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Glossary of Terms for Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans and other Cooking Ingredients & Methods

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Rancidity: The oxidation of the natural oil in the fish, making the fish unpalatable.


Red Cod - (Pseudophycis bachus) Average length 40-70 cm, average weight 1.5-2.5 kg. Occurs around New Zealand and southern Australia. Different to the cods of the northern hemisphere, which belong to the family Gadidae. Greyish red-brown above, becoming white with a pink flush below; a prominent dark spot in front of pectoral fin. Soft, easily dislodged scales. Distinguished from the hake and southern blue whiting by pink colouring, and from bastard red cods by square tipped tail. Less easily distinguished from several uncommon deepwater cods. Found from shallow coastal water to over 700m. Most abundant around the South Island of New Zealand in 100-300 m. Caught mainly by trawling, main grounds in the Canterbury Bight and off Westland. Landed all year round with main season from February to June. A moderate resource. White moist flesh with delicate texture. Low fat content. Flakes easily. Suitable for fish block manufacture.


Red Gurnard - (Chelidonichthys kumu). Average length 30-50 cm, average weight 0.5 to 1.5 kg. Found in coastal waters around New Zealand, southern Australia, South Africa and Japan. Reddish pink, sometimes brownish above, and white below. Large bluish green pectoral fins each with one dark spot and several small white spots. Its colour pattern and very small scales distinguish this species from other gurnards. Widespread all around New Zealand on sand and sandy shell seabeds to depth of 150 metres. Caught all year round, mainly by trawling. A moderate resource. The related spotted gurnard is much less common and the much smaller scaly gurnard is not a commercial species. Flesh firm, pink, medium to low fat content and suitable for most methods of cooking. Scales too small to need removing.


Red Tide: A reddish-colored carpet of algae that appears below the surface of the sea and is eaten by clams, mussels and oysters. The algae secrete a substance that can be toxic to humans. Fishing grounds are closed when red tide occurs, preventing the harvest of any contaminated shellfish.


Refreshed - Also "previously frozen." Seafood that has been frozen, often in blocks, then slaked out for resale.


Retort Pouch - A flexible package made of layered plastic and metallic-colored foil as an alternative to traditional cans. The layers of a retort pouch may be clear or opaque. Most are "see-through" on the top with foil on the bottom, to avoid confusion with vacuum-sealed products.



Ribaldo - (Mora moro). Average length 40-50 cm, average weight 2-5 kg. Occurs around New Zealand and southern Australia. Greyish pink above with no pectoral blotch, white below: large loose scales. Distinguished from the related red cod by having large, often protruding eyes, two anal fins instead of one, and no dark blotch at the pectoral fin, It is less easily distinguished from several other small deepwater cods. Moderately common around the South Island, 300-700m. Taken by trawl and longline all year round. Flesh white, firmer than red cod.


Rigor Mortis - The temporary stiffening and rigidity of muscles following death. Prolonged rigor mortis helps to maintain fresh-fish quality, because intense bacterial spoilage does not begin until after rigor mortis, with its high acid levels, has passed.


Rockfish - The Alaskan rockfish is a lean, high-quality, ocean-fresh fish, characterized by a firm, meaty flesh that turns snow white when cooked. It has a delicate nutty, sweet flavor. Rockfish belong to the family Scorpaenidae, or scorpionfishes. Common market names include Pacific red snapper, rock cod and Pacific ocean perch. Recognized by the sharp spines on their dorsal fins, rockfish vary in length from 20" to 37" and may weigh up to 30 pounds. A versatile fish, the Alaska rockfish takes well to a wide range of cooking methods.


Rock Lobster - (Jasus edwardsii). Minimum legal tail length 152mm. Species confined to New Zealand but is closely related to Jasus novaehollandiae of southern Australia and Jasus Ialandii of South Africa. Occurs along most rocky coastlines around New Zealand but is more abundant in the south of the South Island and at the Chatham Islands. Taken commercially by potting. Available throughout the year but catches subject to seasonal high and low points which vary from year to year. However, in general catches are lowest at time of mating, which is usually April-May throughout the country, and also during moulting which varies regionally. Catches highest during September-January with a peak often occurring in October. Moderate resource with annual production of between 3,500-4,500 tonnes.  Flesh firm textured, very white. Orange tinged on exterior surface. See also Spiny Lobster


Roe: Most fish species grow their eggs in a sac in the abdomen, and the roe of some species is considered a delicacy in various countries. Sturgeon roe, or caviar, is the best-known and most expensive in the U.S., but cod, herring, mullet, pollock, salmon and shad all produce roe prized by various regional and ethnic groups. The male milt (or sperm) is known as “soft roe” and the eggs of the female as “hard roe”.


Round - Whole, ungutted fish; shrimp that has been peeled but not split or deveined. Sometimes referred to as Whole Round.


Roundfish: Refers to physical shape of the body of the fish, and is more a convenient way to group all fish other than those in the flatfish family than a scientific classification. (See Flatfish).



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