Salmon is packed with protein, fatty acids, and minerals. So the health benefits of the fish are pretty much out there. But what’s not so clear-cut is the answer to the question, can you freeze smoked salmon?
The smoking technique has now become very popular for cooking salmon. This only makes way for plenty of leftovers. So let’s find out if smoked salmon and your freezer can be buddies or not.
And before I begin the discussion, the short answer to your question is YES. Yes, you can freeze smoked salmon. Now let’s get into more specific details.
Freezing Smoked Salmon: For How Long?
Once again, can you freeze smoked salmon? Yes, smoked salmon can be stored in the freezer. But not for an unlimited span of time, obviously. When properly wrapped, the fish remains fresh in the freezer for nearly 2 whole months.
But what if you want to freeze it for a longer time? Well, that too is possible. You can freeze it for 6 months also if you like. Just be prepared for the taste to degenerate. Even so, having the option to freeze salmon for so long is definitely good news. It’s just that it might not be able to retain the original freshness for more than 2 months.
How to Smoked Salmon Is Made
Did you buy your salmon from a store or local supermarket? If yes, the chances are that the fish is already frozen. Most retailers do this to prevent excessive loss or food spoilage. But if possible, catch salmon yourself, smoke it, and then freeze. Either way, the standard convention is to freeze the fish immediately.
However, I won’t lie to you but repeated freezing tends to degrade the quality, taste, and freshness of meat. What freezing does is transform water molecules present inside the salmon into microscopic pointy things. Think of them as daggers cutting through the stringy muscle strands.
Needless to say, freezing several times only deteriorates the condition of your smoked salmon. Also, keep in mind that refreezing gives rise to bacteria like salmonella. So expect this to infect your tasty and even expensive food.
Freezing Smoked Salmon: How to Freeze Smoked Salmon?
Can you freeze smoked salmon? The answer is yes, as you already know. But do you know how to freeze the fish? If not, here are the proper instructions.
1. Cut The Salmon Into Pieces Or Freeze It Whole
You can choose either option, there’s no one right method here. When freezing the whole salmon, make sure the fish hasn’t been refrozen after you bought it from the store. Like I already told you, repeated freezing means risking the consequences.
But my advice to you would be to cut the salmon into pieces. You can divide it based on your serving size. I’m sure you know how much your family consumes in a single meal, don’t you? So separate the batches depending on that.
Just keep in mind that smaller pieces offer more convenience in terms of packing and storage.
2. Wrap The Salmon Properly
This is the most important step you simply cannot neglect. When done wrong, it can spoil a whole batch of smoked salmon. And you might have to throw out all the meat if that happens.
When the meat is not properly packed, it loses flavor and texture. Once air enters, nothing can keep the food from spoiling.
So before packing begins, gently rub some olive oil on the sides using a brush. The olive oil seals in the entire flavor. It also protects the fish from potential freezer burns often brought about due to air intrusion.
As for the packing methods, here they are:
- The complicated method involves wrapping the fish in double plastic wrap layers. It’s a slightly more time-consuming task. Because you have to pay careful attention at the time of folding and securing the edges. To eliminate all air between the wrap and salmon.
After that, pack this wrapped meat in double freezer paper layers.
- The simple method involves the use of vacuum sealer. It’s a plastic wrap which forms a tight seal around the fish. It squeezes out all the remaining air before the batch is securely sealed shut.
Before I move on to the next step, here’s something that I would like to warn you about. Avoid using containers like bowls or boxes for salmon freezing. When the fish is stored inside these containers, the air circulating the food causes freezer burns.
Wild Planet, Wild Pink Salmon, 6 Ounce, Pack of 12
3. Label The Wrapped Packages
After packing, what’s left to do is label those bags. It removes the guesswork entirely. Meaning if 2 months later, you want to use salmon as an ingredient for cooking, you’ll know exactly when you froze it. And whether it’s fresh to consume or not.
And by the label, I mean noting down the date of freezing. You obviously cannot look into the bag because the wrapping consists of several layers. So it’s better to have the date written down on it.
Thawing Process of Salmon
Now it’s time to take the smoked salmon out of your freezer so you can devour it. In that case, defrosting plays a major role. I don’t mean just placing it in the microwave and using the defrosting feature. If you do this, you’re ruining the fish.
To reap the most benefits, it’s best to thaw the frozen batch first. You might think warm water is a good option for defrosting. But you’re wrong. What warm water does is destroy the meat texture. It also invites various types of bacteria and germs.
So what’s the safest method of thawing? You place the frozen smoked salmon in your refrigerator. Just make sure the temperature is under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove some of the wrapping layers and refrigerate the fish in a bowl. Keep it away from the other food items in the fridge because they might absorb the salmon smell.
Thawing for a good 24 hours is necessary. Once thawed, feel free to use it in a dish or savor it just like that.
No need to wonder anymore whether or not you can freeze smoked salmon. I have also discussed the method of freezing and thawing the meat. All you have to do now is follow the instructions.
Smoked salmon 2 months later can taste just as delicious as smoked salmon today.
Trident Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon – 567g/20 Oz
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