Who doesn’t love a bit of smoked salmon on soft bread with a layer of creamy cream cheese? Its tough yet crunchy texture has captured the heart and stomach of gastronomers from all over the world. Also, salmon is not only tasty but also high in nutrients and can do wonders for your health in many ways.
For that reason, home cooks tend to stock up some whenever they could get it at a reasonable price. And then, they ask me, “Can you freeze smoked salmon?”. Well, if it’s also your concern, you’re in the right place. Keep calm, read this article, and be a boss in your kitchen!
Before jumping into the main question, let’s find out the procedures of smoking salmon and why people (and you) love this smoked fish that much.
Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?
Yes, you can freeze the leftover smoked salmon for preservation. Because freezing is the best way to keep smoked salmon taste and texture in the long run. The perfect storage condition is using an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer.
If you happen to come across a sale of smoked salmon at a bargain price, don’t hesitate to get a bit extra for later use. This might surprise you, but frozen smoked salmon can be turned into several stunning gourmet dishes suiting all occasions.
Smoked salmon is a preparation of salmon, typically a fillet that has been cured and hot or cold smoked. Due to its moderately high price, smoked salmon is considered a delicacy.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoked_salmon
How Is Smoked Salmon Made
Smoking salmon is the ideal way to retain the fish’s taste and rich flavor. After being skinned, salmons are cut into thin slices. The fish will then be marinated with numerous spices.
Still, the marinating time can’t be too long, otherwise, the salmon will end up extremely salty. Then, a layer of maple syrup is applied to the fillet. The final step is to smoke the fish in a closed process. This is how the salmon slices retain their fresh, original color.
What’s Good About Smoked Salmon?
Just like other smoked foods, smoked salmon owns a condensed flavor, chewy texture, and a light smoky aroma. Because of its high price, people see this type of smoked fish as a premium cooking ingredient.
Despite being a delicacy, making a meal out of smoked salmon surprisingly easy as it involves little cooking. And there are numerous delectable smoked salmon recipes that you should try out at least once. Most commonly, we serve smoked salmon with salad, on a bagel with cream cheese, or with rich and creamy carbonara pasta.
As salmon is highly versatile, you can mix and match it however you like. Smoked salmon goes perfectly well with rice and noodles. Or, if you’re on a low-carb high-protein diet, replacing rice with quinoa and noodles with zoodle is also a splendid idea.
Besides, smoked salmon is also abundant in nutrients. According to Healthline, it is rich in Omega 3, which is essential for your health. Moreover, salmon contains many nutritional values, such as lean protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
How To Freeze Smoked Salmon?
So now you know that you can freeze smoked salmon. The question now comes down to How. How to freeze smoked salmon? It isn’t same with freeze salad or pasta. You want to do it the proper way to avoid any loss of quality and potential food poisoning, right? Well, here is a piece of advice!
Step 1 – Cut The Fish Into Pieces
If you got your salmon smoked in its complete form, you’d better cut it into small, thin slices. Thereby, it’s more convenient for the freezing and defrosting processes. Of course, if you bought your smoked fish in slices, you can skip this step.
Step 2- Wrap The Salmon
To freeze sliced smoked salmon, you can use plastic wrap, food containers, or reusable freezer bags.
Experts recommend using containers that allow as little air as possible to touch the meat. Therefore, a vacuum sealer would come in handy in this step. However, I know that it’s not a staple appliance in all households. On the chance that you do not have one at home, other kitchen items work just fine to preserve the flavor and texture of smoked salmon. So, feel free to use what you have at hand.
If you wrap smoked salmon in plastic wrap, wrap each slice in 2 layers of plastic wrap. You can do the same with aluminum foil. Then, put all wrapped pieces in a freezer bag. Try to get as much air out as possible. Voila, you can leave the fish in your freezer for months.
If you store smoked salmon in food containers, put the lid on tightly, and it can freeze well. You should use airtight containers so that the fish remain fresh even longer. Airtight lids prevent air from damaging food and also avoid the food odor from getting out and linger in the fridge.
Golden rule: Keep your smoked salmon in an air-tight environment under any circumstance. What harm can a bit of air do to our food? You ask. Well, air triggers oxidation, which leads to freezer burn, and eventually contamination.
If you want to know, there is a simple way to extract air from freezer bags. What’s impressive is that there’s no need for a vacuum sealer. This will video show you how:
Step 3- Label The Packages
After wrapping the smoked fish nicely with no loophole for air to sneak in, label the packages individually. Specifying products’ name and purchase date on the labels help keep better track of your food’s shelf-life. You should cook the ones you buy earlier first to prevent them from going bad.
Sometimes, due to overlapping layers of wrap, you may not realize what food is in the bag. Therefore, you can try and fix this by labeling whatever you are freezing. This lets you save time on unwrapping every single item just to know what it is.
Step 4 – Freezing Cooked Salmon
Another question I often receive is, “Can you freeze cooked salmon?” Luckily, the answer is Yes. But first, you need to remove all the ingredients (if any) from the salmon. And then, put the fish in a separate container for freezing.
How To Defrost Frozen Smoked Salmon?
It is best to let it thaw naturally. Just leave the fish in the fridge a few hours before cooking, and you are done. The cool temperature will slowly melt the ice while ensuring an adequate coolness to prevent the growth of bacteria.
A common mistake in the kitchen is to thaw frozen food at room temperature. When frozen food (especially fish and meat) is exposed to room temperatures, it is more likely to go rancid. As a consequence, bacteria can multiply at a faster pace.
In this fashion, never should we thaw frozen fish in warm water. The sudden change in temperature will make the fish mushy. Moreover, high temperatures and humidity are perfect environments for bacteria to grow.
Plus, defrosting food takes time. Patience is the key here. Ideally, you can leave your desired piece of smoked salmon to thaw in the fridge overnight and cook it the next day.
After completing the defrosting phase, you can take the fish out of the fridge and make your favorite salmon recipes. Thawed smoked salmon should be cooked as soon as possible as there is nothing left to maintain its freshness.
According to Still Tasty, the estimated time for refrigerator thawing is 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat. Calculate a reasonable time for cooking fish right after defrosting.
Also, once the fish is already defrosted, you shouldn’t return it to the freezer. When meat, fish, etc. are placed in cold environments, most bacteria, molds, and yeast temporarily stop growing. Think of this as hibernating.
And when the fish is thawed, at the right temperature, they revive, continuing to multiply. So, repeating freezing smoked salmon will promote the growth of bacteria, which can become a health hazard in certain cases.
How To Tell That Smoked Salmon Has Gone Bad?
You can first tell if your smoked salmon has gone bad by its smell. Spoiled fish certainly has an unpleasant odor. When the fish begins reeking, it has probably been past its sell-by date
To be more specific, the characteristic orange-yellow color of salmon will change to a dark brown, gray, or even green. If it’s cooked fish and you dare to give it a taste, you will find that it is sour and inedible.
If your smoked salmon shows any signs of spoilage, toss it in the trash can immediately. No matter how expensive smoked salmon could be, when it’s gone rancid, you have to give it up. Spoiled food is highly detrimental to your health. Keep in mind that your well-being is worth more than anything.
So now, can you freeze smoked salmon? Yes, you can. If you can’t finish your package of smoked salmon in one go, you can save the leftovers in your freezer. Just follow the proper freezing procedures, and you’ll be just fine.
Now, if anyone asks you the question “Can you freeze smoked salmon?” you’ll be the expert, giving people the guidance.
To sum up, storing smoked salmon in the freezer for a few months is possible. Most importantly, keep your freezer bags as airtight as possible. If you want to defrost smoked salmon, the best way is to thaw it in the fridge. Don’t try to shorten the time and use heat to defrost smoked salmon (or any frozen food).
If you find your fish starting to change in smell, color, or taste, it might have gone bad. Label packages of frozen foods to keep track of their shelf-life. Don’t ever risk your health to eat spoiled fish. Remember: proper food storage is an efficient way to lower food waste and protect your health from spoilage harms.