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June 3, 2023

Why Does Seafood Smell Fishy? Exploring the Science Behind the Aroma

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Seafood is a famous type of cuisine that captures the attention of a number of people all around the world. There are a number of dishes made out of different seafood. You might have tasted the flavor of delicious seafood dishes at least once in your lifetime for sure. But, have you ever wondered why seafood smells fishy? And does that smell ever reduce your appetite? No matter whether your answer is yes or no, through this article we hope to relieve the secret behind the fishy smell of seafood and different techniques you can follow to reduce the fishy aroma from seafood. 

The Culinary Delight of Seafood

Different countries in the world hold a uniqueness for the culinary in their countries. The cuisine in each country is powered by traditional and cultural values. Seafood is one of the major types of cuisine in most of the countries in the world. The coastal areas in most countries are well-known for seafood, as they have easy access to fresh seafood resources. There is a large array of different seafood species and a wide range of different seafood cooking methods. Seafood is believed to provide a number of nutrients that are essential for your body. Therefore, adding seafood to your meals will enable you to have a nutritious diet. 

Unveiling the Source of the Odor

Fresh seafood has a slight salty odor, and after a considerable time of capturing seafood (probably after a day or two), it starts to release an aroma, which is basically what we know as the fishy smell. The reason behind the fishy aroma of all kinds of seafood lies in the chemistry of them. Simply, it can be explained as a natural process of decay.

The saltiness in ocean water is about three percent by its weight, but the minimum level of dissolved minerals inside an animal cell is considered to be one percent. Therefore, in order to maintain a balanced fluidic environment between inside and outside the cells, the ocean creatures are filling their cells with amino acids and amines. It is a gift of nature, which helps them to counter the saltiness of the salt water. Ocean fish and other ocean creatures produce trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) inside their cells for this purpose. 

After capturing ocean creatures as seafood, it automatically stops producing TMAO, and different bacteria and fish enzymes start to convert the remaining TMAO into Trimethylamine (TMA). As a result of this conversion process, the seafood starts to release an aroma, which is known in general as a fishy odor. Therefore, it is important to understand that the fishy aroma of all the seafood is a result of a natural chemical reaction.

Freshness Matters

As mentioned earlier, fresh seafood does not have a smell, other than a slight salt smell. The chemical reaction occurs with the activation of enzymes and it takes some time to release the fishy smell. Therefore, this smell can be used as a general freshness determination of fish and other seafood items. Microbial growth and enzyme functionality in the seafood items enhance this fishy aroma over time. It is essential to use seafood items in their fresh stage, to have a pleasant dining experience. Also, it is essential to maintain proper handling and storage mechanisms to preserve seafood for a long time, without getting disturbed by the pungent smell it releases over time. 

Cooking Methods and Odor

Since ancient times, people have used several techniques and methods to reduce and minimize the fishy aroma of seafood and enhance appetite. There are a number of seafood cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, frying, and many more. Some of those methods enhance the fishy aroma of seafood while others reduce the aroma. Therefore, it is essential to use the correct techniques to prepare seafood dishes.  

Most of the time, the different ingredients used to taste seafood, including spices, are playing a major role in minimizing the fishy aroma in seafood. Lime and other acid-based marinades have the power to minimize the fishy aroma of seafood and also it can be used to eliminate the odor of the tools that are used to cook seafood. Using different aromatic garnishing items, and infusing dishes can also enhance the appetite for seafood. Different countries and cultures have their own traditional or custom methods of preparing seafood dishes while embracing the original essence of seafood. 

Conclusion

Seafood is one of the most demanding types of cuisine all over the world. Many people love to try different seafood dishes, as they have the power to turn on the taste buds of anyone. Even though some people don’t like the fishy aroma in seafood items, it is important to understand that aroma is a result of natural chemical reactions. There are a number of ways you can follow to reduce the fishy odor of seafood. Seafood can add a bunch of nutrients to your meals. So, try to select fresh seafood and follow useful methods to reduce the fishy odor to enhance the appetite for seafood.

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