Fixing freezer burned salmon

Discussion in 'Recipes, Storage and Preparation of Seafood' started by Sangstercraft, Jan 10, 2019 at 10:08 AM.

  1. Sangstercraft

    Sangstercraft Well-Known Member

    I have a Foodsaver machine, use the bags that are supposed to go with it, and keep my salmon in a deep freeze. Yet around this time of year it seems as though some of last summer's salmon become freezer burned.

    I thaw a fillet for dinner, pull it out of the bag and that unmistakable smell and slightly-less-than-pink color makes my heart sink. All the work that goes into getting and prepping that fish, and dinner plans are now "rice and salad" only! I've cut off the freezer burned parts, rinsed the fish, used strong herbs in the meals, but the smell seems to stay in the fish.

    I read on the 'net about soaking the fish in milk for half an hour. The protein in the milk binds with the chemical which causes the stinky smell in the fish. I've done this on two occasions and it helps, but I can still taste a bit of the freezer burned taste.

    I've read about these techniques but haven't tried them yet:
    -soak the fish in a salty brine.
    -pat it with baking soda, let sit, rinse.
    -marinade in whiskey, garlic, olive oil, soy sauce.

    Anyone have experience with salvaging "slightly-off" salmon? Other than using it for crab bait ;)
  2. silversands

    silversands New Member

    Make a Fish Pie! You wont notice it at all. Just don't use freezer burned fish that is more than a year old. That is bait for sure. There is some great recipes out there..and perfect winter eating with potatoes, cheese etc. Grating a lemon out rind (zesting?) is nice to mix into any fish pie recipe I find too.

    Here is a link to one:
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  3. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

    To my taste it's the fat in the fish that's gone rancid and that's it/No Hope None.
  4. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    It is for sure, Pink salmon seem to last the longest.

    White Chinook, fatty and oily and the fat turns brown in like 6 months
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  5. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    With foodsavers unfortunately it's something you can never get away from. After a bit of time the fish will become freezer burnt. The bags have air chamber passageways manufactured into them so that air (and liquid) will travel through them out of the bags as a vacuum is pulled from them. This unfortunately is ultimately what makes them fail at properly sealing an item inside them. Cause those little channels/chambers molded into the plastic bags now hold air pockets all over the place. So even though the bags look to be sucked down onto the item you are packaging, they are in fact holding on to thousands of tiny spots of air right up against the foods surface. Notice how over time too the bags become loose from the food and start to separate away from the food item? Well that's just physics. The air and moisture now trapped in those little air pocket/chambers/channels over time swell from being frozen and eventually always expand up and away from the foods surface thus causing the freezer burn.

    There is no fix for the food saver issues mentioned above. The only fix is to eventually get yourself a chamber vacuum packaging machine that will 100% pull out all the air from the food packaging. With a chamber machine you can even surround the food item completely with a liquid if you want to in order to further ensure no air is touching the food item being packaged.
    Sangstercraft and bigdogg1 like this.
  6. walleyes

    walleyes Crew Member

    Some truth some not to all statements.

    Food savers can indeed hold a seal for as long as required if done right. I double seal mine for extra insurance as well double bag the smaller pieces. As law requires us to keep pieces identifiable as one fish when I cut my larger fish into pieces I place those pieces into small bags, double seal them then they are placed into a large bag in order then they are sealed as one fish and double seal those. They hold a seal for many months. Some of mine I have were sealed in Aug of 17 and are still sealed internally in the inside bags. We opened one last week and had a meal, no freezer burn and no issues. For those that are single bagged and do get some freezer burn as well they can be usable. We just did a few last week. Mine are left with the skin on I thaw them, skin them when you skin them ensure you remove that fat line from under the skin. Also remove any discoloured meat, you should be left with only the red meat, yes you have some waste but not as much as throwing it out. We canned our older stuff, just the clean meat. Makes very good canned salmon.

    So to answer the OP's question no you can't fix freezer burned meat but just trim it off, remove the fat (brown meat ) and use only the clean coloured flesh. You will be presently surprised as to the taste.

    No waste, you killed it, you eat it is our motto.
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  7. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Secret is don't use fresh water /or any water to clean your fish.fillet and pat dry/picked clean with newspaper before sealing in bag.fixing frozen burnt salmon ,trim dark meat ,presure cook the fish, .when thawing don't let the fish sit in the juice.
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  8. Kildonan

    Kildonan Well-Known Member

    Smoking it can hide a lot too.
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  9. Clint r

    Clint r Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. We food save our fish every season. No problems here with freezer burn or bags pulling away from the fish. Moving bags around in the freezer however can cause small holes and then you will end up with loose bags and freezer burn. It rarely makes it a year before it’s gone though. But after 6 months it’s still fresh.
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  10. wolf

    wolf Well-Known Member

    Yes you can wash fish need to get blood off . guess you never worked in a fish plant?or commercial boat? we used to "glaze" fish all the time.
    one thing you may want to do is put on a cookie sheet after you wash the fish put in freezer for about a hour so it "crusts" up makes it easier to put in bags to, no slime.
    one thing that is a killer for all vac sealers is the seal area if there is any moisture or fish slime it will comprise the seal.
    I cant even venture to know how many fish I have done in 35 years...
  11. Prawn Star

    Prawn Star Active Member

    I always freeze my fish on a waxed paper covered tray before I vac pack it. no issues with freezer burn.
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  12. UkeeDreamin

    UkeeDreamin Well-Known Member

    As others have said I find my food saver vacuum sealed fish is awesome up until Christmas, after that, particularly fattier chinook, the fatty brown meat tends to go “off”. I skin, trim off all brown meat from the skin side, any edge meat that is “burnt” and tend to do a marinade that brines the fish a bit before baking or bbq’ing.


    Sangstercraft likes this.
  13. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    To sound a bit nerdy, everything on earth always falls back to science. No matter how we want to explain things in different ways with what our experiences and observations are there's just no getting away from science. Freezer burn occurs from exposure to air "oxidation" while frozen and or thawing then re freezing etc. I've also have found and agree the high fat foods go bad much faster than others in the freezer.

    Yes Foodsaver vac packed foods "can" keep the food in decent shape for awhile but the bags are manufactured with inevitable failure built into them because they are manufactured with thousands of air pocket/chambers/channels in them because that is the only way those machines can physically pull air out of them. So even if you sit there with your foodsaver for a long time while trying to pull all the air out of the package you will never get 100% of the air out of it. I'm sure you've noticed how on some food products while using your foodsaver you have to physically help "push" the air out of the bag by running one hand over the food (especially moist fish fillets) towards the vacuuming end of the bag. Then you try to seal that bag when you "hope" you have gotten all the air out of it. Yes they will last in the freezer for awhile so if you're not packaging and freezing too many food items and keeping them frozen for extended periods of time then you will eat them before they get freezer burned. But eventually they will fail.
    I've had lot's and lot's of Foodsavers over the years. Eventually I said enough is enough and bit the bullet to buy my chamber machine. A decision I thank myself for every time I vac pack food; which is multiple times a week.

    Freezing foods in water can and will help from removing air from contacting the surface of the food you are freezing but it's very important that that food is not susceptible to moisture absorption while freezing. I've tried this with a lot of different foods over the past year or so. Some foods, even in the short time it takes to go from thaw to frozen, will absorb some of that water as they go to the frozen state. Another reason why they "flash freeze" seafood while out at sea. The faster and colder you can get the food frozen then the better quality of food you will have.
    Shrimp/Prawns,Crab are some seafoods that particularly do much better for me when freezing in water. You can freeze in water with a foodsaver but it's a nightmare, messy and hard to do without sucking liquid into your machine. Now I've heard they even sell some moisture absorbing cloth bar you put in your foodsaver to help with that. Still a less then optimal way of doing it. Using a chamber machine to freeze foods in water is very easy, fast, and clean. I freeze a lot of my baits/guts/heads etc with blood/liquid in the packages in with my chamber machine. Keeps everything in perfect shape while frozen.

    Vac Packing in liquid with chamber machine. Great for freezing, marinading etc..

    Herring Guts For Bait

    Blackberry Jam

    Steak In Marinade

    Salmon In Marinade
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  14. CIVANO

    CIVANO Well-Known Member

    I vacuum pack the salmon with the bags smooth side toward the meat and the textured side toward the skin and this helps a lot with the visible freezer burn.
    Sangstercraft and silversands like this.
  15. UkeeDreamin

    UkeeDreamin Well-Known Member

    Jealous of your set up and it’s capabilities Chasin Dreams. I’m curious, though, your wife ever grab a bag of bloody herring gut bait instead of the marinating salmon or steak? I suppose thatd be one way to get yourself a separate bait freezer!!!


    Sangstercraft and Chasin' Dreams like this.
  16. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    Lol yes! I actually did have a small bait freezer in our garage and I overflowed that one into part of our larger household one so to save electricity costs she agreed just to use the one larger one for everything :D So ya I get squawked at a fair bit for my stuff in there lol. So far there hasn't been any mixups with bait vs food packs lol but the herring blood does look a bit like some of the jam packs in there :p I imagine I'll get kicked back to a separate bait freezer pretty soon lol.
    Sangstercraft and UkeeDreamin like this.
  17. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Boats at sea are not prossesing fish for vac sealing, they are glazing the round and flash freezing witch the meat is not expozed to air or moisture.processing plant most likly has the gutted round witch can be washed of blood and descaled and the fish is ready for you to get a fillet cut off the bones .Do you see blood when you fillet a fish?If you do i say don't add water at this point just dab it up with news paper.I say the secret is don't let water come in contact with the meat before vac sealing in bag or before cooking .prosseing plant -mussel beach/FC G&G seafoods. -commercial boat / sola ,becky joe,and catona.Try watching a few pike place market videos
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  18. wolf

    wolf Well-Known Member

    All i can say is do whatever you like but water is not going to hurt things what do fish swim in???
    been guiding now for almost 35 years and i wash fish even my own and still turns out great. the things i mentioned above when you put a layer of water on and gently freeze will help syop freezer burn with a food savor as you are creating a layer between the fish and bag .. I personally dont worry about it as i have a professional chamber sealer and zip it in and freeze it with a special jig i made so no fish slime gets on seal
    Sangstercraft likes this.
  19. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    I haven't bought my chamber sealer yet I am almost thinking of designing and building one. Will see but I am pretty much tired of my food-saver.
  20. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Water freezes and expands the meat fiber causing the meat to fall appart easyer.Would you wash any other type of expozed meat before freezing?

Share This Page