View Poll Results: Freezing salmon, what's your preference

Voters
53. You may not vote on this poll
  • Skin on to protect against freezer burn

    36 67.92%
  • Skin off to minimize off-flavor/smell

    6 11.32%
  • Makes no difference, it's all good

    7 13.21%
  • Never freeze perfectly good salmon

    4 7.55%
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Frozen salmon... your preference?

  1. #1
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default Frozen salmon... your preference?

    When growing up in Alaska, we froze EVERY bit of fish that was ever brought home. New fish was promptly cut, wrapped, and frozen, while the oldest skankiest fish in the freezer was tapped for meals. Never ate a truly fresh piece of salmon the whole time I lived there. Pretty stupid, huh?

    Took a long time to abandon the hoarding frozen fish mentality.

    Completely gave up on freezing fresh salmon last year. Just too dissatisfied with the results from both a taste and texture standpoint. Obviously, NOTHING can beat fresh, so I made a pledge to consume all the catch fresh with family and friends then smoke whatever was left over. Of course that meant no fresh salmon when salmon are not available to catch. Yes the freezer is empty this spring.

    So time to reconsider freezing.

    Growing up the key issue was preventing freezer burn. Before vac-pack, it was all about double wrapping and minimizing exposed flesh by keeping the skin on, and cutting roasts as opposed to fillets to keep exposed surface area to a minimum. Sometimes even freezing smaller salmon whole to keep the meat protected by skin.

    Vac-packing certainly helps but exposed flesh can still "burn" with an airtight seal.

    Lately, I've heard that leaving the skin on (to protect flesh from freezer burn) actually imparts an off taste/flavor to the fish. I've always wondered what that funky frozen salmon smell was all about.... was it from freezer burn? was it the skin? was it that nasty slime that seems to magically proliferate while sitting in a frozen state, unbeknownst to you until you thaw it out?

    So what do folks think for frozen salmon... skin on or skin off?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  2. #2
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Marshall
    Posts
    1,975

    Default That funky smell...

    most likely the fatty acids breakin' down in the aging process...

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,393

    Default

    I've always done skin-on and never had an issue with any off taste. Of course, it's what I'm used to, so perhaps I'm used to it? Regardless, it usually remains good enough quality for sushi through December, for grilling through May, and the rest goes into jars if any is left over when fish start swimming again. I didn't lose more than a few ounces this year to freezer burn, so I'm pretty pleased with my method. Our freezer is almost bare, which is trouble, as I developed quite a taste for salmon salad sandwiches at work this year and am almost out of canned salmon.

    Skin-on also gives me the option of grilling it skin down right on the grill. I don't often go that route, but it's nice to have the option. For what it's worth, I certainly prefer to eat it fresh and won't throw everything in the freezer. I too had to break myself of that childhood habit. I now subscribe to a motto of one of my father's friends: "Always eat the best you've got, because then you're always eating the best you've got." Makes sense to me. Fresh fish goes on the grill or raw over rice, and tenderloins are the first part of the caribou to be cooked.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default freezing fish

    Skin on, yes.

    Rinse the fish before you fillet it and never again. Water in contact with bare meat will degrade it greatly (not just fish; any meat).

    Vacuum pack it without any other crap in there except the fillet with skin on one side and unrinsed fresh meat on the other.

    I use two foodsavers to process fish, and another trick is to not use aftermarket bags; they're too thin. Use the foodsaver bags only.

    And most importantly of all, never but never store it in a frost free fridge; it won't last 6 weeks no matter what else you do. A non frost free freezer will keep it virtually new for one year for fish. Red meat can even go 2 years without being noticeably old.

    Try it, you'll like it.

  5. #5
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    "Always eat the best you've got, because then you're always eating the best you've got."
    Now that's salt of the earth advice!

    Unfortunately it only took me 30 years to figure that one out, Brian.

    BTW congrats and good luck with the new one.

    And I'd ditch any ideas of hittin' the Russian on opening day until AFTER that bundle of joy arrives happy and healthy.... and Momma is reasonably well-rested.

    Happy to freely share that advice. Wouldn't want you to wait 30 yrs to figure that one out the hard way.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  6. #6
    Member fshgde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    alaska
    Posts
    260

    Default freezing

    I tried two different methods last year I froze some filets and dipped them in water refroze and then vacum sealed comparing them to filet and seal. I think the frozen and sealed ons are a little better. You need to defrost water diped ones so they can drain and not sit in water. Also it does take longer to process. I leave on skin as our prefered method to cook is in the grill. I will grill out to point propane doen't flow!!

  7. #7
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    And I'd ditch any ideas of hittin' the Russian on opening day until AFTER that bundle of joy arrives happy and healthy.... and Momma is reasonably well-rested.
    Yeah, yeah...I know. Nothing happening yet, so my chances of fishing the opener are just about vaporized at this point. If the kid ends up being born on the 11th, he/she sure better love fishing for a birthday party.

  8. #8
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    Frozen salmon tastes terrible imo... Yeah I'm spoiled

    I never skin the fish though
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  9. #9

    Default

    Always remove skin. Use a quality vacuum packer.

  10. #10
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post

    Rinse the fish before you fillet it and never again. Water in contact with bare meat will degrade it greatly (not just fish; any meat).
    Count me in the no-rinse camp.

    Esp rinsing in river water. Nothing will start the spoilage process faster!

    The other thing that makes me cringe is to see folks powerwashing their fresh-cut fillets at the cleaning stations. WOW.... what great way to ruin a perfectly good cut of fish!

    Bleed the fish well upon landing it and you won't stain the meat with blood when filleting. Minor spotting can be tidied up with a clean paper towel or barely moist cloth.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  11. #11
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    power commuting twixt the valley and anchorage
    Posts
    803

    Default

    I'm sold on freezing on wax paper, dipping it in brine, freezing it, then vacpac it. Personally I didn't have any freezer burn.

  12. #12
    Member slimm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    shoshone idaho
    Posts
    559

    Default

    Skin on.. I always wrap my fish in cling wrap first then vac-pac..
    The 15/20 Reds i do bring home never last past October anyway so freezer burn isn't much of a problem..

  13. #13
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Makes no differnce to me Doc, I hate Salmon!!!

  14. #14

    Default

    If you have enough freezer space, another way to avoid freezer burn if the fish has been taken care of and chilled as soon as they are caught is to freeze the fish whole. We do that sometimes with dipnetted male sockeyes. The first part of the fish to freezer burn always seems to be the belly, and by freezing them whole, it avoids all exposure to the air. But make sure the fish is taken care of and well chilled first. We do that by letting them soak in a ice/salt bath for a while to get the core temperature down as fast as possible.

    It's probably not ideal but at 2am after cleaning several dozen fish, it works amazingly well.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post

    And most importantly of all, never but never store it in a frost free fridge; it won't last 6 weeks no matter what else you do. A non frost free freezer will keep it virtually new for one year for fish. Red meat can even go 2 years without being noticeably old.

    Try it, you'll like it.
    Lots of double negatives being used but basically I am reading - chest freezer is better than the new ones. If so I would agree. The frost free freezer we have now has led to more damaged food than ever before in my life. Picking up a big freezer for the garage and will utilize that as the main freezer going forward

    We do skin on in the vacuum pac -- we often put two pieces in one pack fish against fish / skin against skin -- anyone see anything negative about that?

  16. #16
    Member Tomcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    293

    Arrow Avoid Frost-Free Freezers

    Absolutely agree with FamilyMan and mikeak...

    My first summer up here, I bought a frost-free upright freezer and packed it full of vacuum-sealed salmon and halibut fillets. Within three months, pretty much everything showed signs of freezer burn. Very disappointing to see my hard-earned bounty degrade so quickly.

    I vented my frustration and sought out the advice of the forum members here leading to some great insight and recommendations. Purchased a manual defrost chest freezer and the result now is that after a year in the ice box my fish look as good as the day I put them in.

    In short, the reason is that manal defrost freezers provide a stable temperature, while frost-free freezer fluctuate above 32 degrees to keep ice from building up. The rising and falling temps affect the quality of the fish and contribute to freezer burn.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default pre-chill your ton-o-reds before filling freezer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    But make sure the fish is taken care of and well chilled first. We do that by letting them soak in a ice/salt bath for a while to get the core temperature down as fast as possible.
    Good point; I've done that too. For those that haven't, it goes like this:

    - use your empty chest freezer to freeze your own one gallon milk jugs of ice; these blocks last much longer in your cooler and doesn't pee water on your food.

    - When you load up all your ice jugs to go get all your winter meat (reds) now load into your again empty chest freezer kitty litter buckets filled with salt water; the salt keeps the water a liquid

    - When you are ready to pile 50 or more fish into your freezer at once you want them all froze solid right away, but they won't if you just pile'm in; the center of the mass won't freeze for some time.

    - So after you vacuum pack each fish, drop it into the 30 below zero salt water. When the buckets are full put the now frozen fish into the freezer. Repeat this step until all fish are processed.

    Cheap and fast quick freeze and homemade ice for your trip. Works like a charm.

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
  •