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Thread: Properly thawing your vacuum sealed fish?

  1. #1

    Default Properly thawing your vacuum sealed fish?

    Hi guys,

    Gave some salmon to a friend of mine last year and they made some but said it came out really dry. I know they are usually good cooks so I thought maybe they did not thaw the fish properly, or perhaps I did not care for the fish properly when I vacuum sealed it.

    I too have noticed on occasion that my fish was more dry than when cooked fresh, and was wondering if you guys had any tips on preventing this?

    I usually pat my fish dry before vacuum sealing, but when thawed, there is so much juice in the bag.


    thanks in advance
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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    If the fish is dry after cooking, it's not an issue with the thawing process.

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    I was always told to cut the seal when you start thawing it, that might help with the dryness.....maybe, maybe not.

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    I usually thaw fish in the refrigerator for a day or two - whatever it takes. If you force it, like in the microwave, it will sure as heck be dry. I have had dry halibut but never a problem with reds or silvers. I usally marinate in half teryaki/half water for about 30 min and then BBQ. I brush with melted butter and dilll when done........always moist and tasty!

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gusdog44 View Post
    I usually thaw fish in the refrigerator for a day or two - whatever it takes. If you force it, like in the microwave, it will sure as heck be dry. I have had dry halibut but never a problem with reds or silvers. I usally marinate in half teryaki/half water for about 30 min and then BBQ. I brush with melted butter and dilll when done........always moist and tasty!
    That's a good point gusdog. Thawing in the microwave may very well lead to dry fish as the often the thawing process inadvertantly begins to cook the fish. As we all know, an overcooked fish will almost certainly be dry.

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Always remember to cut open your vacuum bag at the start of the thawing process. Leaving it sealed they say draws moisture out of the fish.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Always remember to cut open your vacuum bag at the start of the thawing process. Leaving it sealed they say draws moisture out of the fish.
    yeah I remember reading this elsewhere so Im happy you guys confirmed this.

    What about all that extra moisture/juice when it thaws? Is that pretty normal for you guys as well? Or am I messing something up during the vacuum sealing?
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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    yeah I remember reading this elsewhere so Im happy you guys confirmed this.

    What about all that extra moisture/juice when it thaws? Is that pretty normal for you guys as well? Or am I messing something up during the vacuum sealing?
    Thats a result of freezing. The moisture within the cells of the fish expands as it freezes and breaks down the cell wall, then when thawing, some of that moisture/juice oozes out. Everything else being equal, whether you break the seal or not, the moisture will still come out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Thats a result of freezing. The moisture within the cells of the fish expands as it freezes and breaks down the cell wall, then when thawing, some of that moisture/juice oozes out. Everything else being equal, whether you break the seal or not, the moisture will still come out.
    Thanks. I figured since I see it with everything I freeze.

    I always pat my fish dry to get a nice crust on it but wondered if there was anything else I can do.

    I'll pierce a hole in the bag from now on and see if it makes a difference but from what you guys are telling me, he probably just over-cooked it. Same with my dry batches. I probably just mess up with the cooking.
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    I don't get near as much water in the bag when I cut a hole in the bag. The vacuum pressure sucks the juice out of the meat while it is thawing.

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    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    I aslo pat dry fish before freezing and then ALWAYS wrap the fillet in plastic wrap before vac sealing. The additional plastic wrap layer prolongs freshness/life in the freezer. I thaw salmon in fridge completely but believe halibut must be closely watched and cooked just as it thaws or even a little frostystill. Good Luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    Hi guys,

    Gave some salmon to a friend of mine last year and they made some but said it came out really dry. I know they are usually good cooks so I thought maybe they did not thaw the fish properly, or perhaps I did not care for the fish properly when I vacuum sealed it.

    I too have noticed on occasion that my fish was more dry than when cooked fresh, and was wondering if you guys had any tips on preventing this?

    I usually pat my fish dry before vacuum sealing, but when thawed, there is so much juice in the bag.


    thanks in advance
    I usually put the whole package in a dish of water and let it sit for several hours and slowly thaws out nicely. Works great on Halibut.
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    I do the same as pike_palace. I put the frozen vacuum bag in the sink, no hole in it, with some room temp water and thaw it out. Works great and I've never had dry fish. I've done it with halibut, rock fish, salmon, shrimp, etc.

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    Member oldmil007's Avatar
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    Default I don't know exactly why this seems to work but...

    ...try rinsing/soaking your fillets in a mild saltwater brine for a few minutes (1 TBLSP of non-iodised salt / 1 gal of fresh water) before you pat them dry and vacuum seal them. Something to do with osmosis I think. Anyway, they seem to stay jucier.

    My son who's a chef tells me to thaw the (non punctured) vac sealed packages out by letting them sit in COLD water. Takes about 2 hours for a 1 1/2 lb pkg. Otherwise I do like AKluvr95 and just let them thaw in the refrigerator unless Ma's in a hurry for a good feed of fish.

    - Jay

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    You wrap the fillet in plastic then insert into vac-plastic bag?

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    If the fish is dry after cooking, it's not an issue with the thawing process.
    BINGO! Sounds like the salmon was overcooked. I just did some last night on the grill... didn't puncture the bag or anything, just let it thaw in the fridge. Texture was perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    Hi guys,

    Gave some salmon to a friend of mine last year and they made some but said it came out really dry. I know they are usually good cooks so I thought maybe they did not thaw the fish properly, or perhaps I did not care for the fish properly when I vacuum sealed it.

    I too have noticed on occasion that my fish was more dry than when cooked fresh, and was wondering if you guys had any tips on preventing this?

    I usually pat my fish dry before vacuum sealing, but when thawed, there is so much juice in the bag.


    thanks in advance

    Did your friends store the fish for a while before they got around to cooking it? If so, and they have a frostless freezer, that could also be a factor in the degree of dryness in the fish.

    I prefer to thaw it in the refrigerator if I have time, and in the sink in cool water if I am in a hurry. Trying to rush the process with warm water seems to be hard on the fish.

    Big_E

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I think people who don't cook a lot of fish, have a tendency to over cook it.. = dry fish... Until this thread popped up, I had never heard all the various way one is "supposed to" thaw out fish... On Fish day at our house, I usually receive direction from the Petty Officer in Charge of Laundry and Morale to get some fish out of the freezer (in the Shop).. By Direction I lay the vac packed fish fillet on a platter on the counter, where it thaws out by mid afternoon. At that point I either marinate it with some super gormet sauce and liberally sprinkle it with lemon pepper or I liberally sprinkle it with some really great "rub" called Kansas city rub, made by a guy who lives in Dallas... Who probably stole it from some chef in Narhlins... After lighting the grill, I let it warm up a bit, then Laying down a sheet of foil, I place the fillet on the foil, turn the (gas) grill down to low. At this point I either pop a top, or draw a pint and in the time it takes me to enjoy a cool one the fish is usually done.... and it ain't dry...

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    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKohler1 View Post
    You wrap the fillet in plastic then insert into vac-plastic bag?
    Yes. This keeps both fish and game fresher much longer and you avoid not only freezer burn but the lighter freezer nip as well. Also place fillets meat to meat with skin side out when possible for added protection. For game we de-bone in the field, leave everything as big roasts. This further protects the meat from frost and when we want steaks we cut them as they thaw.

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    Another thing I just remembered is that his mom has a heart condition and is not supposed to eat any fatty foods at all.
    I cant even find butter at their place in the morning for toast.
    Im guessing they did not marinate it in anything neither so that was not an option.

    I spoke to him right before I started this thread and just told him to not cook it as long as long next time.

    They should have made more this weekend so I hope they did better with it.
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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