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Whole Uncleaned Rainbow Trout at Wegmans

I bought 4 of these beauties at Wegmans a while ago. I DID NOT notice that the fish were not gutted until I got them home. I flipped out, I mean who sells fish that isn't cleaned? Who has fish in the case that isn't cleaned?
So I call up Wegmans and ask to speak to the Fish Dept.Manager. It was explained to me that the fish stays fresher when it is not gutted. Well ,I never heard of that before. I've been fishing for close to 50 years, both fresh and salt water,and always clean the fish ASAP and get it onto ice...
Any experts out there?
BTW, we ate the fish and lived but I am still skeptical...

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  1. I've gotten fresh whole fish from Wegmans (NoVa location) and my local fish market (Cambridge MA) and at both it had been sold uncleaned. But at both they will clean it for free after weighing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: viperlush

      Same experience. They will clean it if you ask, but at Wegmans they seem to already be degutted.

    2. Another reason why not to purchase fish based on perceived quality and reputation. Leaving the guts in any seafood is what will deteriorate the quality of the flesh.

      The fish guy is a moron.

      1. Really don't KNOW facts on whole/ungutted fish, but have a few thoughts. You paid by the lb, so paid for probably at least 25% of "parts" that you absolutely could NOT eat?? I imagine they would have cleaned them for ya, but bet you would still pay for original weight?? Once cleaned (with heads and fins removed) there's really NOT a lot of weight to what you can't eat... fish bones are light feathers.

        1. Interesting. Our local Wegmans always has the whole fish degutted. I would insist.

          1. I'm accustomed to whole fish at dockside markets that take fresh catch any time, but Wegmans customers expect styro trays, Saran, and maybe a lemon wedge.
            A poor practice. Especially rainbow trout that were farmed some distance away.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              The fish were in the fish display case on ice, un-slit belly side down....They looked great. When I called they said they would have cleaned them, but that was not the issue..I know how to clean a fish..Why would they even have un-gutted fish on display?

              1. re: Raffles

                Whole fish are normally priced cheaper at many markets as an advertised special...some store offer to clean, some do not. You pay for the whole fish with guts to pay for the higher weight, which extends to higher sales. Not cleaning the fish reduces labor and allows staff to serve more customers.

                1. re: fourunder

                  I 've done some research, "Google is your friend," and overwhelmingly have found that fish should be gutted and iced as soon as possible after harvesting.
                  Reasons given are that digestive juices continue to "tenderize"the fish from the inside out, that worms/parasites migrate from the guts into the meat, and that blood congeals in the meat, making a darker meat.

                  So , Danny, if you are out there, why are your fish not gutted before they get to your stores? Does anyone have new data?

                  1. re: Raffles

                    I live near the Outer Banks of NC, plenty of fresh fish in markets to be had and most NOT gutted until a customer requests it. I have fish right now in my freezer that we caught last summer not gutted. They will be gutted when cleaned and cooked for an upcoming fish fry. Have never had a issue as far as taste or quality is concerned. It also has never changed the color of the fish flesh.

                    The only fish I really gut before storing is catfish and herring, and the only reason for the herring is so we can harvest the roe and salt some.

            2. Probably most grocery store fish counters don't clean fish any more than grocery store meat counters break down sides of beef.

              Trout's always gutted where I live, but some fish like sardines are sold intact. At $4/lb it probably just isn't economical for vendors to gut them. I eat them when available and can tell you that it won't kill you. But it's a messy smelly task to gut them.

              I'd be irritated too about trout not being gutted, but flipping out seems like an overreaction to me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                There was a bit of bourbon involved...who wants to gut fish after a few fingers of Turkey?LOL

              2. To be honest I've had my fill of gutting and cleaning a whole fish. The very first Community Supported Fishery we bought into regularly sent us anywhere up to 3 pounds of whole ungutted cod and other fish as well. Sometimes unscaled. One thing I learned during that first year is that the sooner the fish is gutted the better. Both for the purity of the fish and of your health.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  I wouldn't have expected a fish share to be a drag, but I don't know that I could handle the cleaning. I have a simple point of view about this sort: the good Lord saw fit to provide me with enough money not to do this sort of thing. With the notable exception of sardines, which seem to be a case of do it yourself or do without.

                  1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                    The fish were brought back to harbor early A.M., bagged for distribution, trucked to pick-up location, and we'd be waiting to get ours and go home. Really couldn't get much fresher than that. I'll never forget the day that for some reason we got 2 large whole fish.

                    I had never cleaned and gutted a fish before we joined. But it was good to learn how.