Besides a complete cooking like frying, baking, BBQ or smoking is there any other way to prepare freshwater fish that would render it safe to eat in a sushi type application?

  • 1
    I'm curious about the answer to this question..everything I've ever heard is that freshwater fish should never be eaten raw because of all of the microbes/parasites. And in the US, at least, there are a lot of places where you're not supposed to eat fish that you catch because the water has so many pollutants. If it were me, I'd stay away from raw freshwater fish, but maybe someone has evidence that it's safe to do so.
    – Laura
    Jan 4, 2012 at 20:41

3 Answers 3


Other than catching it deep in the ocean, probably not.

The closer to land the fish is caught, the more likely it is to be carrying parasites. You can flash freeze fish to kill the parasites, but it is virtually impossible to achieve temperatures that low with noncommercial equipment.

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    It's not actually necessary to flash freeze, that just lowers the required freezing time. You could probably reach the required -20° C with just dry ice, although, frankly, it would be a lot easier to just order sashimi fish from a distributor.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 4, 2012 at 23:32
  • Your blanket statement on small species and freshwater fish is not globally correct
    – TFD
    Jan 5, 2012 at 11:49
  • @TFD Thanks for the feedback, but I don't believe I was making a "blanket statement." It's more a matter of likelihood, hence the use of the language "more likely." Freshwater and near-shore saltwater fish tend to live in environments that have more parasites living in them than do deep water saltwater fish.
    – Sean Hart
    Jan 5, 2012 at 14:35
  • Sorry, blanket is probably a too strong a word
    – TFD
    Jan 5, 2012 at 22:28
  • The FDA recommends freezing at -4F (-20 C) for 7 days, but they note that this does not kill all types of pathogens (fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/SafePracticesforFoodProcesses/…). Aug 16, 2014 at 19:30

In many** parts of the world, fresh water fish, and small species coastal fish are perfectly fine to eat raw without further processing

Check with your local government food standards department on the water and fish quality where you live

** By land area, not by population. In most heavily populated areas you cannot eat fresh fish, or coastal fish raw

  • Depends a bit on what you are used to eating also. A lot of locals drink the water - but if I tried that I would most likely get sick., Oh, and there are also variations in the fish. Some types are safer than others (both saltwater and fresh).
    – Ruz
    Jan 5, 2012 at 17:46
  • @Ruz OP didn't mention travelling, so assuming they are a local! Variations, yes, that's why I posted the "check with local govt. food standards" etc?
    – TFD
    Jan 5, 2012 at 22:14

I wouldn't recommend trying, really. It's safest to just cook the fish.

Curing with lots of salt (as in gravlax) or acid (as in ceviche) would take care of most bacteria. Freezing at a very low temperature (0°F) for 24 hours can kill most parasites, but home freezers cannot get cold enough. If the fish was previously (and industrially) frozen, you might be able to use it in a ceviche preparation. Just don't send me the hospital bill.

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