How to Properly Freeze Fresh Fish
Fresh fish should be cooked within two days. If you can’t, don’t worry, you can freeze it without losing the flavor!
So, you bought fresh fish intending to make it right away but you haven’t had the time. Now that the 48-hour window is closing, you’re afraid you won’t get to make the fish before it goes bad. We’ve all been in this situation. The busyness of modern life can make it challenging to cook during the week. You don’t have to throw fresh fish out if you can’t cook it right away, you can freeze it. If you listen to these tips, you’ll never have to worry about freezing fish improperly.
Ways to Freeze Fish
The most important rule to follow when freezing fish is to treat air like the enemy. Any air in the packaging that fish is stored in will deteriorate the taste and texture of the meat. That’s why the best method for freezing fish is to vacuum-seal. If you don’t want to invest in a vacuum-sealer, you have two other options: glaze it or wrap it tightly.
Glazing fish is the second-best option when freezing fresh fish. To glaze the fish, dip them in cold water and place them on a sheet pan. Put the sheet pan in the freezer until the water is frozen. Then pull the fish out, dip it in the water again and place it back in the freezer on the sheet pan. Repeat this process until there is a ¼ inch glaze on each fish. Then place them in a plastic bag, date the bag and store it in the freezer.
Wrapping the fish is the third option. Using plastic wrap, wrap each fish tightly. Then place them in a freezer bag. Try to get as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it, writing the date and placing it in the freezer.
Writing the date on the package when you freeze fish is incredibly important. Even though freezing extends its shelf life, it will begin to lose its texture and flavor over time just as chicken or steak will. Labeling each package with the date it was frozen will help you keep track of its freshness.
How Long Frozen Fish Lasts
Properly frozen fish will stay good in your freezer for up to 6 months. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Fatty fish like trout and salmon have a shorter shelf life in the freezer. They will only last for up to 3 months. The texture of an especially fatty fish, like bluefish, will change after it has been frozen. It will still taste wonderful in fish cakes or pasta.
How to Defrost Fish
The best way to defrost fish is to run cool water over the packaging until it thaws. You can also let it thaw in the fridge. You should never defrost seafood in the microwave or on the counter. Since seafood cooks quickly, defrosting it in the microwave may cook it. This can give it a bad taste and texture. Thawing fish on the counter can allow harmful bacteria to grow and put you at risk of foodborne illness. If you follow these simple guidelines for freezing, storing and defrosting fish, you’ll never have to worry about freezing it again.
Have more seafood questions for us? Leave them in the comments! Or stop by City Fish Market to ask us in person. The knowledgeable seafood experts on our team will be happy to answer your questions and help you pick out the best fish for dinner.