How Long Can You Keep Frozen Fish? 7 Storage Tips for You
Sometimes, when you see fresh fish in the market that’s just too good to pass up, you end up buying it to have some other day. And while fresh fish should be consumed within 42 hours, if you still have no appetite for fish within the next two days, you can freeze your seafood and keep the flavor and texture intact for several days!
Freezing your seafood properly can double and even triple its shelf life. In this article, we’ll look at how long can you keep frozen fish as well as present some simple tips to store your fish properly.
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Fish?
Frozen fish can last in your freezer indefinitely if it’s stored correctly. However, the fish will lose its fresh taste and delicate texture over time.
To maintain the best quality, cooked fish should be stored in your fridge or freezer at a consistent temperature of 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or less. This will keep the fish good for three months. Meanwhile, raw fish frozen at the same temperature can last up to eight months.
You also have to consider the kind of fish you are freezing because salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish can only last for up to three months even if it is cleaned and stored correctly. Lean fish like cod, on the other hand, can keep well for up to half a year.
7 Tips to Store Your Fish Properly
To ensure your frozen fish keeps well and maintains its texture and taste in your freezer, here are some storage tips you should follow.
#1. Make Sure No Air Enters Your Fish Packaging
When storing fish, the air is your enemy because it can deteriorate the taste and texture of your fish. The best way to free your fish is to vacuum seal it before storing it in your freezer. You can also cut up the fish into portions and place them in separate vacuum bags, so you’ll only need to remove what you will consume without unsettling the rest of the frozen goods.
#2. Know When to Refrigerate and When to Freeze
Store the fish in the refrigerator only if you plan on consuming it within 48 hours. You can keep it in its original wrapping and place it in the coldest part of your fridge, the meat drawer, or under the freezer.
However, if you want to cook the fish more than two days later, freezing it is the most practical choice. You can wrap and freeze the entire fish or fillet it and wrap them individually in the freezer.
#3. Freezing an Entire Fish
If you opt to freeze the entire fish or a larger kind of fish, place the fish inside your freezer without any wrappings until it freezes completely.
Once it is frozen solid, remove it from the freezer and dip it in ice-cold water — it will create a thin layer of ice around your fish. You can then wrap it tightly in moisture-resistant paper or your freezer bag and put it back into the freezer for storage.
#4. Glazing the Fish
Another option that’s almost similar to dipping your frozen fish in ice-cold water is glazing. To glaze a fish, dip it into cold water, place it on a sheet pan, and then place the sheet pan with the fish inside your freezer.
Once it freezes, take the sheet pan out, get the fish out, and then dip it back into the water. Place it back on the sheet pan and back into the freezer. The new water that coats the fish will soon form a glaze.
So, you essentially have to repeat this cycle several times until your fish has about a quarter inch of frost on both sides. Once the fish is glazed, you can put it inside a plastic bag and put it back in your freezer.
#5. Wrap It Like a Pro
An important step to store your fish in the freezer properly is to tightly wrap the fish using plastic cling wrap, moisture-proof wrapping paper, or foil and put it in a freezer bag. It will help minimize the possibility of the fish coming in contact with air before you seal it and you can then put it in the freezer.
#6. Don’t Disturb the Frozen Fish
Avoid taking the frozen fish out and then putting it back again or transferring it to other areas of your fridge or freezer. If you need to open your freezer to get something else, be quick about it or place your frozen fish on a side where it would rarely be touched unless it’s time to thaw it.
You should also keep the temperature of your freezer constant. Changing the temperature settings would not just impact the fish you are storing inside but also all other meats.
#7. Label and Store by Date
An essential aspect of storing your fish is to label it and follow a FIFO or First in, First Out system. This means the fish that’s been frozen for the longest time should be the first to be used, and the fish that’s put in most recently should be the last to be taken out. Labeling the fish can help you track how long it’s been stored and when it’s time to use up the fish.