Imagine suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain while you are out in nature. Seems scary right? Well, these are the symptoms of food poisoning from eating spoiled fish.
Fish is a risky food when it comes to camping because it goes bad quickly. But who said you should stop enjoying your favorite fish dishes while camping?
You just need to know the right way to pack the fish and some tips to keep in mind to keep it fresh.
This article covers all from general tips to remember how to smartly pack your fish, to how to tell your fish has gone bad? We have got you covered.
Let’s get into it. Shall we?
How To Pack Fish For Camping? 6 Tried And Tested Ways
The packaging is the key to keep your fish fresh while camping. Fish can go bad very easily as it contains bacterial content on it.
Seafood is tricky to store as we need to maintain its temperature to keep it in a good condition.
You can carry your fish bought from a fish market or you can always go fishing while you are on the trip, if you wish to. Fishing is also a fun activity to enjoy while camping.
These ways will help you to pack your fish more efficiently.
1. Use A Fish Cooler
This is the traditional way to keep your food fresh while venturing out. Fish coolers are specialized coolers with highly insulated walls and other specialized features to keep your fish fresh. There are various fish coolers available online.
The features involve-
- Taped sealed and secure clips
- Thick insulated
- Waterproof liners
- Waterproof zippers
- Some models keep ice compact up to 24 hours
- Keeps moisture inside
2. Layer Your Fish With Ice
Stuffing all the ice and fish haphazardly in the cooler is not the correct way to store fish with ice. You need to follow a proper technique to ensure the correct packing of your fish. Otherwise, there are consequences.
The correct way is:
- put a layer of crushed ice in the bottom of the cooler.
- Lay the fish on the ice and then cover it with another layer of ice.
- Keep repeating this step until the cooler is full.
3. Store With Dry Ice
Dry ice storage is also very effective in keeping your fish cool. The temperature around fish is very important to maintain its freshness. Below is the right technique to follow when storing fish in dry ice.
- Keep the dry ice at the bottom of the cooler.
- Lay an insulating paper above the ice.
- Now place your fresh fish on the paper.
Make sure that fish and dry eyes and not in direct contact. direct contact will harm the fish flesh quality. Wrapping dry ice in a newspaper can also work.
Be careful while working with dry ice, don’t forget to wear safety gloves first.
4. Pack It With Moss
Packing with moss might sound gross but is very effective. Sphagnum moss is used to store fish. Since we are working with moss and fish we need to follow proper procedures:
- Clean your fish correctly, and avoid leaving any blood clots in the fish, leave the head on it.
- Soak the moss in fresh cold water please out and spread a three or four in a layer in the bottom of any container cooler.
- Stuff the body cavity of each fish with cold moss.
- Store the pack in shade.
REMEMBER: Don’t let the fish touch each other. It’s very necessary.
5. Always Bleed Your Fish First Before Storing With Ice
It is very important to completely bleed out your fish before you store it or cook it. Blood is good nutrition for bacteria and will facilitate the growth of bacteria rapidly. It reduces the shelf life and value of the fish.
The important area to clean blood from is near the spine. The bacteria find it a good source of food. Property bled fish tastes better than hasn’t been bled properly. It is also a good way to kill fish humanely.
6. Always Get The Gut Of Your Fish Removed
The primary reason to get gut removed is that it’s non-edible. Removing the gut is proven to maintain the freshness of the fish.
Removal of the gut is approved to decrease the rate of spoilage in fish, which eventually increases its shelf life and also nutritional value.
The process of gut removal is very easy but if you have not practiced enough then it would be better if you get a gutted fish from the market.
General Tips To Remember To Help You Keep Your Fish Fresh Longer
These tips are basic rules to prevent your fish to go stale. As we discussed above the symptoms of food poisoning from eating old stale fish.
You should not eat the fish if you see the smallest tinch of the bad condition of the fish.
- Keep a check on the ice if it is still there and fish is not laying in the water. Water will not keep it cool. Ensure fish is cool.
- It’s important to get a gutted fish. Guts are non-edible. Make sure to wash the fish after gutting.
- Super-chilled and properly packed fish can remain fresh for 5 days.
- Saltwater ice or sprinkling salt on ice will slow down the process of melting of ice.
- You went fishing on your own and have the responsibility to clean your fish then do not remove the heads from the fish. It will keep it fresh for a bit longer
- The main objective of packaging is to contain the moisture in the fish flesh and hold out oxygen.
- If you are using aluminum foil, cling wraps, or a ziplock bag to wrap your fish, don’t forget to squeeze out all the air bubbles as much as possible.
- If you catch a fish and let it die slowly out of suffering that would affect the quality of the flash as it stresses out the fish. so it is very human to kill the fish slowly.
- Always remember to kill the fish quickly to maintain the freshness of the flesh.
How To Tell Your Fish Has Gone Bad?
The two major signals to check the freshness of the fish is:
- The flesh should be firm
- The skin should be shiny.
The signals that show that fish has gone bad is:
- The fish turns slimy.
- The flesh looks milky.
- It develops a thick, slippery coating over it.
- It starts smelling fishy.
There is no excuse to eat bad fish as it leads to two types of food poisoning and only the symptoms are enough to ruin your camping experience and health.
Namely, the two types of food poisoning are ciguatera and scombroid. The symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
- Itchy skin
- Numbness of skin
It is very necessary to keep your fish cold, frozen and super-chilled fishes also go a long way. It is not that difficult to keep your fish fresh. But defrosted fish will go bad in 5 days. Also, never do the mistake of leaving the fish with its gut and fins. Let it bleed properly.
I hope these tricks came in handy for you. I think the packaging is the key to keep your fish fresh.
Let us know in the comment section which of these tricks helped you the most.
Until then happy camping!