Suppose, you are a fisherman, and you have a day on the ocean that is a lucky one. You may come back with a load of fish you want to use for a fish fry. Sometimes there are some cooked fish leftovers, and it is a shame to throw away tasty fish.
You can store frozen fish, and it will be good for up to two months in your freezer if you prepare it properly.
After reading this article you will know:
- How to store raw fish and fried fish in the freezer
- How long can it be kept frozen or in the refrigerator?
- How to reheat frozen fried fish
- Safety tips about freezing fish
So, let’s get into it and learn everything we need to know about freezing fried fish.
- 1. Can You Freeze Fried Fish? →
- 2. How to Freeze Fried Fish? →
- 3. How Long Does Fried Fish Last in the Fridge? →
- 4. How Long Is Cooked Fish Still Good? →
- 5. Can You Freeze Fish Twice? →
- 6. How to Reheat Cooked Fish? →
- 7. Useful Resources →
Can You Freeze Fried Fish?
Yes, you can store raw fish or any type of cooked fish, including fried fish, in the freezer.
The I forgot it’s Wednesday blog gives a safety tip. You can re-freeze cooked fish only once as long as it is allowed to cool down before being put back in the freezer.
The recommendations for re-freezing fish are to use a shallow pan or baking tray after the fish cools down. Put the fish on it and put it in the freezer for two hours. Then, you can place the frozen fish into a sealable freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.
This video, produced by Thundermist Lures, shows how a fisherman prepares his catch for freezing to keep it in the best condition and avoid freezer burn.
You can put fish in a tub filled with water, then make it frozen, but he prefers using thicker freezer bags than plastic bags meant for basic storage.
Be sure to check that the bags are thicker and marked on the package as freezer bags.
He puts the fish fillets in a freezer bag and seals it shut, trying to get out as much air as possible. Then, he wraps the freezer bag in a three-pages-thick piece of newspaper and tapes it shut with masking tape. On the masking tape, you can write the name of the type of fish and the date on the package.
On the discussing cooking blog Chef Extraordinaire Pacanis asks about freezing fried perch fish and gets some tips from other chefs. The chefs on the forum agree it can be done and recommend after thawing the fish, baking the fish fillets to reheat them with the tastiest results.
One chef says, “Baking lets the fish heat up… a little more gradually than … in hot oil, with less risk of overcooking the breading to make sure the inside is heated enough.
How to Freeze Fried Fish?
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends storing fish in the freezer.
NHS says to place the fish in an airtight container or wrap it up completely and put it in a sealable freezer bag. This technique helps avoid freezer “burn,” which is dehydration, where part of the food dries out too much due to removing all the water.
Any cooked fish, which are leftovers from a meal and not for eating immediately, can be frozen to preserve its quality and freshness. Do not let the fish sit out for more than two hours, or it will not be safe to put in cold storage.
Bacteria start to form on cooked fish when exposed to air within about twenty minutes. Within two hours, the fish is too full of bacteria to be kept longer as frozen fish.
The easiest way to store fried fish in the freezer is to allow the fish to cool completely. Then, put the fish in a freezer-safe container, cover it with an airtight cover, and put the container in the freezer.
The recommendation is to use this method only for storing fried fish in the freezer for up to one month.
If you need to learn how to thaw fish before frying it, this video, produced by The Better Fish, shows how to properly thaw fish bought in a store that comes frozen in a bag.
The packaging of the fish shown in this video is in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. The fish thaws gently and evenly by placing these bags in a deep tray and filling the tray with cold water. Do not use hot or warm water. Cold water works best and will thaw the fish in 15 to 20 minutes.
When the fish thaws, remove it from the plastic, rinse it gently under cold water, pat it dry, and cook it immediately.
How Long Does Fried Fish Last in the Fridge?
The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) give a recommendation about keeping cooked fish in the refrigerator.
The USDA says you can safely store cooked fish in a refrigerator for three to four days.
Putting cooked food in a refrigerator slows down the growth of bacteria but does not stop it, so eventually, the food will still spoil. If you eat spoiled food, it may be dangerous and make you very ill.
A good rule to follow for leftover food in the refrigerator is “When in doubt, throw it out!”
For another safety tip, learn the answer about how hot a stovetop gets here.
This video produced by Gao’s Chinese cooking channel shows how to make crispy fried fish.
Which style do you like the best for your fried fish fillets, crispy or crispy with a flaky crust?
How Long Is Cooked Fish Still Good?
Brian, who is an avid home chef, recommends keeping cooked fish only for two or three days in the refrigerator. If it has a batter coating and is deep-fried, the problem is that the breading will lose its crispy texture.
He recommends putting the fish in a hot oven to reheat it to make sure you kill any bacteria that form, but this has the chance of making it dry out and not nearly as tasty as when it was made fresh.
You can use an air fryer to reheat fish. Many think this is an excellent way to bring back the crisp texture. If you plan on trying this, learn what to do if an air fryer sets off the smoke alarm by reading my article here.
Can You Freeze Fish Twice?
The USDA gives these recommendations.
If raw or cooked fish is allowed to thaw in the refrigerator, the USDA says it is safe to re-freeze it without cooking or reheating it first. There will be a reduced quality because of the moisture lost from thawing.
Cooking frozen raw food allows them to be re-frozen safely. Thawing cooked food in a refrigerator allows the unused portion to be frozen again safely.
Frozen fish purchased at a store that has been handled properly can be safely re-frozen after bringing it home.
Never re-freeze any food that has been left out of a refrigerator, covered or uncovered, for more than two hours.
The Food Network has stronger advice and says to never re-freeze fish that has thawed without cooking it first. If you let the fish thaw, it becomes full of harmful bacteria if the bacteria are not destroyed by cooking the fish.
Once the raw fish thaws, it is full of bacteria, and if you re-freeze it as raw fish, it keeps all the bacteria in a dormant stage, ready to potentially cause food poisoning if used after thawing for a second time.
However, if raw fish is frozen only once, you let it thaw, and then cook it, you can re-freeze the cooked fish.
This video, produced by Secrets of Sushi, discusses when you can and cannot re-freeze fish used to make sushi.
Freezing fish changes the flavor and texture of the fish, which is very bad for making sushi.
However, if you buy fish from the market, it has already been flash-frozen once, so there is nothing wrong with cutting it into smaller pieces and freezing it again. This procedure is only recommended if the fish is thawed in a very cold commercial refrigerator and you re-freeze it immediately.
Ideally, it would be best to eat the fish used to make sushi the same day it is thawed and not re-freeze it.
The best method for freezing either cooked or uncooked fish is to use a heavy-duty packaging material, such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. For double security, place the wrapped fish inside a sealable freezer bag.
There is no need to rinse uncooked fish before putting it in the freezer.
If the fish already comes in a vacuum-packed plastic bag, you can put it in the freezer in its original packaging. If you notice a tear in the packaging, wrap it again to avoid the exposed part from drying out due to freezer burn.
You can keep cooked fish in a freezer for up to three months and uncooked fish in a freezer for three up to eight months.
Here is an article you may also like. Learn the answer about can you use oven bags in a crockpot?
This video produced by Osakana Fish School shows how Japanese sushi restaurants store fish by freezing it using salt to remove the moisture first.
This technique is very useful to avoid ice crystals that rupture the cells of the fish allowing the flavor to escape. Keep the cells intact by drying out the cells using sea salt and paper towels.
Wrap the dried-out pieces completely to protect them from exposure to the air and rapidly cool down the fish to frozen to preserve as much flavor as possible.
How to Reheat Cooked Fish?
If the fish is frozen, the recommendation from the NHS is to defrost it completely before cooking or reheating.
You can use the microwave if you plan to eat it immediately. Otherwise, you can defrost the fish overnight in the refrigerator.
Plenty of liquid will release as the fish thaws in the refrigerator, so put the pieces upright in a bowl to catch the liquid and not allow the bacteria to spread to other items stored below it in your refrigerator.
Be sure to cook fish until it is steaming hot completely through.
The I Really Like Food blog says not only can you make fried fish frozen, there are many ways to reheat the frozen fish.
One suggested way to reheat frozen fried fish is to use a light re-frying.
Make sure the fish has thawed completely in the refrigerator. Then, use a deep pan with enough oil to cover one side of the fish, heat the oil, and place the fish pieces in the hot oil carefully and gently. Watch out for any oil popping if there is any moisture in the fish.
Other ways to reheat the fish include grilling it, using a pan toaster oven, using a steamer, putting it in a microwave, using an air fryer, baking it in an oven, and, best of all, deep-frying it again.
- Easy fried fish fillets →
- Best sides for fried fish →
- How to season fish to fry →
- Crispy Pan Fried Fish →
Now you know the answer to the question of Can you freeze fried fish? And you know the best ways to reheat it. Now, all you need to do is go out and catch some fish, or if you are not a good fisherman, you may have to buy some at a store. Bon appetite!
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