Salmon: it’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Salmon is loaded with plenty of goodies, including omega-3, protein, vitamin D, and healthy fats. It’s also exceptionally tasty. If there’s one issue with salmon, though, it’s that it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
Salmon isn’t the cheapest food out there, so when you do decide to splash the cash, you’ll want to make the most of your salmon.
Looking to preserve its longevity, or simply know how long you can store it and eat it safely? Here’s everything you need to know about storing raw salmon in the fridge.
How To Store Salmon
Salmon is such a hero of the fish world, that it’s the most popular seafood next to tuna and shrimp. If you’re enjoying salmon as part of your healthy, balanced diet, you’ll need to know how to store it correctly.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Ideally, you’ll want your salmon to go from the fishmongers to your refrigerator within two to three hours to prevent spoiling. Keep as cool as possible on the journey home, too, to prevent it from going spoiled.
When you get your fresh salmon home, remove any wrappings and place the fillets in a clean, airtight container.
We’d also recommend covering them with a damp paper towel. Seal your container and place it in the coldest spot of your refrigerator.
Ensuring your salmon is in an airtight container is essential. Any exposure to the air will cause the fish to spoil.
Your fridge temperature should also be set to at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it sufficiently cool and prevent spoiling.
How Long Can You Keep Raw Salmon In The Fridge?
Raw salmon can be kept in the fridge for two days. After this time, it’s likely to spoil.
How Do You Know If Salmon Is Fresh?
Food safety should be your number one priority. So, how can you tell if your salmon is fresh?
You’ll need to pay close attention to the color of your fish – this is the best indicator of freshness. Fresh salmon will be beautifully pink, with no brown spots.
If you notice any brown spots or discoloration on your salmon, it may be spoiled.
Other indicators of spoiling can be a softer texture, holes, and a lack of shine.
Can You Freeze Salmon?
Yes, you can freeze salmon. If you’re not going to eat your salmon within 48 hours, freeze it.
Salmon can stay fresh for approximately three months in the freezer, so this is the most effective way to improve the longevity of your salmon, and it’s easy to do.
- Put your unused salmon in a vacuum bag or airtight container
- Write the current date on the label so you know when it was frozen
- Place it in the freezer and eat it within three months
Note: Your salmon WILL be safe to eat for longer than three months. Salmon can be kept in the freezer for up to a year, however, the longer it’s stored, the more its quality will reduce. We’d recommend eating your salmon within three months of freezing to enjoy the best flavor and texture.
Can You Freeze Salmon That’s Been Previously Frozen?
There may be an occasion where you’ve frozen your salmon, thawed it, and want to refreeze it. But is it safe?
Although it’s possible to freeze salmon that’s been previously frozen, you’ll need to do it safely.
You should remove as much moisture as possible from your salmon to preserve its flavor and texture, and you’ll need to ensure it hasn’t spoiled in the time its spent out of the freezer.
Here’s the key – you’ll want to ensure that your thawed salmon hasn’t become too warm. It’ll still need to be cold to the touch to refreeze.
If it’s already reached room temperature, you should not refreeze it, as harmful bacteria may have already proliferated. This guidance also applies to any salmon that’s raw, as well as salmon that’s been cooked or thawed.
What About Partially Thawed Salmon?
Yes, you can also refreeze your salmon if its only been partially defrosted.
So, if you have a large pack of frozen salmon but you only want to use a small amount, simply start defrosting the pack, pick out the fillets you want, and refreeze the rest – even if they’re partially thawed.
Again, you’ll just want to make sure they haven’t spoiled or become too warm to ensure they’re safe to freeze.
How Long Can You Keep Smoked Salmon In The Fridge?
Smoked salmon is a little different.
Smoked salmon is any salmon that has been cured and hot or cold-smoked. It’s usually served with salads or eggs.
Fillets are cured with salt and then placed in a smoking kiln to smoke them. This gives them a unique flavor, and will increase their lifespan.
Smoked salmon is made with two methods: cold-smoked and hot-smoked salmon. Cold-smoked salmon is smoked below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while hot-smoked is smoked above 120 degrees.
The temperature difference during smoking can make a big difference – cold smoked methods don’t cook the fish, while hot smoking does.
Your smoked salmon can last as long as one to two weeks in the fridge. So, if you want to enjoy fresh salmon but you’re not going to eat it within 48 hours, smoked salmon is a great choice.
You won’t have to freeze it to make it last longer, which is great if you don’t have access to a freezer.
However, you can still store smoked salmon in the freezer if you don’t use it in time. Ideally, you should eat your frozen smoked salmon within one month of freezing to enjoy its flavor and texture.
However, it can safely last between 9-12 months in the freezer – however, you may notice a decline in its quality.
Freezing on the day of purchase can help preserve the quality of your salmon. If you’ve cooked your fish before freezing it, allow it to cool to room temperature (or in the fridge), before you freeze it.
When it’s ready to be frozen, wrap it up carefully to avoid freezer burn. This will give you the best possible quality for the longest possible time.
How Do You Know If Smoked Salmon Has Gone Bad?
How long your smoked salmon lasts will depend on several factors, including how its packaged, stored and smoked.
- Hot-Smoked Salmon: If your salmon has been hot-smoked, it will have a flakier texture and will have been pasteurized during the hot-smoked process. It can usually last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. In the freezer, it’ll do well for between 2-12 months.
- Cold-Smoked Salmon: Unfortunately, cold-smoked salmon doesn’t last as long. Cold-smoked salmon will have a stronger smoked flavor and a fresher taster, but it will usually last no longer than a week in the fridge, and around a month in the freezer.
If your smoked salmon has gone bad, it will usually have a dulled color. This discoloration may be accompanied by a slimy texture.
One of the biggest giveaways is a distinctly fishy odor – the fishy smell of salmon is usually rather subtle. If it’s strong, it’s probably spoiled. It may also smell ‘sour’ rather than fishy, which is another indicator of spoiled salmon.
How Long Is Thawed Smoked Salmon Safe To Eat?
If you’ve frozen and defrosted your smoked salmon, you can enjoy it for around 3-4 days. Once thawed, store your smoked salmon in the fridge and monitor it for signs of spoiling.
To enjoy the best of its flavor and texture, you should eat it within 24 hours of defrosting it.
What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Smoked Salmon?
Eating any spoiled food (especially meat) is bad for your health, and can result in food poisoning.
Food poisoning is usually caused by a build-up of listeria. You may experience a range of unpleasant symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and a fever.
These symptoms can persist anywhere between 24-72 hours.
There is also a risk (albeit rarer), of botulism. This bacteria can sometimes survive the salmon smoking process. This is why it’s so important to store your salmon correctly and monitor it for signs of spoiling.
If you think your salmon is spoiled in any way, trust your instincts, and don’t take the risk.
If you’re a young child, pregnant, or you have a weak immune system, you should avoid eating cold smoked salmon.
Although it’s delicious (and incredibly nutritious!), it can carry some significant risks if it’s not stored correctly. Always follow the FDAs advice, and avoid eating it if you fit into any of these brackets.
The Bottom Line
Raw salmon can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. If you’re not going to eat it in time, you can always freeze it and save it for later!
If you’re dealing with smoked salmon, you can keep it in the fridge anywhere between 1-2 weeks, depending on how it was smoked.
Don’t forget to monitor your salmon for signs of spoiling and store it carefully to keep it fresh.
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