You buy some fish at the store, toss it in the fridge and forget about it for a few days — until a very distinct smell reminds you that it's there. Don't toss it out just yet. It's still edible and there's a few ways to make it smell and taste more appealing. In this video from the Reactions YouTube channel, you'll learn how to de-stink your fish with a little chemistry. That "fishy" smell that's invading your nostrils is caused by trimethylamine (TMA), an organic compound. Here are three ways to cancel its effects so your fish becomes appetising again:
- Wash it with cold water: If the fish has only recently started to smell, a quick rinse in cold water — not hot water — will remove most of the bacteria and TMA. Rinse, pat dry with a paper towel and cook.
- Soak it in milk: Casein, a protein found in milk, will bind to the TMA and leave the fish smelling fresh as ever. Let the fish soak for 20 minutes or so, and you're ready to cook.
- Use acid: TMA is basic, so an acid will react with it leaving behind acid salt and water — neither of which smell or taste bad. So cook your fish in an acidic liquid, like a vinegar-based mix, squirt it with lemon juice before cooking or dunk it in an acidic sauce, like tartar sauce.
As long as it hasn't fully spoiled, your fish will taste as fresh as when you bought it after you remove the TMA and cook it up.