Red Mayonnaise?

A popular accompaniment to lobster and other seafood dishes, red mayonnaise is prepared by adding beetroot juice and the coral (eggs) of lobster to mayonnaise. Russian is in fact American: Made from mayonnaise with pimento, chili sauce, green pepper and celery, or sometimes by mixing mayonnaise with tomato ketchup.

Perhaps you would like to try that red mayonnaise with your seafood dishes sometime? Onto the food facts…

Fish Contains Important Nutrients

Like meat, fish is nutritious because it truly is a good source of important nutrients.

In the Philippines, fish is second to rice in frequency of consumption. While it may be a monotonous staple food for many, fish can also be special. Fish is a good source of proteins, fats, vitamins, calcium and iodine.

Fish Protein Better Than Plant Protein?

Nutrition experts say that protein from fish is of better quality than plant sources like beans because it contains more of the essential amino acids needed to build and repair cells for the body.

Eating fish helps prevent goiter, or the enlargement of the thyroid gland. Iodine found in fish forms part of the hormone, thyroxine, which regulates some body processes. Iodine deficiency results to simple goiter which affects physical and mental health, the nerves, rate of heart beat and appetite.

Aside from protein and iodine, fish also gives fat which is a source of heat and energy for work and play. Fat from fish is easy to digest because it has a low melting point. Examples of fatty fish are bangus , talakitok and tilapia and shellfish like tahong and talaba.

Calcium is also found in fish and this helps in body-building and regulating processes and is distributed evenly in the body. Ninety-nine percent of calcium is found in a person’s bones and teeth and one percent in fluids and soft tissues. Small fish which can be eaten with crisp bones are dilis, dulong, ayungin, biya and sardines.

Fish liver, aligue of alimango and talangka are potential sources of vitamin A for good eyesight and good skin. On the other hand, vitamins B2 and B5, called niacin and riboflavin, respectively, are also contained in fish. These B-vitamins help keep the eyes and skin particularly in the mouth and nose healthy. Some seafoods rich in riboflavin are tahong, talangka and alimango, while niacin can be found in alumahan, tambakol, tamban and tulingan.

Eat Fish to Lower Heart-beat Rate

How fast your heart beats when you are at rest can be an indicator of heart attack risk. In fact, higher resting heart rates have been linked to an increased risk of sudden death. The good news is that eating fish can lower your heart rate. In a Harvard Medical School study, people who ate five or more servings per month of fish such as tuna or salmon (baked or broiled) averaged 3.2 fewer beats per minute than those who ate less than one serving per month. Researches credit the omega-3 fatty acids in fish.

Fish Prose

“The fact is I simply adore fish, But I don’t know a perch from a pike;
And I can’t tell a cray from a crawfish; They look and they taste so alike.”
–William Cole

Seafood & Fish Food Facts

  • Try not to eat the skin or fat on fish. Most contaminants will be found in these areas.
  • Tea Broth Wash: Tea broth refers to the liquid that remains after tea leaves have been discarded. When cooled, tea broth is excellent for washing fish in as it removes both the odor and the sliminess. Boiling whole small fish in tea broth makes the flesh more tender.
  • If you marinate fish, always do it in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Fish deteriorate very quickly at room temperature.
  • A “packed under federal inspection” (PUFI) label on he package means that the seafood has been processed and packaged in the presence of a federal inspector.
  • To steam fish, place the fish in a microwave-safe (plain, no colored design) paper towel. Moisten under water and microwave for about five minutes.
  • Eskimo women cook salmon in a dishwasher. The salmon is steamed in your very own dishwasher – but you do have to have a dishwasher that has a drying cycle. Since I was challenged on this method – and don’t blame anyone! – here is a quick explanation as to how our beloved Eskimo cook their salmon in their dishwasher(s). This steaming method was originally developed by Eskimo women and was highlighted at Montreal’s Expo in 1967.
    • Wrap a 3 to 4 pound piece of salmon in tin foil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, if desired. Double or triple wrap with the foil. Place the tightly wrapped salmon on the top rack of your dishwasher, close and run the washer on the regular, or normal cycle. That’s it!
    • If desired, serve up with some balsamic vinegar, on greens with fresh pineapple and/or avocado pieces, or top off with a lemon vinaigrette.
  • Fish should be labeled Grade A.
  • If you see a seafood product with USG Inspected on the label, it is not an authorized designation.
  • Petrale Sole is considered to be the highest quality fish for eating in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Always cook fish at a low to moderate temperature to retain the moisture and preserve the tenderness. Never more than 350 degrees.
  • If you doubt the freshness of a fish, place it in cold water. If it floats (or swims away) it has recently been caught.
  • Thaw frozen fish in milk. The milk draws out the frozen taste and provides a fresh caught flavor.
  • If you soak oysters in club soda for about five minutes, they are usually more easily removed from the shells.
  • You should refrain from tasting meat, poultry or fish until the cooking has been completed. Parasites may not be dead and infestations have been known to occur from partially cooked fish especially.
  • Consumption of seafood in the United States has risen considerably; contamination is a cause of serious concern to many.
  • Depending on the species, 11 to 27 percent of the total fat in fish and shellfish is saturated. This can be compared to 37 percent in pork and 48 percent in most beef.
  • If you are going to the Caribbean, Florida or Hawaii and plan on eating tropical fish, it would be best to call the fish safety hotline (look up in the respective area phone book or online) to help you avoid ciguatera poisoning. They can tell you the current fish with problems.
  • Eating raw shellfish may cause viral and bacterial diseases. Most problems have been caused by shellfish caught in sewage polluted waters on the East Coast.
  • A regular course of fish three to four times a week will help keep you supplied with essential nucleic acids, DNA and RNA.
  • Due to contamination of fish in general, pregnant woman should not eat fish of any type more than twice per week.
  • A single 3-1/2 ounce serving of natural skinless and boneless sardines is higher in calcium and phosphorus than a glass of milk. Sardines also contain vitamin D to assist the calcium in working properly.
  • A 100 gram serving of sardines provides up to 53 percent of your minimum requirement of protein. More than the same weight of T-bone steak.
  • New evidence shows that eating as little as one serving of fish per week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • All shellfish are naturally high in sodium.
  • Bonita, a substitute for tuna and swordfish from the Pacific Ocean has been found to contain high levels of PCB’s.
  • A high fish diet may aide in reducing the effects from increased salt intake.
  • Sushi may contain larva of a parasite roundworm. Fish must be cooked to an internal temperature of 140 degrees or frozen for three days at -50 degrees to kill larva. Susceptible fish include: Mackerel, Herring, Squid, Sardines, Bonita, Salmon, Sea Trout and Porgy.
  • A frequent trip to the sushi bar may leave you short of vitamins thiamine and B1. Raw fish contains a substance that destroys these vitamins.
  • White Croakers are one of the most popular fish sold in markets on the west coast. They have been found to contain the highest levels of DDT and PCB’s of any fish.
  • The safest fish to eat are halibut, sole, skipjack tuna, commercially raised trout and turbot.
  • Since most people do not eat large amounts of fish on a daily basis, the levels of contaminants that are consumed are negligible, and therefore you should not give up eating fish.
  • Mollusks, Clams and Oysters are filter feeders and may build up concentrations of any toxins present in water.
  • Hepatitis has increased recently, resulting from shellfish caught in areas contaminated by human sewage. Cook all shellfish for protection against contaminants.
  • Shellfish live by filtering 15 to 20 gallons of water a day.
  • Sixty-percent of all fish eaten in the United States comes from 116 foreign countries, many of which have poor sanitation conditions. Only five percent are actually inspected by the USDA.
  • Fish that feed on the bottom of lakes, such as carp, and high fat fish such as bluefish and bass, have a higher incidence of contamination than others.
  • Cooking fish removes many of the contaminants which are usually found in the fat.
  • Clams and oysters are simple to open, if first washed with cold water, then placed into a plastic bag and kept in the freezer for one-half hour.
  • Throw away any clams that do not open when steamed or boiled. They are dead and probably contaminated.
  • Clams may also be dropped into boiling water and let stand for a few minutes. This will relax their muscle and make them easier to open with a knife or beer can opener.

General Guidelines for Eating Fish

  • When choosing saltwater fish, try to have two servings of fish such as tuna and salmon each week.
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. These contain the highest levels of methyl mercury. Shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or farm-raised fish are better options.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked seafood unless you are certain the items are fresh and from a reliable source.

Guidelines from the Department of Natural Resources for eating fish:

  • Women beyond childbearing years and men may eat unlimited panfish such as bluegill, sunfish, crappie and perch and one meal a week of walleye, northern pike, catfish, sturgeon and bass.
  • Women of childbearing years, nursing mothers and children under 15 should eat no more than one meal a week of panfish and one meal a month of walleye, northern pike and other lake fish listed above.
  • Choose farm-raised fish whenever possible to avoid contamination.

Guidelines for storing and cooking fish and seafood

  • Fish and shellfish should be stored between 32 and 38 degrees for fresh and zero to 10 degrees for frozen.
  • When storing fish, always wrap the fish or kept it in airtight, moisture-proof packages.
  • Fresh fish should be used within one to two days; frozen fish should be used within one to six months.
  • If fish smells like fish, it is not at its best. Fish should have no smell and, when cooked, should produce no odor in the kitchen.
  • Fish should not be over cooked (the ideal is flaky, just shy of translucent), but it should not be undercooked either (bloody at the bone or actually translucent).

Seafood Safety

  • Know your seafood seller
  • Purchase Seafood Carefully
  • Keep Seafood’s Cold
  • Keep “Live” shellfish “Alive”
  • Refrigerate Live Shellfish Properly
  • Don’t Cross-Contaminate
  • Cook Seafood Thoroughly
  • Never refreeze previously frozen seafood
  • Freeze Fish Before Making Sashimi, Sushi, Ceviche, Gravlaz, or Cold-Smoked Fish
  • Cook fresh fish within two days.
  • Rinse seafood in cold water to remove surface bacteria.
  • The safest way to defrost seafood is in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
  • Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator, not on the countertop.
  • If a slightly opened clam, oyster, or mussel doesn’t shut when tapped upon, discard it.
  • Fresh shellfish should be alive when purchased.

Mercury Madness

The Food and Drug Administration warns that certain fish are high in mercury. These include:

  • King mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish

Tuna is one of the most popular foods on grocery store shelves that contains mercury. Back in 2000, the FDA drafted advisories for focus groups to warn women not to eat a lot of canned tuna during pregnancy. This is because the tuna contains levels of mercury that can harm developing fetuses and nursing babies. In March 2004, the FDA and the EPA issued the first ever joint advisory on this topic which was titled, “What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish”.

Until the 1950’s, the potential problems from excessive mercury intake were not well-known. At that time, an epidemic hit fishermen and their families in villages on Japan’s Minamata Bay. People whose ate primarily seafood showed signs of brain damage; some were even fatally stricken with disease and seizures. The investigation linked the health problems to methylmercury poisoning from a local chemical plant that was discharging organic mercury into the bay. (Source: PBS)

Recommendations ‘Round the World’

  • Health Canada has advised consumers to limit consumption of swordfish, shark or fresh and frozen tuna to one meal per week. Young children and women of child-bearing age, are recommendeded a limit of one meal per month.
  • Britain’s Food Standards Agency is advises pregnant and breastfeeding women and women who intend to become pregnant to limit consumption of tuna to no more than two medium size cans or one fresh tuna steak per week.
  • In the United States, women are hearing different advice from different sources, especially where tuna is concerned.

Notable Note: If you are going to the Caribbean, Florida or Hawaii and plan on eating tropical fish, it would be best to call the fish safety hotline (look up in the respective area phone book or online) to help you avoid ciguatera poisoning. They can tell you the current fish with problems.

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