Just how long does fish last in the freezer? Fish can make for a wonderful meal at just about any time of the day, although it is not very common that people eat fish for breakfast. Instead, you could choose to have chowder at lunch or a nice fish sandwich instead, depending on what you are in the mood for. On the other hand, you could wait until later in the day to have a wonderful fish plate for dinner.
Fish comes with a lot of healthy benefits and the choices are just about endless for all of the different kinds of dishes that you can make with your fish. However, there is one limiting factor that you will have to be wary of. You should always make sure that you are cooking with fresh fish. The key to doing this is knowing just how long your fish can last in the freezer.
How Long Does Fish Last In The Freezer?
Ultimately, how long it will last in the freezer depends on the type of fish. Most fish lasts for the same amount of time, give or take a few days or so, but there are some kinds of fish that do not last nearly as long as others. Of course, this is because of the fact that different fish have different molecular structures which can affect how quickly or slowly the fish decays. For the most part, you can expect the fish in your freezer to last a long time, no matter what type of fish it is. It is also a given that fish in the freezer lasts quite a bit longer than fish in the fridge. With all this being said, you can expect your fish to last for the following amounts of time:
- Smoked salmon lasts for 3 to 6 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Salmon lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Cod lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Halibut lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Ono lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Tilapia lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Catfish lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
- Cooked fish lasts for 6 to 9 months in the freezer, past the printed date.
Smoked salmon is the only fish that is a little bit different, lasting for about half the amount of time that most other fish can in the freezer. This is definitely something that you will want to keep in mind when you are thinking about how long your favorite fish will last in the freezer. Compare these dates to keeping fish in the fridge, and you will see that the difference is immense. For instance, most fish doesn’t last more than one or two days in the fridge, aside from cooked fish and smoked salmon. If you are looking to ensure that your fish is staying as fresh as possible, keeping it in the freezer is the best way to go.
How Can You Tell When the Fish Has Gone Bad?
Unfortunately, fish still has an expiration date, even if you put it in the freezer. Because of this, you will still need to keep track of how long the fish has been in there. In some situations, such as leaving the fish in the freezer for upwards of several months, you might forget how long the fish has actually been there. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to check whether or not the fish has gone bad.
First things first, sometimes you can tell whether or not the fish has gone bad simply by looking and touching the fish. Rotten fish will usually be slimy, and the flesh of the fish will almost be “milky,” in a sense. This means that it will have a thick, slippery coating on it that is not really pleasant to touch. These will be the most obvious signs that a fish has gone bad. Do keep in mind that it can be hard to differentiate the normal sliminess of a fish and rotten fish, as both can be slimy to the touch. Usually, it will be far more pronounced with rotten fish, which is good to keep in mind when you work with fish often.
If you are making fish fillets, keep in mind that the fish should glisten as if you have just pulled it out of the water yourself. While you are doing this, smell the fish. If the fish is fresh, it should smell similar to the ocean, but not predominantly fishy. If it smells as if it came from a fish market on a summer day during a heat wave, then there’s a good chance that the fish has gone bad.
Another way that you can check is by looking at the bloodline of the fish, if you can. The bloodline is a strip of muscle that tends to run through the center of the fish. If the fish is fresh, then the bloodline should be red and bloody. Otherwise, the bloodline will look brownish in appearance, and you should consider tossing the fish out in the trash.
If you are working with a whole fish, then you should check its eyes. A healthy, fresh fish is going to have clear eyes, and the scales should all be intact. Otherwise, the eyes will be cloudy and the scales will almost be falling off, or in otherwise poor condition. These are all important features to keep in mind when you are checking the freshness of a fish. After all, nobody wants to eat a bad fish.
Extending the Life of Your Fish
When you are working with fish, it can go bad very quickly if you do not plan on keeping it in the freezer. Because of this, it becomes more important than ever to make sure that you know how to extend the life of your fish whenever possible.
You should always make sure that you are storing fish in as cold a place as you can immediately after you are finished using it. This will help to preserve the freshness of the fish and keep it from decaying for as long as possible. Usually, keeping the fish in the freezer is the best idea, otherwise, you should keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Fish should always be refrigerated or kept on ice when you are working with it, and there are no exceptions to these rules.
When you are storing the fish, keep it in a container that closes tightly, keeps out all moisture and any other contaminants that you can think of. This applies to storing the fish in the freezer, as well. Keeping it in a freezer-safe container is one of the best ways to preserve your fish, no matter what kind of fish it is. If anything, you should always remember that fish need to be kept as cold as possible, and you should do what you can to ensure that this happens.
Do keep in mind that canned fish, sardines, and other forms of this kind of fish keep very differently, and there are different methods for storing this fish. In fact, it is rarely recommended that you keep this kind of fish in the freezer or fridge. It can even shorten the lifespan of these dishes. These rules and guidelines really only apply to fresh fish that you use in meals.