If you are going to buy a charcoal or electric smoker, then you will be longing for smoked chicken quarters, ribs and the authentic smokehouse flavors that make your mouth water. Smoked salmon is another delicious delicacy that you might be thinking of making.
This is not such a far-fetched idea. Freshwater fish like salmon are ideal to smoke because their true, hidden taste is brought to life by the smoking process. But what can you do if there are any leftovers after you’ve enjoyed your dish? What should you do with them? Can you preserve smoked salmon by freezing it?
Well, the answer to this question is a big fat yes. It is safe to freeze smoked salmon in your fridge. There is nothing to worry about here because smoked salmon, just like jerkies and dried beef, can be stored in a cold environment. Just pack it in an airtight container so that it will retain its quality at an optimal level.
Freezing Smoked Salmon: Some Considerations
Freezing is a convenient approach that can be done with any ingredients, whether they are raw or cooked. Even smoked products that you have bought from the market will have been frozen at least a couple of times already. It is common practice for commercial operations to freeze smoked products. There are several reasons why manufacturers and producers use this method on their food.
The main one is that freezing proves is a practical way to ensure that food does not perish quickly. As you will know, food will quickly go rotten if it is expose to air, heat, and other external detriments in the environment, but freezing smoked salmon properly will keep all those elements at bay and ensures its longevity. As a result, the fish will remain fresh and last for a long time in your kitchen.
The only way to make sure that the smoked salmon you eat has not been frozen is to make it yourself. Freezing food many times is not a good idea, however, as freezing and thawing repeatedly drastically degrades the quality of smoked salmon.
Technically speaking, frozen water molecules are like tiny needles that lacerate the fibers of the meat. Therefore, if you keep on freezing and thawing the meat, you will end up beating the hell out of the fish. As a result, it will lose its freshness. Freezing food multiple times also encourages the growth of bacteria in the fish. Variants like salmonella can easily penetrate the salmon during the thawing procedure, putting you and your family at risk from food poisoning.
How To Freeze Smoked Salmon
Freezing smoked salmon is a pretty easy and straightforward process to do. You just put the fish in an airtight container. It is even better if you dry the fish first before smoking it because the absence of water will reduce the negative impact that thawing can have on the salmon.
Once frozen, the smoked salmon can last from three to six months before its flavor starts to degrade. On the other hand, unopened commercial smoked salmon can last up to three months if you freeze it properly. Meanwhile, opened smoked salmon packages can last up to three days. Fortunately, salmon is a good meat to freeze. Unlike many other ingredients, salmon won't lose much of its flavor and texture, even if it’s frozen for a considerable amount of time.
If there is no need to freeze the salmon, then you can opt for airtight containers that will effectively remove the air. Airtight bags and vacuum seal storages are the best options for this, as air is the primary cause of oxidation.
You should also know that food items containing smoked salmon, like some dips and quiche, can also be frozen. However, you might need to cook them first before you freeze them for safety reasons. The freezing process will also ensure that your food remains delicious, as well as safe to eat. Frozen smoked salmon won't lose its flavor.
Thawing Smoked Salmon
When the time comes to thaw frozen smoked salmon, I would not recommend doing it on your kitchen counter. Instead, you should thaw the meat inside your refrigerator at a temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Although various studies have been carried out which confirm that exposing meat on your kitchen counter will not cause bacterial growth, I still think it is better to be on the safe side with this. Therefore, protect your meat during the thawing process, so that foodborne illnesses won't infect the food.
Can you freeze smoked salmon? Of course, you can! This is always a recommended practice if you are not planning to eat the fish straight away. If you can do this, you will be able to preserve it properly. Moreover, the freezing process will guarantee that your fish remains fresh, flavorful and safe to eat for a long time.
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