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How To Properly Freeze & Thaw Fish
During the course of the year many of us have been stocking our fridges and freezers with food and other essentials in response to the pandemic. However, stocking up on food and eating at home doesn’t mean you’re limited to canned goods, frozen dinners, and other non-perishable items. You can still enjoy a nice home-cooked meal with fresh ingredients, especially if you know how to properly thaw and preserve your meats, fish, poultry, and other proteins. Follow along as Pure Food Fish Market gives you the ultimate guide on how to properly freeze and thaw fish, so you can buy and enjoy as much seafood as you want with confidence.
How to Properly Freeze Fresh Fish
Whether you’ve just ordered fresh seafood from Pure Food Fish Market to store for later, or just finished a tasty dinner and you want to preserve the uncooked fish you have a few options to choose from. Fresh fish should be cooked within two to three days of purchasing, if you don’t plan on cooking your fish you should freeze it immediately to preserve the freshness. The three most effective methods for freezing fresh seafood are Ice Glazing, Vacuum Sealing, and Freezing in a Ziploc bag with water.
When freezing fish the most important thing to remember is that air is not your best friend. Exposure to cold air can dry the fish out and ruin the taste and texture of the fish. All three of these methods work to prevent air contact and to lock in moisture.
Ice glazing is a method in which you glaze the fish with ice first by dipping the fish into lightly salted ice water and placing it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in your freezer. Let the water on the fish freeze then repeat this process a couple of times until the fish has ¼ thick glaze of ice. At this point, you can place the ice glazed fish into an airtight Ziploc bag or you can vacuum seal and place it into your freezer. By using this method you can preserve your fish up to 6 months in the freezer.
If you don't have time to ice glaze your fish before freezing, vacuum sealing your fish also does the trick. Before vacuum sealing your fish pre-freeze your fish for 1-2 hours to preserve the moisture in the fish. It's also very common to pre-season or marinate your fish before vacuum sealing as this method really locks in the flavor. If you decide not to season your fish, that's okay. You can place your fish into a vacuum bag and seal your fish, once sealed place into your freezer. Vacuum sealed fish when properly stored in the freezer can last as long as two years.
Ziploc Freezing with Water
Lastly, if you don’t have time to ice glaze your fish and you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can use the freezing in a Ziploc bag with water method. This method is exactly what it sounds like and is a quick and easy method to preserve your fish. The water in this method takes the place of the vacuum seal and the ice glaze and acts as a barrier to protect the fish from drying out and or getting freezer burn. For this method, you will need an appropriately sized Ziploc bag preferably not too big and not too small. Next, you will fill the Ziploc bag with lightly salted water, not completely but just enough to fully submerge the fish. Once this is done squeeze the remaining air out of the bag, seal your bag, and place it in the freezer. Using this method you can preserve your fish up to 3 months in the freezer
How to Properly Thaw Frozen Fish
When thawing or defrosting frozen fish the most important thing to remember is to gradually thaw your fish. You can gradually thaw your frozen fish by letting the fish rest in the refrigerator. The downside to this method is that it takes time and you have to remind yourself to do this well in advance before you plan to cook the fish. Depending on the thickness of your fish, our rule of thumb is to plan one day ahead and to allow your fish 24 hours to fully defrost in the fridge.
If you forgot to take your fish out of the freezer, and you want to eat it sooner than later, while not the most ideal method you can use a quick thawing method to beat the clock. If you need a quick thawing method that doesn’t require wasting water by running the frozen fish under water until it thaws follow these steps. Using the Ziploc bag your fish was frozen in place your fish in a large bowl with semi-cold to room temperature water and submerge the fish for 1 to ⅕ hours. After an hour has passed check your fish if it’s still frozen repeat this method for another 30 mins to an hour. Once fully thawed your fish is ready to be cooked.