Salmon is a much-loved fish dish in many countries, particularly in the US. It is delicious and it is also healthy. Salmon is rich in protein and omega-3s all of which are good for your body.
In this article, we will be taking a look at if you can freeze cooked salmon. Perhaps there is a sale on and you can buy a lot of salmon at a reduced price. Why let this opportunity pass you by?
Can you Freeze Cooked Salmon?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. However, the texture of the fish will change (see also Can You Freeze Tuna) and it will be softer and more prone to flaking. The flavor, however, will be just as good.
Cooked salmon will last in the freezer (see also Freezing Cooked Shrimp) for about six months as long as it is packed securely. Use airtight plastic containers or freezer-safe bags. Always make sure that you remove as much air as possible otherwise the salmon might get freezer burn. This means that the salmon can become dehydrated.
What are the Best Ways to Freeze Cooked Salmon?
The most important thing to do is to try and freeze cooked salmon as it is. Additional ingredients like sauces can radically change the taste of the salmon when it has defrosted. Ingredients such as onions, tomatoes (see also How To Freeze Tomato Soup), and oils have enzymes that change the natural flavors.
Another important tip is to make sure that the salmon has completely cooled down before you freeze it. If you don’t, there will be moisture in the container or bag which can mean that bacteria will form.
Other Tips for Freezing Cooked Salmon
Here we’ll give you the steps you should follow when freezing cooked salmon (see also How To Freeze Cooked Chicken).
The first step is to get a sharp knife and cut the salmon into serving sizes. It is important that the knife is sharp otherwise the salmon could crumble. when defrosted.
You will need to wrap each piece of salmon in parchment paper (see also Using Parchment Paper To Freeze Food). This paper doesn’t absorb any of the liquids from the fish so you won’t end up with a soggy mess when you defrost it. It will also stop it from sticking.
The next step is to put your wrapped pieces of salmon into either freezer bags or a plastic container. Make sure that you have got rid of any excess air. It is a good idea to label the containers with the date and what is in them. As we have said, cooked salmon can last up to six months and it is easy to forget when you froze it, particularly if you are freezing multiple items.
Place your containers or freezer bags in the freezer. If you have used freezer bags, it is a good idea to place them on top of other products to stop them from being squashed. Nothing’s worse than serving a messy plate of salmon.
Because the texture of the salmon won’t be as firm when you defrost it, it is a good idea to think of ways to present the fish without it being the star of the show (see also Can You Freeze Sushi?). Think of making it into a spread or dip or making fish cakes out of it.
It is also important to remember not to refreeze your cooked salmon. Once you have defrosted it, you will need to use it and if there’s too much, throw it away. Refreezing can increase the chance of bacterial growth.
The Different Varieties of Salmon
There are different varieties of salmon and you can choose different cuts for whatever you are cooking. The main two categories of salmon are wild and farmed and they can be very different in taste. Many people may not think that it’s ethical to farm salmon, but while the need is there, it is going to happen. There just aren’t enough salmon in the sea to satisfy needs. In fact, two-thirds of salmon in the US are farmed.
In the US, there are five types of wild salmon that you can find in the stores.
- Chinook or King Salmon
This is the largest salmon that you can find in the Pacific Ocean. However, they are overfished so it is more difficult to find them and when you do, they are expensive.
- Sockeye or Red Salmon
This salmon is not as fatty as King Salmon which can be a bonus if you are watching your weight. It is also firmer and has a more robust flavor.
- Coho or Silver Salmon
This particular salmon is mild, but delicious at the same time. If you prefer a less fishy taste, this is the one to go for. It isn’t too fatty and is probably in the middle range.
- Keta Salmon
This type of salmon is also called dog salmon or chum silverbrite. It doesn’t have that good a reputation, but it does have a low oil and fat content so is very healthy. The flavor is mild so is again good for those who like fish, but don’t want too fishy a taste. Because of its reputation, it is usually cheaper than other types of salmon.
- Pink Salmon
Pink salmon is excellent for salads because it has a delicate taste. However, it again doesn’t have a great reputation so is often used for tinned salmon.
Farmed salmon is not thought of as being as good as wild salmon. This is because wild salmon migrate for thousands of miles and this makes them leaner and a healthier option on the dinner plate. They also have a more varied diet which makes them more nutritionally sound.
However, some farmers are more ethical than others and give their salmon different foods which can make them as good as wild salmon.
It doesn’t matter which you choose, both have omega-3s and plenty of protein. This means that the risk of you having heart disease is lessened. Salmon is also generally low in fat so is good for people who are trying to lose those extra pounds. Those on a keto diet plan can eat plenty of salmon as it is low in carbs.
The Different Cuts of Salmon
Wild salmon can grow to a large size meaning that you can get different cuts.
Salmon fillets are the most common cuts you can find in the store or fishmongers. They generally come with the skin on one side which helps to keep the fillet in one piece while cooking. The skin is also one of the tastiest parts of the fillet when it is crisped up.
If you are shopping for salmon fillets, the ones that are center-cut are the best as they are the same thickness all the way through. This makes it easier to cook them evenly. There are many different uses for salmon fillets. Cook them just as they are, add herbs such as dill (see also Can You Freeze Dill) and spices, or pour a tasty sauce over them.
Salmon steaks differ from salmon fillets in a couple of ways. Firstly, they have a bone running through the center and, secondly, there is skin surrounding the whole piece. This means that the steaks are kept fresher for longer than salmon fillets. Also, they don’t dry out as much. When shopping for them, try to find steaks that are of the same thickness so that they cook evenly.
Salmon steaks can be cooked on the grill, under a broiler, or just in a pan.
A side of salmon is literally that, a whole side of salmon. It can weigh around five pounds or even more and can serve at least eight people. It is best to cook sides on a low heat so they cook all the way through. You can cook them on a grill or in the oven. They can also be poached or broiled. However, they are usually too big to cook on a stovetop.
What Can I Use Smoked Salmon For?
You will have to remember that when your smoked salmon is defrosted, it won’t have the same texture as it had before. It isn’t that likely that a salmon fillet or steak will keep its shape so you may not be able to serve it up in that way. However, instead, the salmon is best used in dishes where you can chop it up.
Here we’ll give you some ideas of what to do with thawed salmon.
Making salmon spread (see also Can You Freeze Pâté) is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to make use of thawed smoked salmon. All you have to do is break it down and mix it with other ingredients. Cream cheese is an excellent choice as it makes the spread creamy. If you are allergic to dairy products (see also Can You Freeze Egg Beaters), use vegan cream cheese instead as that also makes a great alternative. The herb, dill, is a good addition to this spread, or if you like something a little spicy, add some cumin, coriander (see also Freezing Cilantro), and garlic.
This spread is very versatile. . It is a great start to a formal dinner party, served with melba toast. You can have it on a brioche for your breakfast with a sprinkling of black pepper. Otherwise, just have it as a snack on crackers or toast.
Soups and Curries
Salmon soup, prepared with fish broth, is a lovely warming dish. It is an ideal dinner party starter, served with freshly baked warm rolls. You can also just have it as a warming soup in the winter. Add a bit of chili (see also article about freezing fresh chilies) for a little kick of spice.
Curry is also a good way of using thawed cooked salmon. Make up a curry paste to the degree of heat you like. Fry up some onions, add the paste and the fish broth. The salmon should only be added a few minutes before serving to heat it through. If you cook it for too long, the fish will lose more of the texture and won’t be as tasty as it could be.
Salmon fishcakes are a popular choice when dining out, but why not try making them at home. All you have to do is flake the fish and add a few other ingredients. Many people add potatoes to flesh out the fishcakes, but you don’t have to add too much to form the perfect fishcake. Add seasonings as desired. You could just put in salt and pepper, but you could also add dill and lemon. Thai fishcakes are also very popular so get out those spices.
There are so many other dishes you can make with thawed smoked salmon and we’ll list a few of them here. You can make pasta dishes (see also Can You Freeze Ziti) such as smoked salmon carbonara. Fettuccine with asparagus and smoked salmon is another delicious dish. Smoked salmon goes well with eggs, so try using it in a frittata, scramble, or an omelet. The flaky nature of the thawed salmon makes it easy to cook it with eggs as neither takes that long to cook. Another idea is smoked salmon quiche (see also Can You Freeze Quiche?). Again, flaked salmon is perfect for this dish. If some of the salmon has stayed solid, why not use it in sandwiches with cream cheese such as Philadelphia cream cheese and cucumber. It also goes well on bruschetta which can be a great part of a tasting platter of Italian foods.
Salmon is a delicious and highly nutritious food, but it’s not boring. Even if you have a lot of thawed cooked salmon, there are a variety of ways you can use it.
If you live near the coast, go to your local farmers market where you should be able to pick up some freshly caught salmon. Have some for dinner and then freeze the rest.
Hopefully, this article has helped you down the path of freezing cooked smoked salmon and has given you ideas of what to do with it when it has been defrosted.