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Can I thaw and re-freeze halibut and rockfish

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  • Can I thaw and re-freeze halibut and rockfish

    I was on a successful charter and caught some rock- fish and Halibut. The charter company vacuum sealed the fillets in large chunks (3-4 lbs.) My wife and I cannot eat that much at one time. Can I thaw the fillets, cut off what we can eat and re-freeze them?

    Thanks for the information.

  • #2
    You can, but I bet you won't like the results. Thawing and refreezing breaks down the cell walls and they lose moisture like crazy. You can literally wring the water out of them like a dishrag. What's left is really rubbery and often doesn't taste so hot either.

    Our solution to such a block is to take a meat saw to the frozen hunk-o-fish. If you don't have one, get a course hacksaw blade, wash it in soap and water to get rid of the oils, then saw away. Only takes a few seconds unless it's a really thick block. Reseal the piece you want for later and toss it back in the freezer.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    • #3
      You could do that but your fish will not be as good.
      I certainly wouldn't do it myself.
      It is never recommended to thaw and refreeze any kind of meat or fish.
      As a reminder next time be sure and ask for your fish to be sealed in a smaller portion size.
      "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

      "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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      • #4
        That's a great suggestion Brown Bear...good on ya!!!

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        • #5
          If you let it only slightly thaw, meaning still mostly frozen, you can cut it with a regular knife and put the unused portion back in the freezer without any noticeable affect.

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          • #6
            a heavy duty knife, and a soft mallet or other striking device on a chopping block works fine to. put the knife on the fish and hit the back of the blade.

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            • #7
              Just a thought....frozen fish does not get better over time, so why not enjoy it while it is still prime? Consider thawing a 3-4 lb package as the op describes and consume the contents over several days. Make some fish tacos, experiment with some fish soup recipes...there's a zillion recipes online for any preparation you could imagine..pan fry some or bake. doesn't take long to use that small amount of fish. All the other suggestions are great...I have a band saw and for long tern storage, I first freeze them solid unwrapped then cut them however I want. Stuff I figure I will use in 90 days gets water glazed once and into ziplock freezer bags. Anything that I figure will be frozen beyond 90 days gets the foodsaver treatment.

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              • #8
                I found this chart handy, after coming home after 6 days to find the freezer door cracked a couple inches. That was a month ago, and no intestinal issues so far :-)

                http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/frozen_food.html

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Garyak View Post
                  Just a thought....frozen fish does not get better over time, so why not enjoy it while it is still prime? Consider thawing a 3-4 lb package as the op describes and consume the contents over several days. Make some fish tacos, experiment with some fish soup recipes...there's a zillion recipes online for any preparation you could imagine..pan fry some or bake. doesn't take long to use that small amount of fish. All the other suggestions are great...I have a band saw and for long tern storage, I first freeze them solid unwrapped then cut them however I want. Stuff I figure I will use in 90 days gets water glazed once and into ziplock freezer bags. Anything that I figure will be frozen beyond 90 days gets the foodsaver treatment.
                  +1

                  My typical routine on a large bag of thawed fillets is to cook some that day, while the rest gets puts into portion-sized ziplocs with whatever marinade/seasoning so it really gets the flavors worked in. Only takes a few days to go through that much fish, and it'll be fine in the fridge for that time.

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                  • #10
                    Find a new charter company. Chunks that big are just lazy.
                    Alaska Wide Open Charters
                    www.alaskawideopen.com
                    907-965-0130

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 270ti View Post
                      Find a new charter company. Chunks that big are just lazy.
                      That was my first thought, but I was being polite!

                      There is zero excuse for sending clients home with fish in packages too big to use.
                      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                      Merle Haggard

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                      • #12
                        Thawing and refreezing any seafood or fish is never recommended. I like the comments about cutting it while frozen and repackaging it. I've done this in the past with salmon that people have given me and it works great. One other option is to just cook the larger pieces and invite friends to dinner, or use the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
                        “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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                        • #13
                          So I've never fished out or Seward/Whittier. Exactly what's the norm for handling clients catches in that neck of the woods? Here most charter boats deliver to a local processor. They pull up to the pier, crane a 1200lb tote down to the boat, one of the kids climbs down the ladder and the guys deal face to face with the procesors. Charter capts don't really deal with the fish here at all. If the client wants 1.5lb packages skin off, that's what they get.
                          Life's too short for an ugly boat

                          Blaze N Abel Charters
                          Kodiak, AK
                          www.alaska-fish.com
                          https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

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                          • #14
                            Agree with what's been stated thus far, and I have a couple other ideas for you: If you defrost a large portion and only cook some of it that day, it will remain just fine in the refrigerator for another couple days. Also, certain ways of cooking it will keep better / make better leftovers. For instance, if you grill it or bake it, it will be really good that day, but reheating it never yields quite the same result. So what I do with uncooked portions or even leftovers is make fish tacos or a seafood chowder with it. Both really easy to make and will keep at least a week in the fridge while you eat on it and taste just as good as the first day you made it. Chowder is also a good use of fish that gets freezer burned. Most times, it restores it to the point that you can't even tell anything's wrong with it. Always request smaller packages though, for everything. You can always take out two packages, but you can't defrost half of something.
                            My signature is awesome.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for all the advise!!

                              How about canning the halibut and rockfish. Has anyone done this and if so do you just put water in the jar?

                              Thanks again

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