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FAQ's About Fish and
Seafood Preservation

Here are a few tips and tricks and frequently asked questions about fish and seafood preservation. These are really important and I hope you get something from them.

recipebuttonShrimp Storage

Wash and sanitize your hands, the kitchen sink, counter top, and any other surfaces which will come in contact with the shrimp. Dissolve 2 tablespoonfuls of liquid laundry bleach in 1 gallon of tap water for a simple, yet effective, sanitizing solution. Thoroughly wash the shrimp using plenty of cool tap water. Head shrimp promptly. Heading reduces the amount of ice and storage space required because the head accounts for 35 to 40 percent of the shrimp's body weight. Shrimp heads also contain over 80 percent of the spoilage bacteria found in shrimp. Therefore, headed shrimp are less likely to spoil than those with heads. Leave the shells on shrimp tail meat because they help reduce drying out (freezer burn) during frozen storage.

If you want to eat the shrimp fresh, mix them with ice and store in the refrigerator. Uncooked shrimp should not be kept on ice in the refrigerator for more than 3 to 4 days.

To freeze shrimp in zip-top freezer bags:

Place 1 pound of shrimp in a 1-quart zip- top freezer bag. Fill bag with cool tap water. Lay bag on its side and drain water until bag is almost flattened against shrimp. Quickly zip bag shut and freeze.

To freeze shrimp in half-gallon waxed milk cartons:

Thoroughly wash and sanitize milk cartons using the sanitizing solution described above. Place two pounds of shrimp in a half-gallon waxed milk carton. Fill with cool tap water to within one inch of top. Fold top over, and freeze. After the contents have frozen, open the carton and add more water to cover any exposed shrimp. Then, fold top over again, tape closed, and freeze.

Shrimp frozen by these methods will keep for 4 to 6 months. Keep them solidly frozen. Do not thaw and refreeze. Repeated freezing and thawing reduce shrimp quality and provide a potential for spoilage. Thaw shrimp carefully, either overnight in the refrigerator or under cold, running tap water, immediately before use.


Wash and sanitize your hands, all work areas, and storage containers with the solution described previously. Every fisherman has a favorite way of dressing each species he catches. Before preserving your fish, dress it to the form that suits your needs, whether simple pan-dressing (heading, gutting, scaling), filleting, or steaking. Rinse dressed fish or fillets thoroughly under plenty of cool, running tap water.

Many large fish can have tapeworms, which are usually found in the tail quarter of the fish. To remove them, fillet the fish in the usual fashion. The affected area will have a reddish tinge, unlike the whitish, unaffected areas. The tapeworms themselves are white. Although there should be no danger from eating this portion of the fish, most people will probably want to remove and discard the affected section.

If you plan to eat your fish fresh, wrap it in clear plastic or place it in zip-top storage bags. Pack in ice and place in the refrigerator. Fresh fish stored in this manner will keep for 5 to 7 days.

To freeze fish in zip-top freezer bags or half-gallon waxed milk cartons:

Follow the directions for freezing shrimp.

To glaze fish:

Dip each fish portion or fillet in ice water. Lay on a cookie sheet (not touching) and place in freezer. After the fish are solidly frozen, dip them in ice water again, place them back on the cookie sheet, and return to freezer. Repeat Step B several times until ice glaze completely covers fish. Wrap glazed fish in two layers of plastic wrap or seal in plastic bags. Place in freezer.

Most fish frozen by these methods will keep for 4 to 6 months. However, fish with high fat contents, such as mackerel, mullet, or bluefish, maintain their quality while frozen for about 3 months only.

Keep fish solidly frozen. Do not thaw and refreeze. Repeated thawing and refreezing reduce quality and provide a potential for spoilage. Thaw fish carefully, either overnight in the refrigerator or under cold, running tap water immediately before use.

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