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The short answer is yes, you can freeze salmon! You can freeze cooked, raw, or even smoked salmon as long as you do it properly.
It’s important to ensure that the salmon you want to freeze has been packaged properly to protect it in the freezer. The length of time you can freeze your salmon will vary depending on whether it is cooked, raw, or smoked.
Salmon is a fantastic source of protein and vitamin B12, and it’s very low in saturated fats. This makes it a popular choice for foodies, but sometimes you need to freeze it to save it for another day.
As you can freeze salmon, it makes it a wonderfully versatile fish for cooking. So there’s no need to panic if you’ve noticed your salmon is nearing its expiration date.
As long as you freeze it before the expiration date, it should be suitable for consumption for between 3 and 6 months depending on the type of salmon you choose to freeze.
So how exactly do you freeze salmon?
How to freeze salmon
The great news is that it’s super easy to freeze salmon.
You can freeze raw salmon in its original unopened packaging. If you’ve opened the packaging your raw salmon came in, you should rinse it under cold water, pat it dry with a paper towel, then wrap it as tightly as you can in plastic, or put it in a Ziploc bag.
Remember to write the date that you freeze it on the packaging so that you know how long it’s been in there. Raw salmon can be frozen for up to 3 months; anything longer than that and the quality of the salmon will decrease.
Cooked salmon is suitable for freezing, too, and can be frozen for up to 6 months. You should place your cooked salmon in an airtight container, write the date you’re freezing it on the lid, then place it in the freezer.
You can also freeze smoked salmon. Smoked salmon can be frozen in its unopened packaging. If you’ve opened the packaging, you will need to place it in a vacuum-sealed bag or Ziploc bag. Make sure that you label the packaging with the date you freeze it, then use it within 6 months.
It’s important to use the salmon within the 3 to 6 months, otherwise, they will depreciate in quality. Once you’ve frozen the salmon, it’s equally important to defrost it properly so that it’s safe for you to eat.
How to defrost salmon
The golden rule when it comes to defrosting your salmon is to do so in a refrigerator overnight. This means it can stay at a chilled temperature so it’s still a good enough quality to eat. If you allow your salmon to defrost at room temperature, it will start to depreciate quicker.
Alternatively, you can use the defrost function in your microwave. However, this will take a bit more thought as you will need to calculate the accurate weight of the frozen salmon first.
You don’t want to accidentally cook it when you defrost it – the salmon itself should still be quite cold when you remove it from the microwave.
You can also cook your salmon from frozen, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this will take much longer to cook than if you defrosted it.
Once you’ve defrosted your salmon, it should be edible for up to 2 days afterward. It is very important to remember never to refreeze salmon once it has been defrosted – especially if you’ve allowed it to get up to room temperature.
That’s because if salmon gets up to room temperature, it allows bacteria to develop on the fish. If this is frozen and defrosted a second time it can cause nasty foodborne illnesses that we’re sure you’d rather avoid.
You can also cause these foodborne illnesses if you try and thaw the salmon with hot water.
Factors to consider before freezing salmon
There are a few things you should consider before freezing your salmon. This is to ensure that you get the best quality fish by the time you do get around to cooking it.
Firstly you should think about how old the salmon is. How long has it been sitting in your refrigerator before you noticed the expiration date had snuck up on you?
The closer the salmon is to its expiration date, the lesser quality fish it’s going to be. If you know you’re not going to eat the salmon before it expires, try and freeze it as soon as you can.
If you want to freeze cooked salmon, think about the ingredients that were cooked with it. Are these suitable for freezing? If they’re not safe to be frozen, then you’ll just be delaying the day you throw out the salmon you’re not going to eat.
It’s worth remembering that any cream-based dishes will separate and curdle if frozen. If you’ve cooked a delicious salmon with cream sauce, it’s best to keep the cooked salmon separate from the sauce in case you want to freeze it later.
You will need to use all of the salmon once it has been defrosted. So, if you’ve bought a large family pack of salmon that you want to freeze, it will be worth separating the pieces into individual bags.
This way you can take out only as much salmon as you need when you get around to cooking it, and waste less food in the process.
So there you have it! Now you know all there is to know about freezing salmon, as well as how to defrost it safely.
Remember to use it within the 3 to 6 months that it’s been frozen for – depending on the type of salmon you’ve frozen, of course. Raw salmon should be used within 3 months, while cooked salmon and smoked salmon should be used within 6 months.
Make sure that you label the salmon with the date that you freeze it. As much as you think you’ll remember how long it’s been in the freezer, we guarantee you that you won’t a few months down the road!