Harvesting your own catch is one of the great joys of fishing. Like our ancestors, there is great satisfaction not only in successfully finding and catching fish, but also in preparing and serving them as food for loved ones. Once you master the art of filleting (or cleaning) the fish, you need to know how to properly freeze fresh fish. This is key to maintaining the taste and quality of any fillet. Read on to learn how to freeze freshly caught fish in six easy steps.
- Put on ice immediately. Keep the fish submerged in ice until filleted.
- Process and sort into flour-sized portions. Clean up your catch as soon as possible. Cut and sort fillets based on how many you want to cook at the same time.
- Rinse with cold water. This will help remove any slime, particles, or other contaminants that could affect the taste. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Put in plastic bags. It is recommended to use quart-size bags and place three to four fillets in each. Some people argue about how to freeze fresh fish and suggest adding water to the bags. However, this can turn meat into pulp if not careful.
- Remove air. Exposure to air can cause burns in the freezer and destroy the meat. Using a vacuum sealer is an effective method of preservation. However, you can also use zippered plastic bags. Prepare a large bowl of water and submerge the bottom of the open bag in the water until it reaches (but does not overflow) the top of the fish. This acts as a vacuum sealer and pushes the air out. Zip up the top before the fish is frozen.
- Wrap in butcher paper. If the plastic bag is damaged in the freezer, this will protect the contents from cold air and burns in the freezer.
When you’re done, thaw with cold water or overnight in the refrigerator. Knowing how to properly freeze freshly caught fish will ensure you don’t waste any of your catches and provide your family with a fresh, healthy, and tasty meal. Now that you know how to freeze fresh fish, dig up this family recipe and put your new skills on the ultimate taste test!