How to Store Anchovies (fresh, cooked, in vinegar)

To store anchovies, you must keep them cold. So they will last 1 or 2 days in the fridge, or you can extend their shelf life for 2 or 3 months in the freezer. 

Store Anchovies

To learn how to preserve anchovies, you must continue reading below.

How to store anchovies in the fridge

The first step you should always consider in this aspect is choosing the anchovies correctly; that way, you can determine the most appropriate way to store them.

Suppose the anchovies you bought have shiny, silvery skin and retain their elasticity (by sinking your finger and removing it, the skin should return to its original shape), and his eyes are bulging and clean. In that case, it means that they are fresh.

In addition, you must keep in mind that, to not break the cold chain, you must buy anchovies at the last moment. And by making sure they are fresh; you can store them as follows:

  • Step 1: Clean and dry the anchovies.

It is always good to clean the fish before storing them, so you have to scale it and remove the tail, head, and guts. Then wash them with plenty of water and lemon.

Drain the anchovies and dry them with absorbent paper to remove excess moisture. 

  • Step 2: Put the anchovies in an airtight bag. 

You can place the anchovies, especially if you chopped them, inside an airtight bag, removing all the air before sealing it. If you have vacuum-sealing equipment, even better. In this way, you will avoid the whole fridge smelling fishy.

  • Step 3: Place the anchovies in a bowl with ice.

Add ice to a bowl, place the bag with the anchovies, and cover them with more ice. Then, cover the container well.

  • Step 4: Store the anchovies in the refrigerator.

You have to place the container in the coldest area of your fridge and away from foods that easily absorb the smell of others. Thus, you can store anchovies refrigerated for 1 or 2 days. [1]

How to freeze anchovies

Can anchovies be frozen? When storing fish, freezing them should be the first thing you think of, as they usually last only a brief time in the fridge.

So yes, you can freeze anchovies, and they freeze very well if you follow these tips:

  • Step 1: Wash and chop the anchovies.

Remove the scales, cut off the head and tail, and remove the entrails. Then wash them with water. Now, I advise you to chop the anchovies into fillets so that they freeze in the best possible way.

  • Step 2: Remove excess moisture.

Use absorbent paper to dry them, and in this way, avoid the formation of too many ice crystals.

  • Step 3: Wrap and bag the anchovies.

Wrap the anchovies with plastic film, then add another layer of aluminum foil to avoid freezing burns. You can wrap several anchovies simultaneously; place them side by side without piling them up.

  • Step 4: Bathe or pack the anchovies.

Place the wrapped anchovies inside an airtight bag or container suitable for freezing. 

  • Step 5: Enter the storage date.

Put the storage date on the bag or attach a label with the date to the container. Another option would be to put some tape on the container and, on top of that, write down the date.

  • Step 6: Store the anchovies in the freezer.

This way, storing anchovies in the freezer for 2 to 3 months is possible. [2]

When you want to thaw them, transfer them to the fridge one night before; never leave them at room temperature. 

Anchovies cannot be re-frozen and will only last 24 more hours in the fridge. 

How to preserve cooked anchovies

Suppose you cooked the anchovies, and you had some leftovers. In that case, you can store them in the fridge or freezer, and the method itself is similar in both cases, but freezing them adds an extra step.

  • Step 1: Wait for the anchovies to cool.

Leave anchovies at room temperature until cool.

  • Step 2: Put the anchovies inside an airtight container.

Place the cold anchovies in an airtight container. If they are fried, you should line the container internally with absorbent paper, then cover the container well.

  • Step 3: Write down the date of preparation.

You can stick a label to the container, which has the date of preparation of the anchovies, or you can put a little tape and put the date on top.

  • Step 4: Store the cooked anchovies in the fridge or freezer.

They will keep the cooked anchovies in the coldest part of the fridge for 3 or 4 days. But if you decide to freeze, the cooked anchovies will last 3 or 4 months

When you want to reheat the anchovies, bake them for 5 or 10 minutes at 200°C. Or use the microwave in batches of 30 seconds at medium power until thoroughly heated.

If you want to defrost them, transfer the anchovies a day before to the fridge, but you can reheat them directly frozen; it will only take a little longer.

How to preserve anchovies in vinegar

Anchovies in vinegar are prevalent snacks in southern Spain and are usually eaten on hot days. However, curing is carried out by its preparation, keeping it for a little longer.

  • Step 1: Clean and cut the anchovies.

Remove the scales, tails, and heads, then cut them in half, leaving a kind of steak. Wash them with plenty of water to remove all blood and guts.

You can use anchovies frozen for a week in this preparation, and you would only need to put them to defrost a day before in the refrigerator.

  • Step 2: Prepare the marinade.

For 500 grams of anchovies, you will need 300 milliliters of cider or white vinegar and 250 milliliters of water. Mix it in an airtight container and add the anchovies, which must be completely submerged.

Cover well, place the container in the coldest part of the refrigerator, and wait about 12 hours or until the anchovies turn white.

  • Step 3: Drain the anchovies.

When the anchovies turn white, drain them, and pour water on them. 

  • Step 4: Season the anchovies.

Then, in an airtight container, add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt, stir well, and place a layer of anchovies, on top add crushed garlic and finely chopped parsley, then bathe the anchovies with olive or sunflower oil.

You should place the garlic, parsley, and oil between the anchovies. Then refrigerate and wait at least 4 hours before you start eating.

  • Step 5: Store the anchovies in vinegar.

If you keep the anchovies in vinegar in the coldest area of the refrigerator, they will keep for 3 or 4 days. But if you want to freeze them, remember to write down the storage date and use a sturdy container.

The anchovies in vinegar can be in the freezer for 1 or 2 months. To thaw them, transfer them a day before to the refrigerator, where they can be for two more days, but you cannot freeze them again.

How to preserve smoked, dried, or salted anchovy

These processes, especially drying, add more resistance to the anchovy. However, you cannot keep smoked, dried, or salted anchovies for more than 6 hours at room temperature.

Therefore, you should store them in the fridge or freezer as follows:

  • Step 1: Wrap the anchovy.

Place an anchovy next to the other and cover them with plastic to wrap, and if you plan to freeze them, add another layer of cling film, or use aluminum foil.

  • Step 2: Put the anchovies inside an airtight bag or container.

In the fridge, it will prevent the smell from spreading, while in the freezer, it will protect the anchovies from freezer burns.

  • Step 3: Enter the storage date.

Write down the storage date on a label and stick it to the container or bag; you can also place some tape and write the date on top.

  • Step 4: Store the anchovy in the fridge or freezer.

In this way, the salted, smoked, or dry anchovy can be 14 days in the refrigerator and between 2 or 4 months frozen.

How to preserve canned anchovies

Canned anchovies are a much more common product to purchase, and thanks to preservatives and packaging, they can be preserved for quite some time.

Unless the manufacturer indicates otherwise, you should only place the can of anchovies in a dark, dry, and cool place. This way, the can of unopened anchovies can be at room temperature until the expiration date indicates.

Once opened, you can pass the anchovy to an airtight container and place it in the coldest part of the fridge so that the anchovy will remain refrigerated for 3 or 4 days. [3]

On the other hand, you must place it inside a bag or resistant container and place the storage date to freeze it. In this way, the anchovy can be frozen for two months.

How to know if the anchovy spoiled?

If the anchovies get bad, they will present any of these characteristics.

  • Lousy smell: If the anchovy or anchovy smells rotten, it will spoil, and you must discard them.
  • Mold: If the anchovy has dark, green, white, or blue spots or lint, it develops mold and, therefore, its meat is contaminated and unsafe to eat.
  • Bad taste: if the anchovy or anchovy has a strange or bad taste, spit it out and do not continue eating it; better throw it away.

How long do anchovies last?

Chilled anchovies1 – 2 days
Frozen anchovies2 – 3 months
Thawed and chilled anchovies24 hours
Cooked anchovies in the fridge3 – 4 days
Cooked anchovies in the freezer4 – 6 months
Anchovies in vinegar in the fridge3 – 4 days
Anchovies in vinegar in the freezer1 – 2 months
Smoked, dried, or salted anchovies at room temperature6 hours
Smoked, dried, or salted anchovies in the fridge3 – 4 days
Smoked, dried, or salted anchovies in the freezer2 – 4 months
Store-bough canned anchovies at room temperatureUntil the expiration date
Store-bough canned anchovies in the fridge (open)3 – 4 days
Store-bough canned anchovies in the freezer (open)1 – 2 months

What is the best way to store anchovies?

The best way to preserve anchovies would be to freeze them since, in the fridge, they only stay in good condition for a couple of days. Storing them in the freezer is best if you plan to cook them later.

Cooked anchovies keep best in the fridge, especially if fried, since their flavor and consistency will not change as much as they do after being in the freezer.

Anchovies in vinegar usually last longer than fresh ones, and oil and vinegar help keep them in good condition. The same goes for smoked, salted, or dried anchovies.

Unopened canned anchovy can last an exceptionally long season, especially if stored properly. Once opened, it is kept for a period, like anchovies in vinegar or smoked.

If you want to learn how to preserve some other seafood, here you can find several topics that deal with that. In addition, regularly, new publications are added, and updates are made.




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