Tilapia is an inexpensive and nicely mild-flavored fish. It is the fourth most commonly consumed type of seafood in the United States and is a very popular dish in most households.
Many people love tilapia because it is fairly affordable and doesn’t taste overly fishy, which is often why people don’t like seafood.
Originally found in the Nile River, Tilapia might be the oldest farmed fish in the world, with evidence of cultivation happening 2,500 years ago.
Biblical historians say Jesus Christ fed the masses at the Sea of Galilee with tilapia, called St. Peter’s fish, at modern restaurants around the popular pilgrimage destination. Throughout the world, commercial fisheries produce more than 1 billion pounds of tilapia each year.
You can look for boneless, skinless tilapia filets at any grocery store or fish market. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends choosing tilapia raised in indoor recirculating tanks, particularly from the U.S., Canada, or Ecuador, although most varieties farmed around the world earn at least the “good alternative” rating. The seafood-industry watchdog does caution against pond-raised tilapia from China.
What Is Tilapia?
Tilapia actually gets its name from the several different species of fish that belong to the Cichlid family. These are mostly freshwater fish that are found in rivers and lakes.
Though most wild tilapia are antive to Africa, Tilapia is now found in water sources all over the world and is even farmed in over 135 countries.
You could say it is even the perfect fish for farming as it does well in extremely tight environments and doesn’t mind being crowded. It also grows quickly and consumes a mostly vegetarian diet which is relatively cheap when considering most farming costs.
The benefits and disadvantages of tilapia mostly come down to the variation in farming practices and the location that the farming is taking place in.
The largest producer of tilapia in the world is , in fact, China. They produce over 1.6 million tons annually and even supplies the majority of the globe, including the United States with their imports of the fish.
Tilapia is a pretty impressive source of protein. In 3.5 ounces (100 grams), it packs 26 grams of protein and only 128 calories.As tilapia is so rich in protein, it is an excellent source of nutrition.
It is not a particularly fatty fish, so it is very lean and low in calories, this also means it is not quite as rich in other nutrients like omega 3’s. In just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) it packs a whopping 26 grams of protein and is only 128 calories
But even more impressive is the sheer amount of vitamins and minerals in tilapia. It is rich in various vitamins and minerals, including; niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.
How To Store Tilapia To Keep It Fresh
The freshest tilapia tastes the best, so it’s a good idea to cook it the day you bring it home from the store. If you must store it, do so in the coldest part of your refrigerator for a day or two at the most.
The general rule when purchasing tilapia is that the fresher the fish, the better it will taste. So, it is an excellent practice to cook it the same day you bring it home with you. If it does need to be stored and cannot be cooked straight away.
Any good fishmonger would recommend storing your fresh fish on ice. To achieve this effect at home, you can simply pat your filets dry with a paper towel and then place them in a single layer zip lock plastic bag. Make sure you have pressed the bag down until all the air is out before finally sealing the bag.
You can also put a scoop of crushed ice into a colander or even in a bowl or plastic container to place on top of the sealed fish.
If using a colander for the ice, make sure to put a bowl or or pan to catch the water as it melts and drips down. You will then need to store the whole thing in the refrigerator, making sure to refresh the ice as necessary.
Tilapia filets do freeze well, but to prevent freezer burn, it’s best to vacuum-seal them individually then store the packages together in a zip-top plastic freezer bag. If you use plastic wrap, take care to press out any air bubbles.
At What Temperature Is Tilapia Cooked?
The most important question, of course, is at what temperature is tilapia cooked? Well, the short answer, really, is that it is fully done at 145 degrees fahrenheit.
But really, the ultimate answer is that it also really depends on how you’re planning on cooking your tilapia, as it can also be cooked to a slightly lower internal temperature.
Tilapia is a very thin fish, without much fat and so it cooks very quickly. Because of this, it might be wise to take your tilapia off the heat when the internal temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees fahrenheit.
The temperature of the fish will continue to rise after removing it from your oven or stove and this process is known as ‘carry over cooking’.This will ensure that your fish is not over done and still retains its delicate and flaky texture!