Can you freeze fresh fish from the supermarket? You are likely to ask this when you buy packaged fish, which may have been kept cool but never frozen.
Obviously, the best option is to cook and eat your fish as soon as possible, but what if you want to save it for later?
Is it safe to freeze fish purchased from a supermarket, even if it has been thawed in the car while bringing it home?
Yes, you can freeze fish you have just bought from the supermarket but you should follow the storage guidelines correctly to get the best results.
Can You Freeze Fresh Fish from the Supermarket?
Of course, you can.
Most people do not like the idea of freezing fish, yet it is preferable to freeze it and then let it spoil.
And the good thing is that there are certain ways to speed up the freezing procedure if you find yourself in such a position.
When freezing, you want the procedure to start and finish as soon as feasible.
In case you have access to a blast freezer, now is the time to put it to good use.
If you do not have a deep freezer, you can get the job done just as fast with a standard home freezer.
An Important Consideration
Fish frozen at home never acts exactly the same as fresh fish does. The flavor might concentrate, and the water content can decrease.
As a result, moist cooking methods, such as poaching or braising, will yield better results than dry ones, such as grilling or roasting.
Tip: Be sure to remove the packaging from the fish or else it will be difficult to remove deli paper or butcher paper once it is frozen.
Why Buy Fresh and Freeze When You Can Buy Frozen?
Many people say this when it comes to buying fish, but sometimes, it is better to buy fresh produce and freeze it to use later.
It is Still Better than Pre-Frozen Fish
If you buy fresh and freeze it, know that it is much better than pre-frozen packages.
Moreover, compared to the pre-frozen options, the variety and number of species available are much greater for fresh fish.
It is Easier to Find Good Fish
You can examine the whole fish in its natural state and make an informed decision on its size, freshness, quality, characteristics, and so on.
You do not have this luxury when buying pre-frozen fish.
It Maintains Texture for Longer
Fresh fish is a better option because the texture and flavor are always well-preserved.
In fact, you can use it for delicate preparations like grilling so long as you do not wait too long before freezing it.
So, it is quite evident that buying fresh and freezing it is a much better option in many situations.
Just ensure that the fish is truly fresh.
Local supermarkets frequently label thawed fish as “ready to eat” and give customers verbal advice to not refreeze the item at the time of purchase.
How Do You Freeze Fresh Fish From Supermarket?
Can you freeze whole fish? Yes, you can, but you need to follow the right storage guidelines to make that happen.
But, it is always better to store individual fish fillets to keep them fresh for longer.
Tip: Always use the flaked ice option in the freezer or make sure to store your fish in a slurry of ice cubes.
How Do You Handle the Storage Process?
How you store your fish in the freezer will greatly impact its shelf life. Here are the steps to follow.
Step #1: Get a Cookie Sheet
To do it properly, you should use a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. Ensure that the size is large enough to fit in the freezer.
Step #2: Set the Fillets
Separate your fish fillets with paper towels and spread them out in a layer on the plastic wrap.
Cover the fish on the tray with more wrap and pop it in the freezer!
Step #3: Remove the Fillets
The fish fillets can be removed from the freezer after a couple of hours; at that point, they will be completely frozen and easy to handle.
After this, the fish can be placed in a freezer-safe plastic bag – be sure to squeeze out the air before sealing it.
Note: This method also works nicely for freezing squid and shrimp. Frozen fish is safe to eat for up to 30 days after being frozen.
How Can You Freeze the Whole Fish?
Cleaning a whole fish entails rinsing it in cold water and drying it off with a clean towel.
Scale the fish first. You can do it simply by running the back of a spoon in case you cannot find a descaler.
Be sure to keep the skin intact; it will help keep the fish from drying out while you wait for it to cook.
If you are going to be cooking the fish whole, then by all means freeze it that way. If you do not do it, portion it out into 3/4-inch fillets and freeze them.
You can freeze them independently, then take out what you need from the freezer and let it defrost gradually.
It is a good idea to cut up any large pieces of fish before freezing them, especially if they are delicate like smoked haddock or salmon.
What to Remember When Freezing Fish from the Supermarket?
Fish frozen in water usually loses part of its flavor after being thawed. However, when frozen properly in an airtight container, fresh fish can keep for up to six months.
Getting your own fish? Keep the fish chilled on ice (to avoid drying it out) and in a container with a high bottom.
It will help ensure that the excess water can drain out before cleaning.
What’s more, you should not let the fish become too warm!
Avoid letting the fish flop around on harsh surfaces, as this can cause bruising and other deformities.
Note: If you are going to be on the road for a while, you should still keep the fish cool by draining the water at regular intervals until you get a chance to clean and store them.
How Long Can You Freeze Fish from the Supermarket?
You have to understand that not all fish have the same shelf life.
You should follow certain general guidelines for different types of fish while storing using different ways.
How Long Can You Store Lean-White Fish?
For instance, you can store lean white-fleshed fish, such as hake, snapper, bass, haddock, pollock, flounder, and monkfish for up to 3-5 days.
The same holds for pelagic fish, such as swordfish and tuna, as well as other members of the salmonid family, such as salmon, char and trout.
Tip: Waste no time freezing fish after wrapping it in moisture-vapor-resistant paper or placed in freezer bags and labeled.
How Long Can You Store Oily Fish?
It is a good idea to consume oily fish within three days of purchase. This is especially true for sardines, bluefish, mackerel, and mahi mahi.
In case you buy skate, it is best to cook it the same day.
It is mainly because rays, sharks, and skate have a high level of urea that can convert into ammonia over time.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Fresh Fish?
When defrosting, you need to be careful. Understand that defrosting too quickly would ruin the fish even if it was properly frozen.
Also, the microwave is out of the question because it will make the fish spongy and overcook the thinner parts.
To keep the fish’s texture, it should be defrosted slowly (and taste).
How to Do It?
We suggest letting it defrost in the fridge for at least 24 hours. It might need longer in case you have frozen a large piece or whole fish.
You can keep it in the freezer bag, but make sure to remove any water that collects by tipping the bag every so often.
If something is small and you neglected to take it out of the freezer, you can defrost it by holding it under cool running water.
Ensure the water is slightly cooler than room temperature.
The process is time-consuming, and your fingers will become quite chilly, but it is better than destroying the food in the microwave.
Tip: Remember air is not on your side while freezing fish, as exposure to cold air for an extended period of time makes it lose texture and flavor.
When you buy large quantities of fish, it is natural to ask, “Can you freeze fresh fish from the supermarket?”
And the good news is that you yes you can, and you should actually.
Just make sure you follow all the storage guidelines in the letter. And it is essential to waste no time freezing it right after you buy it.