant to microorganisms which are the ones that can compromise the quality of the fish and the health of the consumers.

Cutting Fish for Sushi

But how is sushi fish stored? Is sushi fish frozen?

As for the preservation of fish to keep it fresh, it can be frozen and thawed at the time of use. If this is the case, the restaurant needs to be very careful in the process so that the fish doesn’t lose quality regarding its flavor, texture, and appearance. Some restaurants prefer this option because it is one of the most effective ways to stop bacteria and microorganisms from reproducing and maintain them away from the fish.

However, it is also possible to keep it in the refrigerator, but it should be used within 24 hours. This is because some microorganisms and bacteria can reproduce in the refrigerator’s temperature, so the more time that passes, the more microorganisms can reproduce and be found on the meat.

These are some methods of preservation used in Japanese cuisine:

Ikejime: the fish’s blood is drained by cutting holes near the gills and tail. It is a technique used by fishermen after fishing, and it also improves the fish’s texture and eliminates fishy odors.

Yubiki: boiling water is poured over the raw fish, and immediately it is cooled in freezing water. This hardens the surface, sealing in the flavors and nutrients, and kills bacteria.

Arai: fish is immersed in iced water to clean and firm the meat. This technique improves the texture and helps to keep the fish fresh.

Shime: this method wraps the boneless fish with salt, and after waiting some time, you rinse it in water and bathe it with water and vinegar. The meat becomes firmer, the flavor is enhanced, and bacteria are destroyed.

Method to Store Fish for Sushi

Regardless of the method, there is no reason to worry because every restaurant must follow the FDA sushi guidelines to be open. These standards determine the fish preservation process to achieve safe consumption. Regarding the conservation temperature, they established a minimum of 4ºC (41ºF), and during the delivery process, both the supplier and the restaurant must guarantee that the fish is protected from contaminating agents.