The Best Way To Freeze Fish And How Long It Will Last

Whether you caught it yourself or picked it up from the seafood market, there's something about fresh fish that simply tastes better than its frozen counterparts. Fresh fish should be cooked the day it's caught; if you're not able to do that, you'll need to freeze it.

Although you may favor the taste of fish that's been caught that same day, its flavor can be preserved with the right type of freezing method. Before freezing, ensure that you've cleaned and scaled the fish. For an easy method that fishmongers utilize, try vacuum-sealing your fish. This method keeps air out, helping to increase the quality of frozen seafood. After cleaning and drying the fish, freeze it for about an hour, place it in a freezer-safe bag, and use a vacuum sealer to keep it airtight before placing it in the freezer once again.

With the vacuum-sealing method, your fish should be able to stay safe for up to a year. However, the lengthy timeframe may only apply to leaner types of fish. With fatty fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel, the oil in them oxidizes, distorting their fresh taste. If the fish isn't properly vacuum-sealed, lean fish could last around six to eight months, with fattier fish staying for two to three months.

How can you freeze fish without a vacuum sealer?

If you don't have a vacuum sealer, wrapping the fish in plastic wrap is another great option. Secure the fish in moisture-proof plastic and double-wrap it for the best results. Seal it up in butcher paper or aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. Stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less, leaner fish will stay for around six months and fattier fish for three months.

You can also try the ice glaze method to freeze fish. Although it's quite time-consuming, the protective glaze prevents the fish from getting damaged in the freezer and keeps its flavor intact. Start by freezing the unwrapped fish, then dip it in salted ice water once it's frozen. Place it in the freezer for a few minutes so the water on it can harden. Keep repeating this process until the glaze is ¼ inch thick around the fish. Again, this method will keep lean fish safe for six months and fatty fish for three.

While frozen fish has an expected lifespan, it's possible for it to go bad in the freezer before its time. Check for discoloration, a slimy texture, or a rancid, sour smell. Oftentimes, these signs won't be easily detectable until the fish has been thawed. To thaw the fish, place it in a bowl filled with cool water or place it under cold, running water.