You’ve probably seen the term ‘temperature’ thrown around quite often when talking about food. What does it mean when it comes to cod?
In cooking, temperature refers to the internal heat of a dish. For example, a steak cooked at medium-rare has a higher temperature than a steak cooked rare.
Temperature is important because it affects how long foods stay safe to eat after they’ve been cooked, and the temperature of cod in particular depends on whether or not it has been frozen.
Frozen cod can be served when it reaches 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer, and if it has been prepackaged in a marinade you should cook it to 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be sure both the fish and the liquid are safe.
When it comes to fresh cod, you should be waiting until it has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Below, we look at these numbers in closer detail and give you a rundown of what temperature cooked cod needs to be.
Fresh And Frozen Cod
Even though a lot of cod is sold frozen, there are times when you can buy it from the store fresh.
Alaska cod is widely available to buy when fresh in the fall and the winter in the United States, but what is the difference when it comes to frozen and fresh cod, and why does it matter when it comes to cooking temperatures?
A large amount of cod that is eaten in the US is directly frozen on fishing vessels at sea.
The fish is harvested from the sea and processed there on the boat before it is frozen to a storage temperature of -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since a temperature below 0°C is the critical zone for spoilage by protein denaturation, the UK has recommended that fish should be taken down from a temperature of 0°C to -5°C in under 2 hours.
The fish needs to be reduced even more in temperature and this means its temperature at the finale of the process is equivalent to the storage temperature in the above section, which is -30°C.
Cooking Frozen Cod
Frozen fish is better than fresh fish because it travels across the globe faster and costs less.
Jet fuel is expensive and increases carbon footprint, whereas frozen fish can be transported by train or on a ship which is much more environmentally friendly. It also doesn’t degrade as much.
Cod is an important source of protein for people who eat seafood and it can give off great health benefits.
However, a recent study found that frozen fish was 4 times the quality of similar fresh fish when they were tested at the same time.
Freezing cod and other fish also means parasites in fish are destroyed. This means you can cook cod at a lower temperature of around 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you cook cod at much higher temperatures than this, it often becomes drier and can also become flakier.
Lowering the cooking temperature also makes the fish more tender and tastier.
Cooking Fresh Cod
When buying fresh cod, make sure that it isn’t too thick so that it cooks evenly. If you do get a thicker piece of fish, cut it into smaller pieces.
You can tell if your cod is good by looking at the eyes. They should be clear with no signs of cloudiness.
If you have bought a whole cod, ask the person behind the counter how long it will take to cook.
Some fishmongers say that cod takes 20 minutes per pound while others say 30 minutes per pound.
But what about temperature? You should always cook fresh cod at 145 degrees Fahrenheit as the presence of parasites is still a problem.
However, do not worry about these too much. All organisms, including fish, usually have some form of parasites.
This is normal and does not mean the food is completely contaminated. They are very common in fish and are just like when you find insects in fruits and vegetables.
As long as you cook the fish all the way through, the parasites should not be a problem.
Parasites only become an issue when you start to eat raw fish such as sushi and gravlax. But again, it is not something that should stop you from eating your favorite sushi.
When preparing, opt for frozen fish or freeze the fish so it reaches an internal temperature of -4°F for at least 7 days. This will ensure you have gotten rid of parasites before eating.
The health risk from parasites, however, is not as much as the risk from illness-causing bacteria which we cannot always see but are present in nearly every food we eat.
The Best Temperature To Bake Cod
Cod does not take long to cook and professional chefs and other cooks recommend cooking cod in an oven that is at 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
Depending on the size of the cod, fillets often take 10 minutes but you need to check the temperature about 8 minutes into the process.
Pull the fillets as soon as they have reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the carryover heat should raise the internal temperature by around 5-10 degrees.
We recommend using the ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of your cod. It is super fast and has a backlight.
It also promises the most accurate readout of many thermometers on the market and it has a foldable probe design for easy use and portability if you are cooking cod on the go.
It has a range of -58 – 572 degrees Fahrenheit and is accurate to ±0.9 degrees Fahrenheit!
How Long Does Cod Last?
Once cooked, cod can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it in an airtight container. This helps keep out moisture and prevent mold growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Eat Raw Fish?
Raw fish is quite healthy and some people enjoy eating raw seafood. However, you must remember that any type of fish can contain harmful bacteria and parasites.
So, unless you know exactly where the fish was caught and how it was handled during transportation, then it is best to cook it first.
Should You Wash Your Cod Before Cooking?
It is important to note that washing your cod before cooking removes the natural oils that help protect against bacterial growth.
Washing the fish will also remove the flavor and nutrients that make the fish taste good.
Can You Use Salt On Cod?
Salt is one of the main ingredients used to season cod. It can really take the flavor up a notch, but remember to go easy.
Sodium is known to cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. If you want to add salt to your cod, try adding it after cooking rather than before.
Can You Try Baking Cod Instead Of Boiling?
Of course! We have gone over the baking method of cooking in this article. If you do not like the texture of boiled cod, then you may prefer baking it instead.
You can bake cod in the oven and once baked, serve the fish with lemon juice and butter.
When cooking cod, and you are not completely sure whether it has been frozen, it’s best to cook it and wait till it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.
But if you are sure it has been frozen to the previously mentioned standards, you can cook it to 125 degrees.
We hope this article has helped you out when it comes to understanding the temperature of cod!
It is a tasty fish that can be served in a variety of dishes, so why not try it out for yourself today!
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