Preserving salmon is just as much of a task as is catching it. Salmon which has been treated in brine is called lox. The best quality lox is made from the belly which is the most sought after and appetizing part of a salmon.
Lox is a much-desired delicacy that needs careful attention. It is best to eat lox fresh but is it possible to freeze lox for later use without ruining it?
Yes, lox can be frozen for later use but it needs to be handled with extreme caution and you need to follow a few steps to preserve it without ruining it.
Lox can be frozen for a period of up to 6 months and it would remain safely edible however keeping it in the freezer for more than 6 months increases the chances of it being ruined. It is likely that lox would lose its taste and texture if kept frozen for periods longer than 6 months.
If the original packing is unopened, you can simply place it in the freezer and it should remain protected provided it is fully sealed.
However, if the original packing of the lox has been opened, you will need a freezer bag or a container.
Using a Freezer Bag
In the case of a freezer bag, carefully place the lox inside the bag. After doing this, you will need to remove as much air from the bag as possible. Finally, seal the bag in a way that not even a little bubble of air can enter it.
Cutting off the air is very important because air oxidizes lox when it comes in contact with it and thus ruins it.
Freezer bags are convenient for freezing lox because they do not take up a lot of space and they are easy to place.
Using a Freezer Container
If you are using a freezer container, simply put the lox in it and put the lid on. Take care that the container should not have excess moisture in it before freezing.
Ice crystals will form on the lox if the container is moist which will make the lox tasteless. We know you aren’t putting this much work for tasteless fish!
A vacuum sealer is a very helpful tool in freezing lox. It protects the lox against any foreign elements which might be present in the freezer and also ensures that the lox is safe from any excess air in the packaging.
Cutting into thin and small slices is the best way of storing lox for freezing. Defrosting the whole fish takes longer so small slices would be more convenient for the thawing process.
Given below are a few simple steps to sum up the freezing process:
Cut lox into smaller and thinner slices.
Wrap the slices in two layers of plastic and then in another layer of tin foil.
Place the wrapped lox inside a freezer bag and try to remove as much of the air as possible from the bag before freezing.
You can also flash freeze the slices to avoid the wrapping process; start by freezing the slices and then place them in the freezer bag for longer storage.
Freezing Lox Twice
Refreezing the leftover lox once it has already been frozen and thawed before is never a good idea. This typically applies to every other kind of food.
Lox is usually frozen first at the vendor’s or during deliveries. You have the window to freeze it once after bringing it home but not twice, for a number of reasons.
Freezing and thawing lox, or any other food for that matter, increases the risk of food poisoning. The process of freezing and de-freezing multiple times stimulates the production of bacteria.
So, it is best to freeze it only once before consumption and then get rid of any leftovers.
Besides, repeatedly freezing and thawing lox destroys the fibrous strands of the meat and degrades the quality of lox both in terms of taste and texture. No thank you!
How long does Lox last?
Special care must be taken in storing fish and consuming it before it goes bad. There are three situations worth considering whilst trying getting your lox to last.
If you leave the packaging intact and there are no tears or openings in it, your lox would remain safe for 2 months in your fridge.
Lox can be stored in the fridge for 3 days after the package has been opened. Be sure to consume it before 3 days because after that it would be unsuitable for consumption.
If you have frozen lox in a freezer bag or a container, it could remain edible for 6 months. The quality of the meat would degrade with time, however. It is best to eat it within the first 3 months’ of freezing it.
Labelling the Date of Freezing
Eating out-dated lox that has gone bad may earn you a nasty trip to the hospital.
To avoid this, it is best to label your packages or freezer bags with the date on which you are storing them. By doing this, you will know how long you have before your lox goes bad.
The process of thawing lox is just as delicate as the dish itself. You need to thaw it with care and safety. Simply putting it in the microwave on defrost would ruin it, rendering it inedible.
For quick thawing, the lox should be put in warm water at room temperature. Now you need to be very careful because the meat would get ruined if the water is too hot.
At the same time, putting it in warm water for too long stimulates the production of different bacteria and germs which may cause food poisoning.
So, to defrost lox in a way that it doesn’t lose its taste and texture and remains healthy to consume, keep it in the fridge overnight. This is the safest method of defrosting as it preserves the quality without running the risk of bacteria and germs.
Indicators for Lox Going Bad
You need to check if the lox has gone bad before consuming it. Bad smell and dull colour are sure signs of spoiled lox. In case it has gone bad, just discard the meat.