How to store and freeze fresh seafood: useful tips

By Jurassic JennJun 21, 2024 10:37 AMFood Life hack
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How to store and freeze fresh seafood
How to store and freeze fresh seafood. Source: consent.yahoo.com

Fresh seafood offers a delightful culinary experience, from flaky white fish to juicy prawns and delicate scallops. To sustain the flavor and quality of your seafood, it is crucial to store it correctly and employ proper freezing methods. Here, we present guidelines on how to store seafood in the fridge, freeze seafood, and effectively defrost it. This was reported by SSPDaily.

Purchasing Seafood:

When buying seafood, make it your final errand before heading home. Utilize a chill bag or esky for transportation, or request the fishmonger to provide a bag of ice. Never leave seafood in a hot car, and ensure it remains refrigerated within one hour. Opting for the freshest and highest quality seafood will yield better storage results. Follow these tips for selecting fresh seafood with confidence.

Storing Seafood in the Fridge:

The following guidelines apply to storing fish fillets, whole fish, cooked and green prawns, squid, and octopus. Live crustaceans, mussels, pippis, and clams require slight variations in storage methods.

  1. Remove seafood from packaging: This allows it to cool faster, as packaging may hinder rapid cooling below the optimal temperature of 5°C.
  2. Place seafood on a plate or tray: Cover it with a damp paper towel and tightly wrap it with cling film. This prevents dehydration and the escape of unpleasant odors.
  3. Position in the coolest part of the fridge: Typically, the lower half of the refrigerator ensures optimal storage conditions.

Storage of Live Crustaceans:

For live crustaceans, place them in a cool, dark room, and cover the container with a damp cloth. Be sure to keep the cloth moist.

Storage of Mussels, Pippis, and Clams:

If these shellfish aren't purchased in sealed bags, rinse them in cold water and leave the container a quarter-filled with fresh water. Cover it with a damp cloth and place it in the warmest part of the refrigerator, such as the top shelves or the crisper section.

Refrigerator Shelf Life for Seafood:

Even the freshest seafood has a limited shelf life when refrigerated. Refer to the guide below to determine when to consume your seafood:

  • Scaled and gutted whole fish: Use within 2-3 days.
  • Fish fillets: Consume within 1-2 days.
  • Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus (rinsed and cleaned): Use within 2-3 days.
  • Green prawns: Consume within 1-2 days.
  • Sashimi: Consume within 24 hours.
  • Oysters: Consume within 2-3 days.
  • Live and uncooked crabs: Consume as soon as possible.
  • Mussels, pippis, and clams: Consume as soon as possible.
  • Cooked prawns and crabs: Use within 2-3 days.
  • Smoked fish: Check the use-by date and consume within one week of opening the package.

Freezing Fresh Seafood:

Freezing seafood offers convenience and allows you to take advantage of seasonal price variations. However, proper care must be taken to avoid freezer burn, which can impact culinary quality. Vacuum sealing is the most effective method for freezer storage. If unavailable, follow these steps:

  1. Wrap tightly in cling film: Remove as much air as possible. For prawns, place them directly inside a sealable container and cover them with water.
  2. Place inside an airtight container: Ensure the container is safe for freezer storage and airtight.
  3. Label and date the container.
  4. Freeze the seafood.
  5. Ideally, use frozen seafood within 3-6 months. Refer to the guidelines below for specific seafood freezing timeframes.

Note: The optimal freezer temperature should reach and maintain -18°C, without fluctuations, for best storage results.

Freezer Storage Time for Seafood:

Refer to the guide below for recommended freezing durations. Remember that all seafood needs to be gutted and cleaned unless otherwise advised.

  • Non-oily fish fillets and whole fish: Up to 6 months.
  • Oily fish fillets and whole fish: Up to 3 months.
  • Mussels, clams, and pippis (meat only): Up to 3 months.
  • Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus: Up to 3 months.
  • Prawns (whole, shell-on): Up to 3 months. (Peeled prawns are not recommended for home freezing.)
  • Other crustaceans (lobster, bugs, crabs): Up to 3 months.

Defrosting Seafood:

Defrosting seafood requires careful planning due to the time it takes. Follow these steps:

  1. Unwrap seafood and place it on a drip tray inside a container. Alternatively, use a cake cooling rack over a baking tray to prevent drying out. Cover with cling film.
  2. If the seafood is vacuum-sealed, immerse it in room temperature tap water in a sink for approximately one hour.
  3. Pat the seafood dry with a paper towel and use immediately.

By following these tips, you can extend the freshness of your seafood and create delectable meals that will delight your taste buds every time.

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