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How to Store Salmon


These are multiple pieces of salmon slices stored in an ice storage.

Salmon is very healthy and great to include in anyone’s diet, specifically due to its high omega 3 fatty acid content. It is important to make sure the salmon is fresh when buying and to store it correctly.

Raw salmon can be stored at room temperature for 2 hours, in the refrigerator for two days, and in the freezer for three months. Cooked salmon can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and in the freezer for six months. Vacuumed packed raw fish can be kept in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Storing your salmon properly ensures that it will stay fresh for longer and be safe to consume. Fresh salmon must be firm, have a vibrant pinkish-red color, and have a shiny appearance. This relates to any fish you purchase; it must not have a very strong fishy smell as this can mean it has gone off; instead, it should have an ocean-like aroma.

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The Best Way To Store Salmon

Someone buying packed and sealed salmon in the grocery.

It is important to know the different ways of storing salmon and which would be best for you. Fish, in general, is very sensitive to temperature, which is why storage is vital. When going to the shops, getting the fish home as quickly as possible is highly recommended.

If you are going to take longer than 30 minutes to get home, it is advised to either take a cooler bag, ask the shop assistant to package your fish in ice or in a freezer package to help maintain the cooling chain.  

How Long Can You Store Salmon For?

These are pieces of salmon wrapped in plastic ready for storage.

The first thing to make sure of is to buy fresh salmon from the store so that when it is stored correctly, you can be sure it will not go off. The length of tie that you can store salmon for depends on whether it is at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. As we know, salmon will last the longest when it is frozen.

It does not last very long at all at room temperature as it will start to break down; it can last about 2 hours. Raw salmon can be kept in the refrigerator for two days; this is not very long. If you buy salmon and keep it in the refrigerator, it is best to cook it that same night so that it is still very fresh.

If you want to extend its life in the refrigerator, you can pack it in ice in the fridge; this will slow the decomposition even more. Smoked salmon can last in the fridge for up to two weeks in unopened packaging; if opened, it can last one week. The reason it lasts longer is that smoked foods are slightly preserved.

If you want to store salmon you have just cooked and are planning to eat over the next couple of days; you can store it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. As we know, food can be frozen for a longer period; salmon can be kept in the freezer for around three months.

How To Store Salmon In The Refrigerator?

Someone putting pieces of salmon in a plastic container at the fridge.

Instead of keeping the salmon you bought in its packaging unless it is tightly sealed, it would be best to remove it and rinse it under cold water. Once cleaned, it can be patted dry with a paper towel, then wrap the fish in a tight layer of plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. You can add flavoring to the salmon if desired, such as lemon peels.

Once wrapped, place the fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator, at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Store Salmon In The Freezer?

These are pieces of raw salmon displayed on ice at the market.

If you have bought salmon and are not planning to eat it in the next two days, it would be best to freeze it. To store the fish in the freezer, follow the steps above as you would store it in the refrigerator, cleaning it and wrapping it in plastic and foil. You can also put it in an air-tight zip lock bag or container if you don’t have foil.

The fish must be packaged correctly, preventing exposure to air, leading to the salmon spoiling. Before placing it into the freezer, make sure you label it with the date to ensure it is not kept for longer than three months. If you need to store your salmon for a longer period, you can get it vacuumed packed, extending the freezing time to eight months.

If you cook your salmon before freezing, it can be kept for up to 6 months; this is also applicable for smoked salmon. Remember, the longer it is left in the freezer, the more the quality of the salmon diminishes.

Can You Refreeze Salmon?

A pieces of salmon fillet in a vacuum seal plastic wrap.

A good rule to always follow is not refreezing food once it has been defrosted, whether in the refrigerator or at room temperature. This is because there is a high chance of bacteria growth that can cause a foodborne illness.

So it is the safest bet to follow this rule always; however, you can get away with refreezing salmon if it is defrosted in the refrigerator. It is important to ensure it never reached room temperature; if it did, don’t even think about refreezing it. If you need to freeze it again, the best thing is to cook it before freezing.

How To Store Salmon If You Don’t Have A Fridge Or Freezer?

This is a view of a stall in a fish market with salmon display on ice.

If you cannot store the salmon in the fridge or freezer but need to keep it cool before it can be cooked, you can store it on ice. You can safely store fish on ice for two days as long as the ice does not melt away. Place the salmon on a bed of crushed ice, then place another layer of crushed ice on top of it. As the ice melts, make sure you get rid of the water and replenish it with new ice.

How To Defrosting And Store Salmon?

It is best to store salmon in the refrigerator while it defrosts; make sure to start defrosting the night before you plan to cook it; this will ensure it thaws fully. Once the salmon has thawed, it can be kept in the fridge for no longer than two days; the earlier you cook it, the fresher it will be.