Often we buy farmed freshwater fish from the supermarket, but sometimes it has a "muddy" dirt note to the flavour. Nearly always with barramundi.

Is there a way to remove this flavour?

Already I have tried to cover it with stronger flavours (like grilling (broiling) with 50:50 miso + mayonnaise on top... drool). This is only partially successful.

2 Answers 2


Usually the muddy flavor is from farmed fish that grow up in overly polluted water, although that's not always the case. But that does suggest that you might be able to prevent the muddy flavor by finding barramundi from a different provider.

Soaking the fish filet in a mix of water/vinegar, water/salt, water/soda, or in milk are all suggested ways to reduce the muddy flavor. However, none of these seem to work reliably, especially if you're soaking fish that is already a couple of days old by the time you buy it.

Beyond that, the only solution is to cook the fish in very strong-flavored sauces that will cover up the taste.

  • 2
    2-Methylisoborneol! Delicious! /s
    – Kingsley
    Oct 30, 2023 at 23:22
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    @user21820 "Polluted" is perhaps not the clearest term. FuzzyChef is talking about high levels of algae in the water, not heavy metals or anything. It's not a matter of safety.
    – Sneftel
    Oct 31, 2023 at 10:28
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    @Sneftel: Thanks, then maybe a better word is "dirtied". On the other hand, it's not just algae; this happens when fish are over-crowded with no water flow, causing leftover food and fish feces to accumulate. I don't know whether that affects the consumers...
    – user21820
    Oct 31, 2023 at 10:54
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    @user21820 It's not a food safety concern.
    – Sneftel
    Oct 31, 2023 at 11:15
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    Yeah, I didn't want to get into "this can be because of natural mud and algae, but it can also be caused by agricultural runoff or feces" because that's a whole long discussion, and doesn't really answer the question.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 31, 2023 at 17:51

If you can get live fish then you can keep it in clean fresh water for a day or so, or at least overnight (it also depends on the size of the fish). My first husband was a keen angler and he often brought carp or catfish home (quite remarkable monsters weighing 10 or more kg). We used to fill a tub in our second bathroom and let the water slowly flow. A carp or catfish will survive a car ride home if wrapped in a wet blanket or kept in a barrel. I know it is not very practical, but it worked for us.

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