How to Store Salmon (Raw, cooked, smoked)

Salmon is a very popular fish for its nutritional and healthy characteristics, and if you are a consumer of this fish, you will doubt How to preserve salmon correctly?

Raw salmon should be refrigerated for 1-2 days or frozen for 2-3 months. If you have leftover cooked salmon, store it in the fridge for up to 2 days and 2 months when frozen. You can refrigerate it for 5 days and freeze it for 2 months if it is smoked. In addition, pickled and in oil are other forms of preservation.

Store Salmon

Stay with us and know each of these ways to preserve the quality and flavor of salmon.

How to store salmon in the fridge

If you have bought salmon and want to consume it the next day, the best way to maintain its freshness is by refrigerating. 

Although the idea is to cook it and eat it the same day you purchase it, that is often impossible. 

Salmon should always be kept refrigerated to prevent the proliferation of bacteria that can contaminate their meat and cause poisoning. You should also know that this fish has a concise life and deteriorates faster; that’s why good storage can save you.

Here you have the steps and tips for preserving the salmon in the fridge to keep its freshness.

  • Step 1. Clean the salmon well.

If the salmon is whole, you must clean it very well. For this, you start by removing the scales with a knife. Then cut the stomach to remove the viscera, and wash it with plenty of cold tap water.

Additional note: 

Usually, this type of fish already comes filleted or in pieces, so if it is well packaged, you should leave it in the original packaging until you cook it. You must follow this recommendation so that they maximize the shelf life of the salmon when refrigerated.

In this case, it is unnecessary to follow the first two steps. Instead, go directly to the indications from step 4 onwards.

  • Step 2. Wrap the fish in plastic film.

Carefully wrap the whole or filleted fish in plastic foil to avoid the smell and contamination of other foods. 

  • Step 3. Find a container.

We are looking for a plastic container with medium depth where we can add enough ice to place the fish. 

  • Step 4. Place the salmon in the container.

Place the ice on the container, then put the salmon on it. Since you will use the fridge, the ice will lower the average temperature around the salmon, which is ideal for this kind of food.

The average temperature in the fridge is about 4°C (40°F), but you need to store the salmon at 0°C (32°F) or even less to remain fresh longer, and the ice will do that job. [1]

  • Step 5. Take the salmon to the fridge.

We take the salmon to the bottom of the fridge, where the temperature is lower and constant so that the fish stays cooler.   

This method of preserving refrigerated raw salmon will last about 1-2 days in perfect condition. 

Additional tip: As the salmon is refrigerated, it can accumulate water, so it is necessary to remove it so that it does not damage the fish. 

How to freeze raw salmon

Another method that works very well when you want to extend the life of this type of fish is by freezing it, where all its nutrients are preserved, and you prevent it from deteriorating quickly. 

Experts also recommend freezing salmon before consuming it to provide better food security since this type of fish accumulates bacteria like Anisakis, which is harmful to people.

Now I hope you are ready to freeze the salmon, cause here I got the instructions: 

  • Step 1. Cut the salmon into fillets.

You must do this step if you have the whole salmon; otherwise, keep it in its original vacuum package.

With the help of a chopping board and a sharp knife, cut the salmon into not very thick fillets of the same size to preserve it better.

After that, remove the humid excess using paper towels.

It is not advisable to wash salmon when freezing because it can spoil very quickly. 

  • Step 2. Place the fillets in ziplock bags.

For better conservation, it is convenient to place it in portions, so it will be easier to thaw.

  • Step 3. Bring the salmon to the freezer.

Once you have the salmon fillets in the hermetically sealed bags, introduce them to the freezer. Try to place it on the bottom where the temperature is best maintained.

You can store the frozen salmon fillets for around 2-3 months.

How to preserve cooked salmon

Have you had any salmon preparation left over and do not know what to do? It doesn’t matter if you prepared the salmon in steam, in sauce, or even if you roasted it; there are some methods to preserve those leftovers, which are the followings:

Keep the cooked salmon in the fridge

The fridge represents the short-term storage for leftover salmon, and you can see how to do that next.

  • Step 1. Let the salmon cool.

You must wait for the salmon to cool at least 1 hour after cooking. However, never leave salmon at room temperature for more than 2 hours because it would spoil. 

  • Step 2. Find an airtight container. 

Look for an airtight container that can be glass or plastic, making sure it is clean and dry to pour the cooked salmon, and when you finish, seal it tightly. 

In the case of roasted or steamed salmon, store the piece, but if you cooked it in sauce, add the sauce to the container too.

  • Step 3. Store salmon in the fridge.

Take the container with the salmon to the bottom of the fridge to cool faster. 

This method of preserving cooked salmon lasts up to 2 days in the fridge in perfect condition for consumption.

How to freeze cooked salmon

If you have a high amount of leftovers, I recommend you freeze the cooked salmon as follows:

  • Step 1. Let the cooked salmon cool.

Do not put the hot fish in the freezer while it is hot. So let it cool. 

  • Step 2. Prepare salmon portions.

In terms of freezing and thawing, it is convenient to store the salmon in portions.

  • Step 3. Place cooked salmon in containers.

You can wrap the pieces of steamed, roasted, or fried salmon in parchment paper before placing them in the container to prevent frost burn.

If you cooked in any sauce, add it to the container along with the salmon.

Additional note: You must consider that you should not freeze the salmon if the sauce is based on dairy products.

  • Step 4. Bring cooked salmon to the freezer.

Take the cooked salmon to the bottom of the freezer. Do not place other products on top so that it does not spoil them by stacking.

This method of preserving frozen cooked salmon will last you up to 2 months. However, consume it before to enjoy better quality texture and taste of salmon. [1]

How to smoke salmon

Smoking is a technique from prehistory and has remained a safe process for preserving various foods. It also gives a unique flavor to food, and in the case of salmon, it is a delight for our palate.

Let’s see below what the steps are to smoke salmon.

  • Step 1. Salmon selection.

Remember that for this recipe, we need to use raw salmon that has been frozen to avoid the risk of Anisakis poisoning.

  • Step 2. Cut the salmon and remove the spines.

Once you thaw the salmon, you must cut the salmon into two equal parts of 2 cm thick, leaving the skin in each one. Make sure they don’t have thorns; otherwise, you should only remove them with the help of a tweezer.

  • Step 3. In a container, prepare salt and sugar.

Look for a plastic container where you add four tablespoons of salt, one tablespoon of sugar, pepper, and garlic powder, then stir well.

  • Step 4. Cover the salmon with the mixture.

Place the pieces of salmon inside the container with salt and sugar. You should cover both sides of the fish with the mixture.

Another name for this process is “cure the salmon.”

  • Step 5. Take to fridge.

Place the salmon on a tray and leave it in the fridge for 10 to 15 hours, where the salmon will lose water content with the salt.

  •  Step 6. Remove the fish from the fridge and wash it.

Wash the salmon with plenty of water to remove excess salt.

  • Step 7. Remove the water excess.

When you finish washing it, you need to remove the excess water, so use paper towels to remove as much water as possible. 

This process can be done several times until you notice that the salmon is entirely free of moisture.

  • Step 8. Place the salmon on a rack.

Once you are done using the towels, you need to ensure the salmon is quite dry; and therefore, you will put your salmon on a rack and place it in the fridge for 4-5 hours.

  •  Step 9. Proceed to smoke the salmon.

The smoker should be between 50°C to 60°C (122°F-140°F) to grid with the salmon.

Then let it smoke for around 3-4 hours, and your salmon will be ready.

I need to mention that there are several smoking techniques, some extremely slow, where the salmon rest for weeks, and some super express where salmon is ready in 1 hour.

How to preserve smoked salmon in the fridge (opened)

Here you have the instructions to store it in the fridge:

  • Step 1. Wrap the salmon in plastic film.

You can also use aluminum foil, but it is more common to use plastic film.

  • Step 2. Store smoked salmon in the fridge

Try to put fish or meat always in the bottom of the fridge, where it is colder. Do not put another food on top of the smoked salmon so that it does not damage the texture.

Storing the smoked salmon in the fridge guarantees a shelf life of 5 days in your fridge.

How to freeze smoked salmon

If you any reason you want to extend the shelf life of your smoked salmon, you can freeze it without any problems. 

Here are those steps and valuable tips for freezing smoked salmon.

  • Step 1. Remove the smoked salmon from its original packaging if you open it.

Once the packaging of the smoked salmon is opened, you must remove it.

  • Step 2. Wrap smoked salmon in plastic film.

Wrap the salmon in portions.

  • Step 3. Transfer the salmon into an airtight container.

You can use a plastic airtight container or ziplock bags. 

  • Step 4. Label the container.

You need to control the storage; therefore, you need to label the container with the storage date.

  • Step 5. Store smoked salmon in the freezer

Store the smoked salmon in the bottom of the freezer, where the temperature is lower and more constant. 

This freezing method will cause the smoked salmon to be kept for about two months.

How to preserve salmon in oil

Preserving salmon in oil is a great way to keep this type of fish and enjoy it anytime you want. You have to take it out of the container where you stored it and serve it with various kinds of recipes, and it is very functional and practical.

One of the requirements of this recipe is to have raw salmon, so do not cook it if you want the salmon in oil. Here is the recipe: 

  • Step 1. Find a bowl.

We look for a bowl and pour eight tablespoons of coarse salt with two tablespoons of sugar for every 500 grams of salmon. Then you must stir the ingredients and set them aside.

  • Step 2. Cut the salmon.

Cut the salmon into thin slices and layer them inside a container.

Then you must sprinkle the mixture of salt and sugar on each of the layers of the salmon. 

Once you have the container filled with the layers of salmon, we proceed to close it tightly. 

  • Step 3. Take the salmon to the fridge.

Take the salmon to the fridge and let it rest for 24 hours so that the fish is cured very well.

  • Step 4. Wash cured salmon.

After the curing time, take it from the fridge and wash it thoroughly to remove the excess salt in the salmon. 

  • Step 5. Dry the salmon slices. 

Remove the water excess with paper towels and let it rest in the fridge for one or two hours to be completely dry.

  • Step 6. Cut the onion and lemons.

Cut a large onion into julienne and the lemons into thin slices.

  • Step 7. Find a glass jar with an airtight lid.

Go for a glass jar, add the lemon slices vertically that cover the walls of the container, and then add the onion.

  • Step 8. Add oil and wine or vinegar. 

Now place a layer of salmon in the jar, adding olive oil and two tablespoons of white wine or vinegar.

You can add bay leaves, thyme, pepper, coriander, or garlic, depending on your preferences.

Finally, place the lid and close it tightly. 

  • Step 9. Store salmon in oil in the fridge 

Take the salmon in oil to the fridge for 24 hours before consuming it to mix all the flavors and aromas. After that, you can consume it. 

Preserving salmon in oil lasts up to 2 weeks in perfect condition, always ensuring that it is well refrigerated in the fridge.

How to preserve pickled salmon

Pickled salmon is truly a delight! Those fascinated by this type of fish can prepare this recipe that is an infallible option to preserve it for longer. 

Pickling is one of the preservation techniques that require few ingredients, including vinegar, oil, and species that highlight the taste of food. For this recipe, you will need 600 grams of salmon. 

So let’s not wait any longer, and prepare this canned salmon in an exquisite pickle. 

  • Step 1. Cut the salmon into pieces.

First, you must remove the fish’s skin since it can be rubbery and unpleasant when you taste the pickled salmon.

Then cut the salmon into cubes which helps with the preservation.

Also, make sure the salmon has no bones or spines.

  • Step 2. Prepare the pickle.

Add 200 ml olive oil with a bay leaf in a deep skillet and cook over medium heat. 

When boiling, add four cloves of chopped garlic, one large julienne onion, one sliced carrot, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Stir well and let fry for about 5 minutes

  • Step 3. Add vinegar and white wine.

Add 200 ml of vinegar and 100 ml of white wine to the pickle and cook over low heat for five more minutes so that the alcohol evaporates.

  • Step 4. Add the salmon pieces to the pickle.

Place the salmon in the pickle to cook for 3 minutes. 

Halfway through cooking, you must turn each piece over so it is cooked on both sides. Do it very carefully so that they do not disintegrate.

  • Step 5. Remove pickled salmon from the heat.

After the ingredients have been cooked and integrated well, it is time to remove the pan with the pickle from the heat. 

  • Step 6. Pack in an airtight jar.

When the pickle is warm, you should add it to an airtight jar previously sterilized and dry.

To do this, start by placing the pieces of salmon with the other ingredients and then add the pickled broth until you fill the whole jar. 

In the end, you must tightly close the jar and let it cool for a few minutes.

  • Step 7. Store in the fridge

When the jar with the pickled salmon is cold, you can take it to the fridge and leave it there for about a day to enjoy it. 

This form of preservation ensures that the salmon is kept for one week in the pickle. 

How do you know when salmon is bad?

Salmon is a very delicate fish, so it must be handled and stored correctly so that there is no cross-contamination and causes problems to our health. 

Observing and recognizing when the salmon is in poor condition is also essential. In this case, you must know what those signs of decomposition are. So get to know them below. 

Signs of decomposition in raw salmon

  • Salmon has a powerful ammonia smell.
  • It has a white, translucent layer on the fish’s skin.
  • The salmon’s eyes are discolored and sunken, which indicates that the fish is not fresh.
  • The color of the salmon is not bright but looks dull.
  • If the salmon has black or dark spots on its meat, it is not advisable to consume the fish.

Signs of decomposition in cooked salmon (steam, sauces, pickle)

  • Salmon has a sour and foul smell. 
  • The texture of salmon is viscous.
  • It has mold on the skin or flesh.
  • The sauce and pickle have strange colorations such as black or green that indicate bacteria.

Signs of decomposition in smoked salmon

  • It has black or green coloration in some of its parts.
  • The smell of smoked salmon has changed to rancid and is very strong.
  • Its texture is rubbery. 

How long does salmon last?

Several aspects determine the shelf life of salmon, for example, if it is raw or cooked or how you stored it.

So how long does salmon last? The following table best details the question. 

ProductDuration time
Raw salmon in the fridge1-2 days.
Frozen raw salmon2-3 months.
Cooked salmon in the fridge2 days.
Frozen cooked salmon2 months.
Smoked salmon in the fridge5 days.
Frozen smoked salmon2 months.
Salmon in oil2 weeks.
Pickled salmon1 week.

What is the best way to preserve salmon?

The best way to preserve salmon in the short term is to refrigerate it using ice to keep it in perfect condition. 

You must opt for the freezing process if you have a large amount of salmon in your house and do not use everything quickly. 

Hoping you liked the content, I recommend you check other articles that may be interesting to you.


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