A common misconception is that frozen seafood doesn’t taste as fresh as “fresh” fish. From our firsthand experience importing fresh products in the past, we realized that the process to offer real quality fresh seafood is very delicate and not as efficient as we wanted, but through decades of experience and exhaustive research we realized there was a way to avoid all the downsides and offer higher quality products: Flash-Freezing!
Different from regular freezing that takes a couple hours to gradually lower the temperature until reaching the freezing point, during Flash-Freezing the product is frozen within minutes. This technique prevents ice crystals forming in the cells, which can damage the cell structures and reduce their chances of being functional when it is thawed.
NETUNO’S FLASH FROZEN VS FRESH
From ocean to table, the decomposition process immediately starts at sea and won’t stop until the product is either frozen or cooked. To delay this process as much as possible, seafood is put on ice after being caught and/or processed (cleaned, filleted) and stays on ice the entire time it is transported before arriving to your hands. This entire process can take days or even weeks for market “Fresh” Fish.
At sea for 1-7 Days. Most of our boats are day boats that return to the plant the same day. Some NETUNO products are even frozen on board.
At Sea for 1-4 days. Fresh fish is put on ice until it can be taken to the processing plant for packing and shipping.
Processing 1-2 days. Fish is cleaned and filleted (when applicable), then immediately flash frozen and packed for shipment. Freezing stops the decomposition process within days of being caught.
Processing 1-2 days. Fish is packed and prepared for shipment.
Arrives via shipping container in about 4-6 weeks. Fish arrives at the import house and is stored in a freezer until it is sold to a distributor. The shelf life of NETUNO products is 24 months as long as it remains frozen.
Arrives via air shipment in about 1-2 Days. Fish arrives at the import house and is stored on ice. Since this fish has been decomposing for several days already, this product must be sold within 1-2 days.
Distributor receives the product with a shelf life of 22-23 months remaining to sell to their restaurant customers.
Distributor receives the product and must sell it to restaurants within 1-2 days at best to maximize the shelf life of the fish.
Restaurant purchases frozen products from distributor and has months of shelf life to decide when to use. Individually packed items allow for less waste since kitchens will only use what is needed. When the product is properly thawed, it is as fresh as the day it was frozen.
Restaurant purchases fresh product from the distributor and must use it immediately. At this point in the process, the fish has been decomposing on ice for at least 5 days. In most cases, it’s longer. Whatever isn’t sold is discarded, creating waste.
Flash-Freezing preserves the cells integrity when the product is at its freshest point and ensures a much smoother thawing process that, if done right, will maintain the quality and nutritional value of the product from the moment it was frozen.
At NETUNO, we flash-freeze our products in specialized factories immediately after arriving from the coastlines, like you can see here with our Red Snappers. Some products, like our whole lobsters, are frozen on board. Our flash-frozen products ensure maximum freshness preservation and will keep that way until you’re ready to use it. We offer some tips below for working with frozen seafood to help you get the best flavor and texture from your frozen seafood products.
- Do keep products frozen until you are ready to use them.
- Do remove from bag and defrost under refrigeration for 4-6 hours or until fully thawed.
- Do pat dry with a paper towel before use.
- Do use the products within 24 hours of thawing.
- Don’t leaving soaking in water.
- Don’t thaw in the bag. It will soak in its own moisture.
- Don’t refreeze. The cold chain breaks down when thawing and decomposition resumes. The integrity of the quality diminishes the second time around.