Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: How do you freeze your fish efficiently?

  1. #1
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ANC
    Posts
    687

    Question How do you freeze your fish efficiently?

    I just put over 150lbs of fillets in the freezer this weekend and to facilitate the fish freezing asap I had to move the fillets around in three different freezers. The process of clearing space in said freezers so I can lay the packages flat with out stacking them, then rotating fillets from one rack to the next as some racks cool the meat faster. Then once the usable space is full waiting a few hours for the fish in the freezer to mostly freeze before stacking it to add more packages to the freezer. This took quite a bit of time and in fact added about 4-6 hrs to the task of processing.

    I ran into this a few weeks ago with a similar amount of halibut... the process was lengthy due to the freeze aspect.

    I have also been told that putting a large mass of meat in a freezer without spacing it out will shorten the life of most home freezers. I have also noticed that the packages in the middle often take 2-3 days to freeze; which can't be good for the meat.

    Are there commercial packaging shops like 10th&M that will allow you to bring the packaged fillets to them to freeze for a few hours for a fee?

    Any other ideas?
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Post Here's how to fast-freeze it yourself - almost for free

    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    This took quite a bit of time and in fact added about 4-6 hrs to the task of processing.

    I ran into this a few weeks ago with a similar amount of halibut... the process was lengthy due to the freeze aspect.

    I have also been told that putting a large mass of meat in a freezer without spacing it out will shorten the life of most home freezers. I have also noticed that the packages in the middle often take 2-3 days to freeze; which can't be good for the meat.

    Any other ideas?
    Definitely agree with you that taking days to be frozen is not the best.

    I agree that it will shorten its freezer life, but possibly it only shortens its life once thawed? Anyone know?

    I do know one way to solve your problem, and its not expensive at all; the downside is that its time consuming, but hey, you're already putting in more hours, so instead put in two+ more hours doing this way, below, and your fish will definitely freeze faster, and require far less to no rotating daily to get-em-froze:

    Free Fast-Freezing at Home:

    Before you will bring home lots of fish, you must already have a bunch of empty (two? three? in your case Archer?) freezer space, so fill all that space two weeks earlier with lidded 5 gal buckets of super-salt-solution (a potato will float) filled only to 3/4 way each.

    By the time you return from the sea with your bounty, that salt water will still be most-all water, still, even though its at 10 below zero.

    Bring out those cold buckets from your freezer when you're at the point to add fish to the freezer. Instead, bring out a bucket and add the vacuum packed meat to the 10-below water. It'll freeze really fast; squeeze it & you'll know when.

    When fillets in bucket are frozen, remove, wipe them down, and toss'm in the now empty freezer.

    Repeat until done. Or: If you're at the point where your super-salt is only slightly below freezing and becomes ineffective to fast freeze, hopefully by then you're placing your vacuum packs on the very top of the eventual pile (and thus will freeze fast because they're on top). In this case, still give each some time in the cold water, since that's cooling-work that the freezer-motor will not need to perform, letting it get all contents back to long-term cold temps (10 below here).

    With this method the most frozen fillets are on the bottom, so no need to rotate to freeze. And everything is frozen more-quickly, with the ones at the bottom of the pile that you'll eat 11 months from now will have been the soonest and fastest frozen.

    Feel free to add to this "recipe" if you try it. It was told to me verbally, and years later I tried it twice and it worked outstandingly both times.

  3. #3
    Member chico99645's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Familyman, the water in the bucket thing sounds like an great idea. Might have to try that.

    Most of the time, I have th luxury of having access to several commercial vacuum sealers and a huge walk in freezer. When I don't, I use a smaller vacuum sealer from AK Butcher Supply. Any salmon for me, the meat never touches water. I scale them, rinse and pat them dry, filet and stack the filets with meat touching meat. Then I cut in sections and vacuum seal. I put them in small baskets (grocery store size) which stack nicely in the freezer to allow air to flow all around them. Once frozen, I place them in brown paper grocery sacks and stack them in the freezer. Makes it easier to find stuff and move stuff around without handling them and taking a chance to crack a seal. All white meat fish get rinsed, patted dry and them processed the same way. When I have alot in the freezer, I check baskets, and the peices on top if frozen I move to the bags at that time to allow more airflow. One thing I always do is keep my freezers full with frozen milk jugs or 2 litter bottles with ice in them to fill the voids. I've had great luck with salmon still good over a year old as well as halibut and rockfish. IMO, thawing is the key. I take it out of the package frozen, place in ice water in a large bowl and as soon as its thawed, I cook it.

  4. #4
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ANC
    Posts
    687

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post

    I put them in small baskets (grocery store size) which stack nicely in the freezer to allow air to flow all around them.
    That's what I am looking for! Now its time to raid the local Freddy's for some baskets...
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  5. #5
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ANC
    Posts
    687

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post

    Before you will bring home lots of fish, you must already have a bunch of empty (two? three? in your case Archer?) freezer space, so fill all that space two weeks earlier with lidded 5 gal buckets of super-salt-solution (a potato will float) filled only to 3/4 way each.
    This is a solid idea as well.... How much salt is needed per 5 gallon bucket to make your "super-salt-solution"?
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  6. #6
    Member chico99645's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    That's what I am looking for! Now its time to raid the local Freddy's for some baskets...

    As much as I would have loved to hit Freddies since their baskets are extremely durable, I think I got mine at Wally World for a few bucks a peice. I need to get more as they get brittle.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default How to make "super-salt" solution:

    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    This is a solid idea as well.... How much salt is needed per 5 gallon bucket to make your "super-salt-solution"?
    There are two ways to make super-salt; a really easy way and a harder/longer way. I choose the latter method, but here are both:

    Easy:
    Fill your 5 gal bucket almost half full, to maybe half full. Add salt until no more dissolves, an instead it just stays visible as a white powder and you can see it on the bottom. Done.

    Hard:
    Use a very large boiler ~5 gal. Boil about half or just more than that, then add salt until it no longer dissolves. Let it cool. Pour the top (liquid) off to use as your super-salt, and then immediately start another batch of super-salt in the boiler by adding water, re-boiling, adding more salt as needed, etc... Repeat until you have enough. Using this "hard" method (yeah, its just boiling water...) you'll notice that as it cools more salt turns from a liquid back into a solid. This is just the formulation of the substance changing as the solubility point of the water changes (it changes with temp-change; hot water can hold more salt). I choose this "hard" method because this way you're absolutely guaranteed to have water at its exact solubility point.

    I buy my salt cheap at that feed store (AK FEED?) in ANC down by Ship Creek, close to the Ulu Factory; it is food grade salt. Non-iodized salt should be used, but you won't die of iodine poisoning if you choose the iodized kind.

    I use a super-salt as the base for my salmon cure when smoking fish; so the process above is one I do a lot.

    Oh, and chico: nice point about the no-water. I thought I was just about the only guy that cares about putting no-water on meat that will be frozen. I do the same for big game meat too. I'm kind of a nut about game-care and food quality.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Knik
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Large chunks of any sort of material are going to take time to freeze if the cold is insulated from the center by a large mass. Once I realized this years back and was moving stuff around at least once a day to make sure all got cold as fast as possible, I thought of an easier way. First make sure you have plenty of freezer space. Then get hold of several racks from an old refrigerator, or oven, and a pile of scrap blocks of 2"X4", or 4X4s. Put a block on each corner of the rack higher than the height of any package of the vacuum packed or freezer wrapped fish. Fill that layer with some gap in-between each piece and then stack another rack on top and continue until all your fish is in the freezer with room around the stack of racks. Good cold air can now get to all the packages pretty evenly, and short of having it commercially fast frozen, this seems to work for me.



  9. #9
    Member chico99645's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Oh, and chico: nice point about the no-water. I thought I was just about the only guy that cares about putting no-water on meat that will be frozen. I do the same for big game meat too. I'm kind of a nut about game-care and food quality.

    I agree, I would never dream of letting water touching meat as well. Keep it clean, dry and cool and let mother nature take care of the rest. If I have to remove any hair, I use a mildly damp washcloth only so it adheres to it, but that is all.

    I do lightly rinse white meat fish if there is some blood, then I skin it and pat it all dry with lots of papertowels I cringe when I see folks filet halibut, leave the skin on, don't rinse it, throw it all into a bag or cooler blood, slime and all, and they wonder why their fish is dingy colored and tastes a little fishy after a few days. My halibut and rockfish are white as snow when it hits the bag.

  10. #10

    Default

    I like that salt water idea. Good quality fish, killed and bleed and gutted quickly and kept as cold as possible. As soon as you can when your home keep the fillets clean and vac pack them as soon as possible. Try to avoid stacking and have the freezer on set as cold as possible.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •