We all love salmon for its delicious flavor. But face it, no one wants to risk eating expired fish, even if it’s salmon.
Freezing and thawing, therefore, is common. So what’s after that? How long can thawed salmon stay in the fridge?
This guide will answer those questions with more interesting insights. You can be more confident in handling your precious salmon.
Put on your chef hat, and let’s get started!
How Long Can Thawed Salmon Stay in the Fridge?
Our restaurant has a very specific rule regarding this, which is to only allow storing thawed salmon for a maximum of two days in the fridge.
As you may know, after this time, bacteria will breed in the flesh, spoiling your fish.
There are three ways to thaw frozen salmon, including keeping it in the fridge, soaking it in cold water, and quickly defrosting it in the microwave.
The lifespan of thawed salmon in the refrigerator differs depending on how you thaw it.
Thawed in the Fridge
You can put frozen salmon in the fridge overnight. The cold temperature there allows it to defrost slowly. After thawing, salmon can still be good in your fridge for about two days.
This method is the most recommended as it ensures the salmon thaws at a constant, safe temperature, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.
It’s important to note that the countdown begins as soon as the fish is fully thawed.
Thawed in Cold Water
If you need to thaw your salmon quickly, immersing it in cold water is a viable option.
Place the salmon in a sealed bag and submerge it fully in cold water. The salmon should defrost in approximately one hour for every pound of weight.
However, the downside of this method is that the salmon must be cooked immediately after it’s thawed, as the warmer temperature can encourage bacterial growth. Therefore, this method doesn’t really allow for storage in the fridge afterwards.
If, for some reason, you cannot cook the salmon right after thawing it in cold water, you should avoid using this method.
Thawed in the Microwave
The fastest thawing method is microwaving your frozen food. However, you need to be careful not to start cooking the fish accidentally. Use the ‘defrost’ function and set the timer according to the weight of the fish.
Like the cold water method, salmon thawed in the microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing.
The microwave can cause certain parts to heat up and start cooking, making those areas prone to bacterial growth if not cooked right away. As such, salmon thawed in the microwave should not be stored in the fridge afterwards.
Remember, if you’re unable to cook the salmon immediately after microwaving, it’s best to avoid this thawing method. Always aim for methods that ensure food safety and maintain the quality of your salmon.
How Shouldn’t You Keep Thawed Salmon In The Fridge for A Long Time?
Preserving the quality of thawed salmon requires precautionary measures, failing which can lead to spoilage.
First off, you should not store the salmon in the door of the fridge or in any area that experiences temperature fluctuations. Instead, keep it in the coldest part of the fridge, usually the back.
Additionally, avoid leaving the thawed salmon at room temperature for prolonged periods as this accelerates bacterial growth. It’s equally necessary not to re-freeze thawed salmon as this can degrade its texture and taste.
Lastly, never leave the fish unwrapped. Use airtight containers or sealable bags to minimize exposure to air as this can lead to a condition called “freezer burn,” which negatively impacts the salmon’s flavor and texture.
How Do You Tell If Thawed Salmon Has Gone Bad?
We’ve gone through the question “How long can thawed salmon stay in the fridge”, it’s also extremely essential for people to know some signs indicating whether thawed salmon still good or not.
In fact, thawed salmon only lasts in your fridge for two days. But if it hasn’t reached the limit, do not consume it when you notice the following spoilage signs.
One of the most impressive characteristics of salmon is its vivid color, which can be pink or orange, depending on the species.
If the thawed salmon in your fridge becomes gray or dull and has dark spots, do not use it anymore.
Touch the thawed salmon to check if it’s still edible. It should have a firm texture that bounces back when you press it. On the other hand, if the fish gives you a mushy impression, throw it away.
Spoiled salmon has an intense fishy smell. Sometimes, you may even notice an ammonia-like odor from your fish. Meanwhile, it should have a mild, ocean-like scent to prove its safety for consumption.
How to Use Up Thawed Salmon Before It Goes Bad
Hurry up! Your thawed salmon has only two days left to stay edible in the fridge. If you don’t know what to do with it, we have some excellent ideas here:
- Salmon tacos: Roast your thawed salmon while preparing the accompaniments, and go ahead. Although salmon is not the best ingredient for tacos, you can really make a tasty dish out of it.
- Salmon salad: You can transform any salad into a refreshing dish by cooking thawed salmon and sliding it into your bowl. Green salad and cucumber noodles go best with it.
- Salmon sandwiches: Just slip a large piece of cooked salmon between the bread. Then, you will have a quick, nutritious, and tasty breakfast.
- Salmon hamburgers: Add salmon, an egg, breadcrumbs, and some herbs between the buns, then there you go.
Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Defrosted Salmon
After thawing, salmon has a short lifespan. To lengthen it, please bear in mind these tips:
- Wrap your salmon in aluminum foil or plastic wrap tightly. In this manner, air can’t reach the fish and spoil it.
- Remember to keep the thawed salmon in the coldest part of your fridge, as it helps slow down bacterial development.
- Only thaw your frozen fish in the refrigerator. If you defrost it in the microwave or cold water, you must cook it immediately.
- If you don’t plan to use the salmon within the next two days, freeze it. This method allows your fish to last for months.
- Cooked salmon has a longer lifespan than raw salmon. Hence, consider cooking your fish before storing it. Also, remember to cool it down before putting it in the fridge.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Salmon?
Besides knowing clearly about “how long can thawed salmon stay in the fridge”, many people have posed the question of whether it is bad or good to refreeze defrosted salmon.
Actually, you can refreeze partially defrosted salmon if you haven’t exposed it to room temperature for more than two hours.
Meanwhile, refreezing fully thawed salmon is also possible if you thawed it in the fridge. Other defrosting methods will put the fish in a dangerous temperature zone.
So how to refreeze thawed salmon? The process is similar to freezing it. Please follow these steps to do it properly:
- Seal your salmon in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
- Label the storage date.
- Put the container in the freezer.
Storing salmon in the freezer can help maximize its lifespan because the low temperatures prevent bacterial growth.
You should divide the fish into small portions to avoid thawing and refreezing salmon multiple times. Then, you can thaw the needed salmon quantity for a meal. Also, here are cases where you shouldn’t refreeze your salmon:
- Do not refreeze the salmon that you have left on your kitchen countertop for more than two hours.
- If you have kept raw salmon in your fridge for more than two days, do not put it in the freezer even when it looks good. The same rule applies to cooked salmon that has stayed there for more than four days.
Why Shouldn’t You Thaw Frozen Salmon in the Vacuum-Sealed Packaging?
In fact, vacuum packaging is good for storing fish and meat as it prevents juices from your food from contaminating the surfaces. However, this method has potential risks.
For example, retailers may not do a good job at storing salmon. As a result, the packaging may catch dangerous toxins. One of the most harmful bacteria your salmon can get is Clostridium botulinum type E.
Clostridium botulinum has been a big concern in fish packed under poor oxygen conditions. Unfortunately, the vacuum package is what we are talking about.
How Long Should Salmon Be Cooked After Defrosting?
As all we know, “how long can thawed salmon stay in the fridge” – the answer will be up to two days. So, it is imperative to know proper ways of salmon storage.
If possible, cook the defrosted salmon immediately to prevent bacteria from forming and ruining your food.
Moreover, once defrosted, salmon should be cooked thoroughly to ensure safety and optimal flavor. For the best results, follow these guidelines based on the cooking method:
- Baking: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the salmon for 4 to 6 minutes per side, flipping once during the cooking process.
- Pan-searing: Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Steaming: Place salmon in a steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam for about 8 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the fish is opaque and flaky.
Always ensure that the internal temperature of the salmon reaches at least 145°F (63°C), as recommended by the FDA.
Remember, overcooking can lead to dry and tough salmon, while undercooking can pose a risk of foodborne illness.