Frozen fish can last for a long time when it is stored correctly.
Fish should be frozen as soon as possible after being caught or purchased and should always be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder to prevent spoilage.
It’s easy, it saves you money, and it tastes good.
To learn how long frozen fish lasts, read on.
What is Frozen Fish?
Frozen fish is a shelf-stable food product.
It is best when frozen immediately after the catch and stored at a temperature of -20°C (-29°F) or lower until it’s ready to be eaten.
Frozen fish can last indefinitely, as long as the package doesn’t get damaged in transit or storage.
Many types of sea life become frozen, such as.
- Seafood like lobster and crab.
- Various species of finfish, including cod, tuna, and salmon.
- Mollusks like clams, oysters, and squid.
- Crustaceans such as shrimp and crayfish.
- Cephalopods such as octopus and cuttlefish (a type of squid).
The fish is typically processed in some way before freezing.
Usually, they are gutted and then iced down with a slurry of water (between 20% to 50%) salt or sugar solution at -20°C (-29°F) for about 45 minutes per kilogram.
The salting process will remove the blood from the surface of the meat while also controlling microbial growth rates.
Once frozen, this “fish cake” can be cut into pieces that are easier to handle during cooking and store more effectively.
In addition, it reduces oxidation which might otherwise happen when you left these large chunks unrefrigerated over time without any defenses against air-born bacteria.
Why You Should Freeze Fish?
Fish are considered a delicacy, and they can be expensive.
However, there are some great benefits to freezing fish versus eating it fresh.
- If you freeze fish, the texture is not altered, and it does not become tough.
- Freezing can also help to maintain freshness for a longer period.
- The nutrients in frozen fish are still present after being thawed out without any significant loss during the freezing process. However, if you eat your fresh-caught salmon right away before cooking or freezing it, then those nutrients will be lost when cooked.
- Freezing seafood allows for better preservation of these essential elements found in fish.
Moreover, frozen fish is less likely to spoil than fresh fish.
If you are going to freeze the fish, you must do so quickly and completely.
The quicker your food freezes, the better the quality will be after being thawed out later on down the road.
A Complete Guide to Freezing Fish
Let’s face it, not all of us are great cooks or chefs.
It can be not easy to keep your freezer stocked with various fresh fish and seafood that you know how to cook.
This is where freezing comes in handy.
Fish freezes very well so long as they are bled out first, frozen immediately after being caught (or bought), then stored properly at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours before thawing and cooking them again later on down the line.
Here’s what you need:
- A sharp fillet knife for precision cuts.
- A plastic bag large enough to hold uncooked fish.
- Ice cubes from your ice maker machine OR ice packs.
- Gather the items you need for your first catch of the day. Make sure to set everything out and ready before starting. You want to complete this process as quickly as possible to have minimal time between catching fish and freezing it.
- Prepare a large ice bath by filling up a big bowl with icy cold water, then adding in enough ice cubes or packs from your freezer until they’re floating on top of the surface (about 400 lbs).
- You’ll need room for at least double that amount if you plan on filleting more than one type of fish during today’s hunt.
- Use tongs when removing excess pieces because any dripping will melt into unfrozen bits below.
- Layout your plastic bag. Place a layer of ice atop the bottom to keep it cold and ensure there’s enough for each fish you’re going to be filleting – at least 400 lbs worth, if not more.
- Remove any guts from the insides by making one long cut along both sides that goes all the way up near their heads, but leave behind as much scales or skin as possible so they won’t stick together during cooking later down the line.
- Slice off fins carefully using an upward motion, then cut off the tail as close to its spine without messing with anything else.
- Remove any innards by making one long cut along both sides that goes all the way up near their heads but leave behind scales or skin, so they don’t stick together during cooking later down the line.
- Slice off fins carefully using an upward motion, then slice off tails close to spines without touching anything else. If you are unsure about how to do this, please use the internet for guidance or ask a more experienced person.
- Place each fish in your freezer bag with ice cubes already inside it (or buy some new ones if necessary).
- Seal shut tightly and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit until needed again.
How Long Does Frozen Fish Last?
Frozen fish has very little risk of foodborne illness as long as you keep them stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit but don’t leave them there too long.
And they’re easy to prepare by just thawing overnight then simply cooking according to the recipe instructions.
You’ll save money on fresh seafood every time you shop.
Fish that were frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit can typically last up from 6 months to 12 months, but it will depend on how well you store them.
However, the longer you keep them, the more likely it is that your fish will start to lose some of its quality.
Below are general guidelines on how different long types of seafood should last in the freezer:
- Red snapper, shrimp, and scallops – 3 – 6 Months.
- Codfish fillets – 4 – 6 Months.
- Sea bass filets – 4 – 6 Months.
- Salmon filets – 6 Months.
- Tuna fillets, codfish steaks, and halibut steaks – 2 – 3 Months.
- Fish sticks and other fish-shaped pieces of fish products (like smoked salmon) – 6 months.
If they are stored properly, they should last longer (up to 12 months).
And if you find yourself with an expired bag of shrimp or other seafood items, remember that this food is still safe so long as it’s thawed first.
Tips for Storing Frozen Fish Properly
Here are some tips to help you store frozen fish properly:
- Keep fish frozen or just below freezing if you plan to store it for more than a day.
- Store on the bottom shelf of the freezer to keep the temperature constant.
- Using moisture-vapor-proof containers such as a resealable plastic bag or hard-sided container with an airtight lid is necessary to prevent the food from absorbing freezer odors.
- Make sure you label and date each package of fish before putting it into the freezer.
- If you’re not going to be using frozen fish for a while, divide up the packages in order so that they can freeze individually without touching other foods, which may cause them to thaw more quickly than desired.
- When you plan to cook frozen fish, take it out of the freezer several hours before cooking to give it time to thaw completely and for the meat’s natural juices to flow back into place.
- If using a whole package of frozen seafood such as crab or shrimp that is packed without any liquid, be sure to replace its lost moisture by adding some water and vegetables (such as onions) while defrosting.
In conclusion, the answer to this question depends on a few factors.
Some of them are the type of fish, the size and thickness of the cut, how it was packaged before freezing, and whether it is vacuum-sealed in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for an extended period.
And if there are any other items nearby that may have spoiled already will all affect the shelf life.
For best results when storing frozen fish and fresh seafood like shrimp cocktail tail, I recommend using Ziploc® Vacuum Bags with Stand Up Pouches.
They’re airtight, which prevents freezer burn from forming while eliminating the need for messy ice packs.