Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon? (Detailed Guide)

Who doesn’t love a delicious salmon? Salmon is one of the most smoker-friendly fish. It is rich in proteins, gives you ample minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids. The smooth texture, excellent taste, and versatility means you keep going back to eating the salmon again and again!

So if you’re anything like me and have brought a bunch of smoked salmon in bulk on sale or you’ve leftover salmon, you must be left wondering whether you can freeze it or not?

can you freeze smoked salmon

Let’s be honest. It’s pricey. You don’t want to waste a single inch of the salmon by freezing it the wrong way. So, the answer is here- Yes! You can absolutely freeze a salmon and we will discuss in detail how to do that effectively.

Enjoy!

Can You Freeze Cold Smoked Salmon? Absolutely yes! You can freeze smoked salmon to preserve its texture and yummy flavor. A smoked salmon lasts for 5 to 7 days. Past its printing date, a smoked salmon can stay in the freezer easily for 6 to 8 months if stored at 0 F.

You can keep your salmon safe in a refrigerator by storing it in an airtight container. Exposing salmon to oxygen will lead to oxidation. Hence, ensure that you place it in a sealed bag, take out all the air as you can, and proceed to freeze.

Is It Safe to Freeze Smoked Salmon?

According to North Dakota State University Publication, Freezing is one of the most widely used methods to preserve meats including fish meat. It is completely safe to freeze smoked salmon. When done in the right way, frozen smoked salmon will last indefinitely and ready to be used without getting dry or losing freshness.

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, frozen raw fish can be stored for anywhere between 6-8 months and it should never be left out for more than two hours.

How to Freeze Smoked Salmon?

To preserve smoked salmon for a long duration, you need to follow proper procedure while freezing it. Generally speaking, freezing a smoked salmon is an easy job. Follow the below steps to freeze your smoked salmon:

Cut Salmon into fillets or steaks

How do you plan to eat the smoked salmon? Think about how you will cook it after defrosting. Cut it into portions. You can cut the fish into large fillets or small steaks. Else, you can keep it intact.

Use plastic wrap

Fold the plastic wrap over the fish. Keep folding till the salmon is completely wrapped. Press the air out. If there are several pieces of salmon, you can wrap them individually and lastly wrap them together in a plastic cover.

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Add extra layer of security

Now that you’ve wrapped the fish in plastic, it is time that you add an extra layer of security. Vacuum sealer acts as an amazing extra layer of security by completely diminishing the presence of oxygen. Put your plastic wrapped salmon into a vacuum sealer. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, the other way to add an extra layer of protection would be by folding aluminium foil around the wrapped salmon.

Check for any opening

You need to understand that your salmon needs to be sealed completely. Any tiny opening can lead to bad smell, flavor detroitation, and lack of freshness.

Labeling the salmon

There are so many things placed in your freezer. There are high chances that you forget what’s inside the sealer. Hence, put the salmon in an airtight freezer bag and label the bag. Use a permanent marker to write down what’s inside the bag and when are you freezing it.

Time to bid goodbye

Put the sealed salmon in the bottom of the freezer. For best storage condition, set the freezer to 0 F.

How to Defrost Smoked Salmon?

Defrosting a frozen fish is a time consuming process. It definitely requires some patience. If you want to retain the texture and flavor of the fish, it is necessary to thaw it the right way. Else, you will end up destroying the smooth texture and help the bacteria grow. To defrost a smoked salmon, follow the below steps:

  1. Firstly, check the fish once to see if it’s in good shape. If you think it’s worth eating, then proceed ahead.
  2. There are two ways to defrost smoked salmon: by putting it in the refrigerator or by placing it in cold water.
  3. If you have time in hand, place the salmon in the refrigerator 24 hours before you need to use it. Allow the temperature to rise till 35-40 F.  Make sure you remove the packaging so toxin producing bacteria does not develop. Take it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before preheating.
  4. If you want to use the salmon within the next few hours, the best defrost method is to put the sealed salmon in cold water and leave it for the next 3 hours. Firstly, place the salmon in a plastic bag and submerge it in a pot of cold water. Leave it for the next couple of hours.
  5. To check whether the fish has completely defrosted, press your finger against the flesh. If it feels frozen from the middle, keep it submerged in water.
  6. If you want to thaw salmon fillets, run it under cold water for at least 30 mins. Fish fillets are far more thinner. Cold running water is enough to thaw them.

Remember, never-ever defrost a frozen smoked salmon at room temperature. This will give rise to unhealthy bacteria and may also lead to unwanted flavor and bad smell. Also, never put the frozen salmon in hot water. Hot water will thaw the fish unevenly. It will completely change its taste and texture.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Packaged Sliced Smoked Salmon?

Yes, you are free to freeze packaged sliced smoked salmon. Convenient pre-sliced packages of salmon comes as a huge relief when you have less time to cook. You just need to open the package, take the slices out, and cook. If you are yet to open the packet, simply place in it the freezer and you are good to go.

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The best way to freeze a smoked salmon is by using a vacuum sealer. So, it is advisable that you put the packet in a sealed cover, and freeze. This acts as a double layer of safety and will help you preserve the salmon for long.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon Fillets?

Salmon fillets are one of the most used cuts of the fish. It can be frozen and preserved. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take an airtight container
  2. Line the base with greaseproof paper
  3. Place the fillets in the bottom of the container
  4. Put the fillets in a single layer to avoid them freezing together
  5. You’re done.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon After Opening?

Open smoked salmon can be freezed. To maximize the shelf life, keep the smoked salmon refrigerated, and tightly wrapped. After a smoked salmon is opened, it will keep fresh for 1 week. If you want to freeze it, you will have to do it within this 1 week.

To freeze:

  1. Wrap the open salmon tightly in an aluminum foil
  2. Store in a vacuum sealer
  3. Place it in the bottom of the freezer

Are there other ingredients with the salmon?

When frozen correctly, the salmon will stay fresh but this can’t be said for other accompanying ingredients. Creams tend to mostly separate when frozen. Vegetables will lose their cruch if frozen for a longer duration. Your best bet is to place the salmon alone in the freezer.

Is the salmon ready to freeze?

You cannot freeze all kinds of salmon. If it is about to get expired or is already expired, there is no reason to freeze it now. A salmon stays fresh for 5-7 days. If you want to freeze the smoked salmon, do it strictly within these days only.

Can You Freeze Homemade Smoked Salmon?

Yes, it’s definitely possible to freeze homemade smoked salmon. If constantly stored at 0 F, the salmon will last for indefinite time. There are no special procedures that you have to follow. Freeze it like you will freeze the other salmon.

Can You Freeze Sliced Smoked Salmon?

Definitely! You can freeze sliced smoked salmon and preserve it for a long duration. If you have the packet unopened, simply put it in the bottom of the freezer. If you’ve opened the packet, wrap the slices tightly in an aluminium foil, and put it in the freezer.

Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon Dip?

Technically yes. You can freeze smoked salmon dip if really required.

But should you do it is the question only you can answer.

A frozen smoked salmon dip will last for 1 month. But like other dairy products, always be prepared to have opposite outcomes. There are chances that the cream will split. Hence, it is highly advisable that you eat the dip immediately.

But if you have to freeze it, put the dip in an airtight container, and voila! all is done.

What Are The Signs That Smoked Salmon Has Gone Bad?

Irrespective of freezing in the best possible way, there are chances that smoked salmon has spoiled. Here are some of the most obvious signs that it’s time to throw the salmon away:

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Strong, ammonia like smell

Smell the Salmon to see if it has a bad odour. Fresh Salmon has a slightly mild or neutral smell. If there’s a fishy, pungent, and ammonia like smell, the fish has gone bad and can no longer be consumed.

White Mucous layer on the top

The presence of white translucent layer on top of the fish indicates that the salmon has gone bad. Inspect your salmon thoroughly before cooking to see if it has milky film on the top. It is an indication of mold or yeast taking over, and hence you need to throw away the salmon.

Unable to hold together

Are you unable to hold the smoked salmon together? Fresh salmon stays firm. If the fish is breaking away while you are holding it, discard the fish.

Lastly, always follow your intuition. If you feel the fish is no longer fresh, looks uneven, and does not have the raw texture, you better throw it away.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Stay Fresh After Freezing?

According to the FDA, when stored properly a smoked salmon can last for upto 2 months without diminishing. When not exposed to oxygen at all, the fish can be consumed 2 months later in a relatively well condition.

Also, if you store a smoked salmon under 0 F (-18 C), the fish will stay fresh for 6 to 8 months. Although, there will be slight change in texture and color.

Can You Refreeze A Smoked Salmon?

Technically yes, you can. But, should you? No.

Repeatedly freezing a smoked salmon will eventually lead to destruction of texture, taste, and the freshness will not stay intact. Hence, it is best to consume the fish within the provided time slot. Only use the fish you need and keep the other part in the freezer.

Can I thaw a Frozen Fish in a Microwave If I Am in A Hurry?

No. Never. Don’t do it. It is better to wait and thaw the frozen fish by following the above steps then putting it in the microwave hurriedly. This will mess the texture of your fish and make it inedible.

What Happens if My Freezer Suddenly Stops?

If your freezer stops working, do not open the door. Try to determine when it stopped working. Place dry ice. If dry ice is not available, transfer the food in insulated boxes in another freezer. If fixing the freezer will take time, it is best to thaw the smoked salmon and eat it.

Conclusion

Freezing smoked salmon is one the best way to keep its freshness intact. You do not lose the quality, taste, and texture in the process of freezing. Even if you do, it’s minor and largely unnoticeable.

Remember the basics: Freeze when completely sealed, defrost slowly, and if there seems to be something off with the salmon, simply discard it. Better safe, than sorry. Now sprinkle some herbs, toss some vegetables, add a dip, cook the smoked salmon, and enjoy!