It’s crucial to treat fish with caution when it comes to how long you leave it in the fridge for, because improper handling of fish can increase the risk of it causing food poising. Bear in mind that cooking is not necessarily enough to kill the bacteria that can grow in food, so you need to follow the current food storage guidelines.
How long can thawed salmon stay in the fridge? Raw salmon has a short shelf life, and it should not be stored for more than two days in the fridge once it has fully defrosted. If you are not ready to use salmon, do not take it out of the freezer, because it cannot be refrozen once it has defrosted, and it will need to be used up quite quickly.
How Long Can You Keep Thawed Salmon in the Fridge?
You should not keep thawed salmon in the fridge for more than two days before cooking it. Bacteria will start breeding in the flesh, even at the low temperatures provided by the fridge, and the fish will go bad. It could become dangerous to eat, and may spread food poisoning.
Should You Keep Salmon in the Freezer?
Yes, you should keep salmon in the freezer until you are ready to use it. In the freezer, salmon will stay fresh for months, although it should be kept in an airtight container or a sealer bag to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
The best way to ensure that your salmon does not get wasted when you buy it is to put it straight into your freezer unless you will be using it up that day. This ensures that bacteria cannot start breeding in the fish, because it will be stored at a temperature that is too low to support bacterial growth.
Storing your salmon in the freezer is your best option if you do not have immediate plans for it. A lot of salmon is already sealed in a vacuum pack, but if you have bought fresh salmon, you might want to put it into a plastic container or a sealer bag before freezing it.
How Should You Thaw Salmon?
You can get salmon out a few hours before it is needed, and put it in the fridge to defrost. You may need to get large pieces of salmon out the night before so that they have time to defrost, but bear in mind that you can speed up the defrosting process using the microwave or cold water if necessary.
If you do not thaw salmon in the fridge, you will need to use it up more quickly. You can safely thaw salmon in cold water, or in the microwave, but if you do so, you should use it up promptly, rather than putting it in the fridge.
You should not thaw salmon in warm water, even if this seems more logical. This will raise the temperature of the surface of the fish to unsafe levels, while the center will remain cold. Thawing the fish in cold water keeps the outer flesh cool while the inside defrosts.
The microwave heats the fish quickly enough that bacteria should not have time to grow in the short amount of time that it takes for the fish to defrost. However, both this method and the cold water method still raise the temperature of the fish, and therefore compromise its safety.
It will be fine to eat as long as you cook it and eat it promptly, but if you put it in the fridge, bacteria will have a chance to start multiplying throughout the salmon, and will quickly make it unsafe for consumption.
Why is Thawing Salmon in the Fridge Better?
If you thaw salmon in the fridge, the temperature of the fish stays very low. The surface temperature will still get higher than the internal temperature while the fish is defrosting, but it will not be high enough to cause issues.
This ensures that bacteria do not start breeding in the food at this point, allowing it to be safely stored for a longer period. Because you have not introduced warmth and bacteria to the fish and you have instead kept it cold, it should stay fresh for a couple of days.
You should always thaw salmon in the fridge if you are able to. This method certainly does take longer, so spend a bit of time experimenting, and see how long it takes for different sizes of fish to defrost.
Should You Open the Package of Salmon?
No, it is better to leave the packaging sealed when you have bought packaged salmon from the store.
The salmon provider will have vacuum packed the salmon, removing the air to help improve the fish’s shelf life and reduce the risk of someone getting bad fish. It is harder for bacteria to get into this sort of packaging, and therefore it will offer your salmon some protection while it is in the fridge. This can extend its shelf life.
You should still not push it past the two day mark, but the packaging is best left intact when you buy raw salmon.
How to Know If Salmon Has Gone Bad?
Most foods show quite clearly when they have gone bad, but you need to be careful, because some strains of bacteria do not have any signs that we can detect. However, in some cases, off fish will be very easy to detect.
The salmon is no longer safe to eat if it shows any signs of white mold appearing on its surface. A strong, fishy smell is also an indication that the salmon has gone bad – you should smell almost nothing from fresh fish.
Any change in taste or texture is also a sign that the salmon is not okay to eat anymore.
Thawed salmon should be safe to keep in the fridge for a couple of days, provided it has been thawed in the fridge. If you have thawed the salmon using your microwave or the cold water technique, you will have to cook the salmon and eat it promptly.