Jan.15.2021 440

How to clean a fish?

how to clean fresh fish

“You can’t easily catch a fish from a pond,” popular wisdom warns. But an experienced hostess will say it the other way: you can’t cook a fish without work! Perhaps no one likes to clean fish. Especially, such as “stubborn” as a pike, perch, or pikeperch. You had successful fishing? Just calm down! You still have time to read our article about how to clean fish before cooking!

How to gut a fish

So, most fish, though not all, have scales, which should be removed first. It is convenient to use a fish peeler or a special cutting board, but if they are not available, use the blunt side of a knife blade or the handle of a spoon. A grater is also suitable for cleaning fish.

The fins and tail can be cut off with scissors. However, it can be done later, during gutting.


  • It is better not to torture a live fish but to kill it at once. This can be done by hitting it on the head with a hammer or by making an incision just under the head, between the two pectoral fins, and then letting the blood out.
  • Thaw frozen fish at room temperature. It is not necessary to let it thaw completely – this way will be easier to gutting a fish.


  • To prevent the fish from slipping out of your hands, dip your fingers in coarse salt. If you have sensitive skin or wounds on your hands, you can use a napkin or kitchen towel.

Useful tip: To make holding the fish more comfortable, try putting a pencil in its mouth.

Don’t squeeze the fish too hard so as not to damage the flesh!

  • The fish should be cleaned from the tail to the head, “against the hair”, holding it by the tail under the stream of water, which prevents the scales from flying in all directions.

Useful tip: Be very careful, otherwise you will have to clean the whole kitchen from scales – and that, to tell you the truth, is not easy! Better to clean the fish with water – under the faucet or in a basin. Another way: put the fish in a transparent cellophane bag.

  • Now turn the fish on the other side and repeat the procedure.
  • Once the fish is cleaned of scales, rinse it under a stream of cool water.
  • Congratulations! The first step is done – let’s cut it.

Easy way to clean fish

how to clean fresh caught fish
  • It is best to clean the fish while it is still soft, moist, and not weathered. So get down to business as soon as you bring the “catch” home.
  • But if the fish has been in the refrigerator without a lid for a few hours, it will be harder to clean it!
  • Fish scales come off much easier if you dip the fish in boiling water or hold it in cold water with a little vinegar. It is especially true for crucian carp, perch, and other fish with fine scales. For large fish, with strong sales, this method is not very suitable.
  • On large fish, make 5-6 oblique cuts against the scales before cleaning – this will make your work a little easier.


Because fish spoils quickly, the insides are usually removed immediately after the catch – right on the fishing boat. Did you get a whole fish? Then do it right after scaling.

  • Remove the fins and tail if you haven’t done so before. To remove the large dorsal fin, make a longitudinal cut on both sides and grip it with a paper towel. Be careful as the fin can be sharp – if you grab it with your bare hands, there is a great chance of hurting yourself!
  • Squeeze the fish (or hold it against the table with one hand) and cut its belly. Try not to touch the gallbladder with the knife, otherwise, the fish dish will be bitter! (Did it happen though? Quickly rub salt on the soiled areas, or just cut them off).
  • Remove the insides. There shouldn’t be any black film left!
  • Carefully scrape inside and wash the cavity with cold water to remove blood and guts.
  • Put all unnecessary tripe in a cellophane bag, tie it up, and throw it in a trash garbage can. This way, you can avoid the unpleasant smell.

If you are going to cook the fish with the head, remove the gills. To do this, use your finger to pry them from the inside and pull with force. Or use scissors to cut the gills on both sides.

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