Perishable food, like salmon, often comes with a sell-by date. However, many people still eat the salmon that has passed that date. So how long is salmon good after the sell-by date?
Interestingly, the salmon past the sell-by date can be edible. Yet there is a rule for it. Let’s work together to discover the secret behind this rule!
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Salmon can remain in the fridge for one to two days after sell-by date. Meanwhile, storing it in the freezer will be good for up to three months.
The sell-by date for salmon ensures food safety. The manufacturer determines it based on multiple factors, such as the date they packed the product and the expected shelf life under ideal storage conditions.
However, the sell-by-date is not an expiration date. It means that salmon may still be safe to eat for a short time after the sell-by date. In this case, your storage method will determine the answer.
Besides, the condition of the fish when you buy it from the store is important. We will share some tips to tell if salmon has gone bad in the following section so you can purchase fresh products, which can last longer even after the sell-by date.
Avoid keeping salmon in the pantry whether your fish is past its sell-by date or not. The room temperature and exposure to air encourage bacteria to develop in the fish. As a result, you will encounter health issues after eating it.
After the sell-by date, salmon can stay in the fridge for one to two days. The temperature range from 32°F to 38°F allows your food to maintain its optimal freshness and quality.
Remember to put salmon in a tightly sealed bag or container if you want to store salmon in the fridge. Then, place it in the coldest part of the fridge, where it doesn’t touch any other food.
Freezing your salmon at 0°F is the best way to store it. In such cold conditions, bacteria cannot grow or ruin your food.
However, please note that the flavor and texture of salmon will deteriorate over time. Even if you can eat it safely after three months, it will be a better idea to consume it as soon as possible. Then, you can enjoy its peak quality and taste.
To freeze salmon, you need to put it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Labeling the bag’s storage date can help you track the storage time.
Related: How to defrost salmon quickly
Sell-By Date vs. Use-By Date vs. Expiration Date
Food product dating is a labeling practice that manufacturers use to indicate quality and freshness. It allows you to expect how long the product can remain at its peak condition.
Sell-by, use-by, and expiration date are three types of food product dating. Yet, their meaning differs:
- Sell-by date: This date indicates how long retailers, such as supermarkets and groceries, can display the products for sale.
- Use-by date: Customers refer to this date to know how long the product is excellent in terms of safety and quality.
- Expiration date: If a product is past its expiration date, you should throw it away because it’s no longer safe to use.
We don’t have any standard rules for these dates. They vary from product to product. The manufacturers affect the dates, too.
Food product dating is the clearest sign of the freshness and quality of the product. However, your senses play a vital role as well.
How to Tell If Salmon Goes Bad
There are four signs to tell if salmon goes bad. While the expiration date is a clear indicator, you must also check the fish’s smell, texture, and appearance.
Salmon can still be good after the sell-by date. However, do not consume it if it’s past the expiration date. Instead, ensure you have time to enjoy the fish before that date.
The salmon doesn’t always come with a package that tells you its sell-by date or expiration. In this case, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about two days.
Salmon is famous for its brilliant color, which can be orange, pink, or even red. There are also some white lines on the flesh.
The color varies depending on where the salmon comes from. Because of their different diets, some salmon species, like sockeye salmon, have a deep red color. Meanwhile, coho salmon comes with a light pink hue.
The salmon’s color will turn gray or dull if the salmon is past its peak. You may also notice some dark spots and signs of discoloration.
Check the salmon’s eyes, too. They should be bright and clear. If they start to form a film, the salmon may not any longer be fresh.
Fresh salmon has a firm texture and bounces back when pressed. Yet, if the flesh turns mushy, that’s a sign of spoilage.
You can also check the texture by running your fingers along the fillet. If the flesh is sticky, toss it away.
Salmon is a type of fish that shouldn’t have a fishy odor when fresh. Instead, raw salmon smells like the ocean. This mild scent is a sign of fresh fish. On the other hand, you should throw away the salmon with an ammonia-like odor.
Eating spoiled food is a terrible idea because it can be detrimental. The biggest risk you face is food poisoning. Its symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
- Skin numbness
The most common food poisoning type caused by bad salmon is the bacteria named Listeria monocytogenes. They live in cold conditions and even survive in the fridge.
Besides, you will also encounter ciguatera and scombroid poisoning when eating spoiled salmon. These issues come with several symptoms, such as gastrointestinal distress and flushing.
The symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on your health condition. Kids, older people, and those with weakened immune systems will suffer more.
Tips for Extending the Shelf Life of Your Salmon
Spoiled salmon is dangerous. Hence, you should learn to store it properly to extend its lifespan. Here are some tips and tricks to try:
- Check for signs of spoilage before buying the salmon. Remember to perform the same test when you’re going to cook it.
- Refrigerate or freeze your newly-bought salmon as soon as possible. The storage temperature should be at least 40°F.
- Wrap the salmon properly so air and moisture can’t enter.
Even when past its sell-by date, salmon can remain edible for one to two days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
As you can see, the sell-by date is not a hard rule in this case. So check the fish with your senses to tell if you can eat it safely.
You may extend the lifespan of your salmon and consume it at its freshest and tastiest by following the tips we shared in this guide.
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