Can you freeze smoked salmon? Here are our tips for storing smoked salmon safely.
Store-bought smoked salmon can be safely stored in your home freezer as long as you place it in the freezer before the expiration date printed on the package has expired.
For the best results and to extend the amount of time you can safely keep the fish in your freezer, wrap the package with freezer paper, aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Alternately, place the whole package in a freezer bag. This extra protection helps prevent freezer burn.
With good storage and consistently frozen temperatures, your salmon should stay fresh and tasty for up to three months. It will remain safe to eat for much longer than that as long as your freezer temperature stays at zero degrees or lower.
Follow these best practices for freezing smoked salmon and all fish:
- Small fish can be frozen whole. Larger fish should be filleted or cut into one-inch steaks.
- Vacuum packaging is best, but if you do not have this option, just be sure to wrap fish tightly to keep air out. If using freezer bags, press the air out of the bag before sealing.
- If you smoke your salmon yourself, put it right into the freezer after removing it from the smoker. Brush it with some vegetable oil to seal in moisture and prevent oxidation. Package the fish using one of the methods described above.
Thaw Frozen Fish Safely
It is important to keep fish cold during thawing to prevent spoilage. You can thaw fish under cold, running water; however, this is extremely wasteful. It is better to thaw fish overnight in the refrigerator.
With this method, you can safely keep the fish in the refrigerator for three or four days after removing it from the freezer. If you thaw it under cold water, you should use it immediately.
It is also possible to cook frozen fish straight from the freezer.
It is actually safest to simply take your fish out of the freezer and cook it as-is. This eliminates the potential for spoiling while thawing. To do this, reduce your cooking temperature very slightly and extend the cooking time. These steps make up for the lack of thawing and ensure that the fish is cooked through.
Follow these steps to cook frozen fish:
- Take the fish out of the freezer and remove its packaging.
- Rinse the fish with cold water to remove ice and pat it dry using a paper towel.
- Pour a little marinade or olive oil over the frozen fish and sprinkle on any spices you wish to use.
- Use your chosen cooking method. Be certain that the fish is entirely cooked before serving.
This method is best used when baking, sautéing or pan-frying because you have more control over the temperature. It’s not especially recommended for outdoor grilling as temperature is not as predictable.
Don’t allow fish to sit out to thaw as the thin parts of the fish will thaw quickly and begin to spoil before the thick parts have thawed. Always examine smoked salmon and any fish before cooking it. If it has a sour smell or has lost its color, it has gone bad or is beginning to. It is always safest to discard any fish that has an odd look or smell to it.