Tilapia is a fish that has increased quite a bit in popularity over the past few years. This clean, white fish that is often sold in fillets and is great fried or grilled. Now, quite a few people in Trinidad carry it. We get a lot of questions on the Tilapia seen in other stores, and in particular a ‘big warehouse store’, so hopefully this will help provide everyone with the same explanation on why the two are different (and why our’s is better :).
Tilapia is usually sold two different ways, but almost always in fillets (no bone/no skin). One way is IQF or Individually Quick Frozen. This means that after the fish is processed it’s sent through a freezer on a conveyor belt. This freezes the fish and allows it to remain separated in a bag. If you were to just throw the fish into a bag and freeze it, all the fillets would be stuck together. So IQF products allow them to remain individual and freeze properly. The only thing with some IQF products, like Tilapia, is when constant frozen air hits a delicate meat like fish, it creates freezer burn very quickly. To prevent, manufacturers almost always adds what they call a ‘glaze’ to their IQF products. A glaze (usually just water, but sometimes other preservatives) is sprayed onto the fish fillets as soon as they begin to freeze. Other times, the items are dipped into a big bin of the solution. This layer of water freezes immediately onto the product creating a ‘shell’. This water shell on the product increases the amount of time the fish can remain in the freezer. If you purchase IQF fillets from other stores you may have noticed a label on the product that reads “Glazed” or “Glaze Product”. If you haven’t noticed, check for it next time.
We don’t like selling glazed products, so we don’t carry them. Aside from adding something other than fish to the product, you are increasing it’s weight with water. Kind of like the guys that drive around neighborhoods in West Moorings selling shrimp out of the back of their trucks. When you drain off the water out of the bag, you quickly notice how much water you bought for the price of shrimp. If people are buying fish, we want them to pay for fish, not water. Getting home and hearing your grill sizzle as water leaks from your meat is no fun.
Our tilapia comes individually vacuum packed. This means that each fillet has been vacuum sealed in a plastic pouch. The fish is then separated by it’s packaging when frozen, rather than a water solution. This also means that each of our tilapia fillets can be used individually, as each one is packaged as it’s own fillet. No added water weight and your fish tastes like fish, not odd water. We like to leave the ‘glazing’ up to you.
So, hopefully this helps clear up some questions on the differences in the Blooms Tilapia and the other products on the market.