HOW TO FREEZE FISH

HOW TO FREEZE FISH

HOW TO FREEZE FISH

The sunny weather may have arrived but it’s time to get freezing

Being on lockdown means we have to be resourceful and one way to ensure you’re making the most of fish is to order plenty and freeze some.

If you freeze it right and defrost it correctly, you will find it difficult to tell the difference on the plate. Yes, I know it’s best eaten fresh, but we all need to minimise our contact with the outside world and that does include even home deliveries.

And heads up, we are also seeing a reduction in the number of deliveries of fish we – the fishmonger – is able to get each week, so we recommend you order all your week’s fish and freeze some of it, or even order a couple of week’s worth, to avoid disappointment.

Oily fish like salmon and trout freezes very well as does smoked fish, and can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.

More delicate white fish like sole also freezes well, but we’d suggest you keep it frozen for just a month.

This all depends on you freezing it properly. Don’t take any notice of suggestions to freeze it in water. We find it makes the fish rather waterlogged when defrosted. Not Nice!

We’d also not recommend wrapping it in clingfilm. This comes undone easily in the freezer, making the fish susceptible to freezer burn.

THE RIGHT WAY TO FREEZE FISH

What works, is to put the fish in a ziplock freezer bag. Get all the air out and seal – this will prevent freezer burn. And use an indelible marker pen to label it. You’ll be amazed how similar very different fish look when froze, so mark it with the type of fish and date you froze it.

If you’ve a whole fish, wash it in cold water and dry with a clean dry cloth or kitchen towel. Remove the head, guts and fins and remove the scales (run the back of a spoon from tail to head if you’ve not a descaler) but leave the skin on; it helps to protect the fish from drying out.

If you know you’ll want to cook the fish whole then, fine freeze it whole, otherwise cut into portions before freezing – 3/4 inch steaks or fillets. You can freeze each separately so you can pull them out of the freezer and defrost as you want them. If you have a large piece of fish like salmon or smoked haddock, you might also want to portion that out before freezing too.

Place it flat (to keep its shape) in the coldest part of the freezer – which is the lowest shelf (because cold air sinks). Use your fast freeze setting is you have one. The faster it freezes the better the taste and texture will be preserved.

Note, if you have a freezer with an ice-making compartment at the top, the coldest part will be at the top, so freeze your fish there.

THE RIGHT WAY TO DEFROST FISH

Even if you’ve frozen it well, you can spoil the fish by defrosting it too quickly and the microwave is a definite no-no because it spoils the texture making the fish spongy and because it will cook the thinner parts.

You want the fish to defrost slowly to preserve the texture (and taste).

We recommend you defrost it in the fridge for 24-hours or overnight (it may take longer if it’s a large piece or whole fish). Leave it in the freezer bag but check it regularly and tip away any water that accumulates.

If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the freezer and it’s just small piece, you can defrost by holding it in cool running water – just a bit colder then room temperature. It takes a while and your fingers will get very cold, but it beats ruining it in the microwave any day!

BAKE THEN FREEZE

While we wouldn’t recommend freezing cooked whole fish or fillets and steaks, there are dishes you can make and freeze – curries, fish pies, soups and fish pates all freeze well.

If that all sounds like hard work, then remember, here at Jenkins & Son we also supply frozen fish and ready-made heat-and-eat fish soups, shellfish bisques, fish curries and pies which can go straight into the freezer with no effort on your part!