South American cuisine is vibrant, with many flavor options.
When I travel to Peru last summer, I had the privilege of enjoying some of their favorite foods, including Ceviche, seviche, or maybe cebiche depending on who you ask.
It is a meal that involves raw fish, and before you bolt, let me inform you it is completely fine- most of the time, but it is also known to go horribly wrong.
Not very reassuring I know. You are right to be concerned about bad ceviche.
This is because, being mainly raw fish, it can go bad quicker than say beef or lamb, and you may not be aware that it is spoilt by simply looking at it.
Eating bad ceviche can lead to food poisoning.
The first time I had ceviche I was very intrigued by my host being very particular about the time, to make sure we got ceviche fresh, which got me asking, how long does ceviche last?
In this article we will be answering that question and offering more information on how to store your Ceviche to prevent it from going bad.
Ceviche is a dish made primarily of raw fish, or seafood, that has been “cooked” by the acidity of lemon or lime juice, and vegetables.
The acid “cooks” the proteins without any heat, so it is not actually cooked in the traditional sense.
Firm-fleshed white fish such as sea bass, snapper, halibut, or grouper, or other seafood such as shrimp, squid, octopus, and shellfish like scallops or crab can be used to make the basic ingredient of ceviche.
Common vegetables like tomatoes, onions, or cucumbers make up the rest of the dish.
The dish is popular in Latin America and Spain but is also gaining popularity in other parts of the world.
It can be served as an appetizer, main course, or side dish.
Ceviche is often served with corn tortilla chips and slices of avocado on top.
The meal is very healthy and easy to digest, with ingredients that make a great nutritional contribution for people of all ages.
The benefits of ceviche include being an abundant source of animal proteins from the fish, which helps the body build healthy cells.
It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.
The meal contains vitamins A, D, E, and K and has phosphorus, zinc, iodine, selenium, and potassium, elements that help your body remove toxins, regenerate and synthesize food, among many other benefits.
How Long Does Ceviche Last? Does Ceviche Go Bad?
Yes, ceviche goes bad, and it does so within 2 hours when left in the open after preparation.
The following however, its shelf life under different conditions:
- Best within the first 2 hours in the pantry.
- Best before 48 hours in the fridge.
- You can freeze ceviche for up to 2 to 3 months.
One of the reasons you do not want to eat ceviche that is not freshly made is because the acid from the lime or lemon continues to break the fish down long after preparation, making it lose its texture and becoming mushy, or in the case of shrimp, tough and dry, unappetizing to look at and taste in either case.
Ceviche is best consumed within 30 minutes of preparation for the best freshness and should be eaten within two hours.
If, for whatever reason, you need to keep ceviche, put it in the fridge for a maximum of 2 days.
The first thing you need to do is to drain off as much lime or lemon juice as possible and separate the solids, as vegetables such as avocado tend to change color to an ugly brown, especially when placed in the fridge.
Use an airtight container to store it in the fridge.
There is no point in freezing ceviche, although you can.
The fish is likely to be completely mushy, or worse still, spoilt by the time you get it on your plate because, after removing it from the freezer, you will still need to slow-thaw it in the fridge.
If you must freeze your ceviche, then remove all the acidic marinade and separate the solids.
Pack the fish in plastic bags and remove all the air.
Add some lime or lemon juice when serving again.
How to Tell if Ceviche is Bad?
There are several ways to tell if your Ceviche has gone bad.
The following are some of the most important signs to look out for and what causes it:
- Bad smell: Caused by overgrown bacteria and fish enzymes convert chemicals that had helped the fish survive in salty water into a foul-smelling gas called trimethylamine (TMA), or what we call “fishy smell. If you notice this odour, discard the fish right away.
- Grey color: Caused by rotting. Fresh fish, especially the kind of fish used for ceviche, looks white with a thin clear liquid film. However, the color of the fish can be affected by several factors, such as the fish’s diet, environment, or even packaging processes. Therefore, color should not be the only test but be used together with other tests such as touch.
- Sticky, slimy-feeling fish that is not bouncy to touch: Caused loss of texture as the flesh is eaten up by microorganisms. Fresh fish should spring back when touched. If the fish in your ceviche is not, then discard it because it is no longer fresh.
- Presence of mold: Mold is a microscopic organism that is usually not visible to the naked eye until there is an overgrowth. If your ceviche has it, it means it is poisonous and dangerous to eat.
Ceviche is a rich food consisting of raw white fish cooked by marinating with lime or lemon juice, vegetables, and fruits.
It is a delicious and nutritious meal, suitable for all.
Ceviche is made for fresh eating, and because the preparation time is short, you can always make just what you need at a time.
If you must keep the meal for more than two hours after preparing it, it is best to put it away in the fridge, having removed the marinade to slow down its cooking.
If it has been in the fridge for more than 48 hours, it is safer to throw it away.