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Properly thawing your vacuum sealed fish?

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  • 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
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

  • #2
    If the fish is dry after cooking, it's not an issue with the thawing process.

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    • #3
      I was always told to cut the seal when you start thawing it, that might help with the dryness.....maybe, maybe not.
      Vegetables arenít food, vegetables are what food eats.

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      • #4
        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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        • #5
          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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          • #6
            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? ALASKADIPNETTING.NET

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            • #7
              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?
              Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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              • #8
                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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                • #9
                  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.
                  Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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                  • #10
                    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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                    • #11
                      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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                      • #12
                        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.
                        "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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                        • #13
                          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.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            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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                            • #15
                              You wrap the fillet in plastic then insert into vac-plastic bag?

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