5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Eat More Seafood (and Love It)
While it's widely agreed that fish is delicious and good for us (looking at you, Omega-3s), trying to find great seafood can be a bigger challenge. Especially if you're trying to get ethically and sustainably sourced product.
If you're lucky enough to live near water, you've got your local fishing community and markets to lean on (not to mention inspire you), but what about the landlocked of us? Can we trust our grocery store fish case? Should we?
Thank goodness that a growing number of seafood delivery companies are filling the fish gap—giving us choice outside the overfished species, providing transparency about how and where your seafood was farmed or caught, and bringing it straight to your door. In other words, with a little planning, you can get super healthy seafood into your family's diet for a reasonable price and be sure you're bringing them the catch of the day. Here are 5 great ways to incorporate more fish into your regular meals, and some brands that can help us get it done!
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1. Stock up cans, tins, and more!
The pandemic quarantine may have already jump-started the addition of shelf-stable seafood in your pantry, but if not, it's time to roll these items into your rotation.
What to buy: I like Wild Planet Foods for its collection of shelf-stable cans, jars, and flat packs of things like tuna, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. You can order online or use the store finder if you're up for a little IRL shopping (I found their products at 7 different stores within a two-mile radius of my house).
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2. Expand your view of frozen fish
Frozen is not just about fish sticks (although there's nothing wrong with those). Frozen fish is the next terrific option for being able to increase your seafood intake. Stocking your freezer with easy portions of fish means that you can have fish whenever you like, not just when you remember to buy it fresh. Many companies are able to either ship direct to you or you can source their products right in your freezer aisle.
What to buy: One of my favorite brands to keep stocked for my everyday fish consumption is Blue Circle Foods. You can usually find their products at grocers like Whole Foods Market or just browse and order online! I love the variety: frozen raw products for use in recipes, smoked salmon for brunching, and pre-cooked portions that make adding fish to your diet as simple as thaw and eat (these are especially great for adding to salads at lunchtime). They even offer fun fish-shaped fish patties that will make your kids excited about eating fish! If you order direct, you can get free shipping with purchases over $60.
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For something a bit more special, PureFish is my go-to. Once a restaurant provider, the company now sells direct to consumers, and the quality is second to none. The fish and shellfish options are packaged in super-frozen, vacuum-sealed trays that serve two people, and you order by picking a pre-set box or build your own custom version! A box costs $250, which is not inexpensive, but each box contains 16 generous portions of premium seafood, so you are averaging less than $16 per portion. These fish, like Chilean sea bass and sushi-grade white albacore tuna steaks, can cost as much as $35 per pound or more when sourced at a fishmonger, so while you are making an up-front investment, the value is actually amazing. And you don't have to subscribe, just order a new box as needed. The frozen trays stack neatly in your freezer or fit on the door, so they don't take up too much room. All shipping is 2-day and always free.
3. Order local specialties from the source
Some of the best seafood in the country comes from Maine: lobsters (of course), clams, and oysters, but also salmon, groundfish, and even seaweed for salads and cooking. Another famed spot for delicious seafood is Alaska—is there really any other place to enjoy salmon? Take advantage of freezing and shipping technologies to enjoy these delights from the source.
What to buy: Many Maine purveyors sell through local retailers like Costco, Whole Foods, or other chains, or can ship direct. Check out the full variety of what is available to you on the new Maine Seafood website. If you love salmon, consider a Sitka Salmon Share. This monthly subscription will get the best of Alaskan seafood right to your door, for as little as $119/month for a five-pound box. They also have an option to shop their freezer for a la carte options if you want to test their products before committing.
4. Explore new types of seafood the easy way
Want to try new types of fish or shellfish, but feel intimidated at the fish counter? Online ordering from the right kind of companies takes all that stress away!
What to buy: Know Seafood is a great option for seafood browsing and experimentation. You can buy as few as two 6-ounce portions of a fish, or a box of 21 portions and pretty much anything in between. Always ships free over $99, and you can currently get $20 off your first purchase over $99.
5. Get restaurant seafood classics straight to your door
Miss travel? Miss restaurants? You can actually order up classic dishes from famed seafood spots in the country. They do the cooking and you get to take the credit at the dinner table. It's a win win.
What to buy: Goldbelly is a genius company that works with great purveyors, so you browse online and order up seafood treats from famed fish markets like Pike's Place or Fulton Fish Market. Try a Lowcountry shrimp boil, clam bake, lobster roll kit, or Louisiana crawfish pot. It's all deliciously easy.