Keep blastfrozen vacuum-packed Wild Alaskan Salmon in your freezer and use within 3 months. It keeps well and I have had people call for fish who took a piece of Desire Fish out of their freezer after a year and said it was still perfect. Still a home freezer has a higher and more fluxctuating temperature than Bellingham Cold Storage and should not be used for longterm storage. We take fish from the cold storage every week while selling from the boat at Squalicum Harbor. Let us keep your fish frozen and purchase what you can eat within 3 months. We run low in late winter so be sure to stock up at that time of year.
If a piece should become unsealed use that piece next. Freezer burn dries the fish and creates off flavors. We use 5 millimeter bags for excellent protection. Desire fish should be indistinguishable from fresh fish. And remember this: fish bought "fresh" at the grocery store may have been harvested many many days previous and even rinsed in sanitizing solutions to prolong its shelf life. Our fish is processed within three days of harvesting and most of it is under 48 hours old.
Our H&G (headed and gutted) whole Wild Alaskan Salmon are blastfrozen and glazed. This means after blastfreezing to —25° F the fish are hand-dipped twice in a iced saltwater glaze in which a small amount of soluble corn syrup has been added. The salt softens the glaze so it does not chip with shipping and handling and the soluble corn syrup provides a slightly greater viscosity for adherance. The glaze is not absorbed by the frozen fish and drains off during thawing. Glazing protects the fish from freezer burn and is the traditional method of protecting H&G blastfrozen fish for extended life.
Thawing is crucial to the retention of quality in blastfrozen Wild Alaskan Salmon. Improper thawing can result in dryness, off flavors, or even spoiling of fish. The best ways to thaw your fillet are to leave it overnight in your refrigerator or to place it there in the morning for that night's dinner, or to take it directly from your freezer and put it in a sink half full of COLD water for 30 to 45 minutes prior to cooking.
DO NOT thaw fish in microwave. It kills the taste, nutrition and applies heat to your fillet from the inside out. Blastfreezing applies very rapid freezing at very low temperatures so the cell walls of the fish do not burst during freezing. Rapid thawing will cause the cell walls to burst resulting in loss of moisture and damaged fish.
DO NOT thaw on counter. The outside will thaw and the inside still be frozen. The fillet will be dry on the outside and by the time the entire fillet is thawed spoilage may occur. This is especially true for thawing whole fish.
DO NOT hasten thawing in warm water. As the fish thaws rapidly on the outside the cell walls will burst resulting in loss of moisture and flavor. In a whole fish this can hasten spoilage.
DO NOT thaw in oven. Same as thawing in hot water. This is not good for your delicate product.
THAWING WHOLE FISH: Place whole salmon on a drip pan overnight in refrigerator. Two hours before cooking take out and place in a sink of cold water. Check body cavity for ice. ADd more cold water as necessary.
NOTE: When you see fish in the grocery store labeled previously frozen but it is unfrozen in the refrigerator section it usually means the whole fish has been thawed either by a reprocessor or by the grocery chain's seafood preparation area. These fish are usually thawed in a large vat of cold water with water and air circulating through it. Reprocessed fillets at your local grocery store are taken from blastfrozen glazed whole fish.
DO NOT refreeze fish which has been frozen once already as its quality diminishes each time it is thawed and refrozen. An exception to this rule is freezing smoked vacuum-packed wild Alaskan Salmon. Most smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon is made from a previously frozen product, however its shelf life can be extended considerably by freezing.
CHECKING FOR DONENESS
Do not overcook. If it's overdone, salmon will taste chewy, dry and tasteless. To test: Slide knife into the thickest portion and lift to separate. When the fish changes from red tranlucent to pink opaque it is done. Many people prefer it to be on the rare side and it will continue to cook a little after being removed from the heat source.
When cooking a whole side of wild Alaskan salmon its differing thicknesses from shoulder to belly to tail provide diners with a range of doneness options. Our kids love the tail which has no bones. Bob loves the rare shoulder. I have moved all around the fish and these days I go straight for the oily belly.