Demystifies Sashimi Quality Seafood
Posted: Oct 10 2016
Both sushi and sashimi have an enormous following in North America. Unlike sushi, which is traditionally made with raw fish but can be made with a variety of alternative ingredients, sashimi always involves raw fish. Unfortunately, many otherwise adventurous diners can’t bring themselves to even try sashimi, which is a shame. When the fish is exquisitely fresh and served with just the right seasonings and condiments, sashimi-quality raw fish is a culinary dream. Each bite offers a mild, exhilarating flavor and texture that combine to create a delightful burst of delicate savor—the very thing that keeps sushi and sashimi lovers coming back for more.
Many non-Japanese use the terms sashimi and sushi interchangeably, but the two dishes are distinct and separate. The fundamental differences between sushi and sashimi are often blurred in Western cultures, and here we’re going to demystify the terminology and provide you with some clarification on the terms “sushi” grade and “sashimi” grade, and what those labels actually mean to consumers.
Let’s start with the basics.
Despite popular misconceptions, sushi is not synonymous with raw fish. The word “sushi” actually refers to the traditional Japanese vinegared rice used to make sushi. Sushi rice is generally a short grain rice that, when prepared under traditional Japanese methods, is slightly sweet, polished and glossy
Sushi rice is a short-grain rice that, when cooked, is starchier and stickier than long-grain rice. Sushi rice is often wrapped around small pieces of raw, pickled, or sometimes cooked fish, and may include vegetables and other ingredients that appeal to a wide range of diners.
Sushi can also be prepared with the vinegared rice rolled inside nori (seaweed), or molded into fingers of sushi rice topped with fish and other ingredients, such as fresh vegetables.
Sashimi, which translates to “thin slices,” refers to the actual raw fish. Freshness is critical to sashimi’s flavor and safety. If you’re out for a meal involving sushi or sashimi, venture only to the most reputable restaurants and sushi bars to feed your craving, where you won’t have to worry about whether the fish is less than super-fresh. If you’re not completely sure of the freshness of the sashimi being served, take a pass.
Sashimi is traditionally served with wasabi, grated daikon radish and pickled ginger to cleanse the palate. It can also be served with soy sauce on small sushi rice beds.
The terms "sushi-grade" and "sashimi-grade" were created to denote the types of seafood that can be safely consumed in raw form. However, since there are no clear FDA parameters enforced to guarantee the freshness of raw fish marked “sushi” grade or “sashimi” grade, these labels can’t always be trusted. For this reason, the FDA requires all fish eaten raw to be frozen first.
When it comes to enjoying raw fish in either sushi or sashimi form, diners are at the mercy of the person preparing it. Be aware of the freezing conditions of the fish in question. When it’s intended to be eaten raw, fish needs to have been frozen for seven days at -4 degrees Fahrenheit, or flash frozen for 15 hours at -31 degrees. Check for any of warning signs that the fish you’re being served is less than fresh, like a yellowish or pearly rainbow discolorations, dull flesh, or a “fishy” odor.
Fish For Sushi offers a safe alternative to finding true “sashimi” quality tuna, delivered to your door. Caught using long line methods only far out in Pacific waters to minimize impact on the environment and other species, Fish For Sushi’s bigeye, yellowfin, and bluefin tuna contain no artificial enhancements—no smoke treatments, no carbon monoxide treatments and no additives. And when it’s delivered to your door, it comes with all the freshness it had when it was first caught.
Fish for Sushi’s tuna sashimi is SQF Level 3 certified, which means it adheres to Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 Certification food safety standards provided by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a globally trusted, recognized and accepted food safety and quality program. SQF 2000 – Level 3 is the most stringent and highest-level certification awarded by SQFI.
SQF Level 3 Certification’s provides Fish For Sushi customers and consumers with the peace of mind of knowing the product they are eating comes from a consistently safe and high quality sources all the way through the food supply chain.
Here’s how Fish For Sushi does it: Beginning on the tuna boats far out in the ocean, fitted with state-of-the-art super-freezing equipment, our tuna is gilled, gutted and immediately placed in the super-freezer, which suspends natural decomposition.
Within 20 hours’ post-catch, Fish For Sushi tuna is frozen to -76 F, and remains stored at -76 F until it's ready to be delivered to your door. Super-frozen tuna captures the freshness of the just-caught fish, and has the added benefit of killing natural parasites that are found in all fresh fish.
Upon ordering our top quality super-frozen sashimi, it is vacuum-sealed and shipped at the precise temperature to ensure freshness upon delivery. We also have instructions for properly defrosting your super-frozen tuna. Your Fish for Sushi sashimi will arrive within 48 hours, super-frozen, ready to defrost and enjoy.
In Japan, where most tuna is consumed, 80 percent of the tuna served in homes and restaurants is super-frozen. It's simply the best method for delivering safe, superior quality tuna.
Conventional freezing methods typically require preservatives or other treatments to maintain or enhance the tuna’s color, which is otherwise degraded due to oxidization.
Bringing great quality fish to the market is a matter of good fishing practices, selection and proper handling. Fish For Sushi adheres to these practices, and the quality of our seafood reflects it.