Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon? Surprising Answer Awaits!
We all probably know that food, in general, can accumulate micro-organisms which lead to rotting and spoilage.
Preservation is the key to slow down the growth of these bacteria and fungi.
A long time ago, people learned to keep their catch and produce – especially fish and meat, to prolong its shelf life. It can either be through salting, sun-drying, or smoking.
As years passed by and technology progressed, experts discovered that subjecting food to very low temperatures can delay/hinder the growth of yeasts.
The same is true when it comes to fish, especially salmon. Smoking does not just extend salmon’s shelf life, but it also adds a distinct aroma and flavor to it.
Now, the question is, can you freeze smoked salmon? Will the cold temperature affect its taste and texture?
Let us find out!
Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?
Salmon is a delicious and nutritious fish. In fact, it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins B and D, and some essential minerals like selenium and magnesium.
Experts say that eating salmon can help lower your risks of cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and eye health problems.
I don’t know about you, but I love smoked salmon. Just keep in mind to eat it in moderation because it is a bit high in sodium content.
What if I have a huge pack of smoked salmon? What do I do with it? How can I properly store it to extend its shelf life?
Actually, unopened vacuum-packed salmon can be store in the refrigerator for a month or two. Once opened, it can only last at most four days.
Can you freeze smoked salmon? The answer is Yes, definitely! How?
The Freezing Process
We are now certain that we can freeze smoked salmon, but how?
- Step 1: How to prepare smoked salmon for freezing
If you have a huge chunk of smoked salmon, slice it into smaller serving-size pieces. This will be easier for you to thaw it later plus, you won’t have to keep thawing the whole piece every time you want to cook some.
- Step 2: Wrap it up
Once you have the smoked salmon all sliced up, wrap each piece with either a plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or both. For me, personally, I like wrapping my smoked salmon with a plastic wrap first then I will add another layer of aluminum foil.
- Step 3: Seal it tightly
Have you ever heard of freezer burns? It is a term used to describe a frozen meat or fish that lost all its moisture due to oxidation and dehydration under very low-temperature settings. Freezer burns can result in discoloration and change in texture, but it does not necessarily mean that the fish or meat is already spoiled. In fact, freezer burnt meat are still safe to eat.
In freezing smoked salmon, you need to put the slices in a resealable plastic bag and seal it tightly. What I usually do is fasten the plastic bag almost all the way through – leave a small opening for a straw. Attach the other end of the straw in a clean small vacuüm and turn it on. It will suck out the air inside and reduce oxidation.
To know more about freezing burns and how to prevent it, watch this video:
- Step 4: Label your bagsIs everything all set?
Now, get a permanent marker and write down some essential information on each plastic bag. Here are some examples:
- Date fish was caught or bought
- Date fish was prepared
- Type of fish
- Amount or weight
- Shelf life
- Step 5: Freezing time
Finally, it is time to freeze! Wait, at what temperature? Actually, 0°F is good enough especially if you only have a small freezer, but the colder the better.
Also, you have to make sure that the temperature of your freezer do not fluctuate because it can either cause freezer burn or spoilage.
The Thawing Process
Smoked salmon can last up to 6 months in the freezer with a maintained low-temperature setting.
If you want to prepare a dish using a frozen smoked salmon, allow it thaw first. Thawing usually takes up to 24 hours depending on the temperature setting and how long the fish has been frozen.
It is vital to note, though, that you can’t thaw a frozen salmon on the counter top at room temperature or with a hot bath. Doing so would affect its taste and texture. Worse, it can accumulate or grow yeast as it defrosts.
What to do then? How do you properly thaw a frozen smoked salmon? Take a couple of slices out of the freezer – only the quantity you need. Place it in the refrigerator with a bit higher temperature setting, probably about 35-40°F and leave it there until it softens.
Tips, Tricks, And Some Precautions
- It is very important to thaw fish gradually under a cool condition. Subjecting it to heat will ruin its flavor, make its meat crumble, and increase its risks of fungi and bacteria growth.
- If you have a ‘busy fridge’, it would be best to put the salmon bags at the back of the freezer so it will have less contact with warm air.
- If ever you have thawed but uncooked leftovers, use it up within the next 24-36 hours before it accumulates yeasts and bacteria.
- Is your smoked salmon store-bought? There’s a huge chance that it has already been frozen. So, it would be best to store it in smaller packs to avoid repeated freezing and thawing.
- How to know if your smoked salmon has already gone bad? Check the odor, texture, and color. Do not eat if it is already dull, sour-y, and flaky.
There’s no doubt why a lot of people are crazy about salmon. It is not just scrumptious but also overly healthful. For those of you who are watching their weight, this fish is a great alternative to pork and beef.
Plus, you can hoard it and stock in your freezer for up to 6 months! Isn’t that great?Seriously, though, smoked salmon is a superfood and you do not have to worry about buying it in bulk because now you know you can freeze it.
There you go, folks! Another kitchen conundrum solved. If you wish to know anything about food, cooking, baking, or anything related, please feel free to leave your questions below and I will try my best to help you out.
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