Original post made by Brian Martin(Cutshad) on February 8, 2004
I wanted to share my processing of fish for the freezer. I have had very good luck with fish of all types in the freezer, some as long as two years.
First and the most important, is the preparation of the fillets or whole fish. I usually fillet my fish, but my momma told me it was a sin to fillet a crappie! They get scaled, beheaded and gutted. On most catfish there is a fat line. This is usually located at the top of the fish, or its back. It is a slightly different colored meat. This is all removed. Second, you might notice a red line, or darker line on the side of the fillet. I cut most of this out. When youre finished, the meat is unblemished and looks very good. Next, I determine my serving sizes in each bag. Usually 10 to 12 fillets, or cut portions, for a family of four. I place the fish in the bag, i then put a light amount of salt on the fish. I fill the bag with water and sit it on the counter. I make sure all of the air is out of the bag. Air causes pockets in the ice and the exposed fish will freezer burn quickly. After sealing the bag, I turn it over and rub it around a little bit. This moves the salt through the bag and uncovers any hidden air I might have missed the first time. I remove the air and seal it up. The bag is labeled and placed into the freezer on its side. I stack all my bags on each other in the freezer.
Last edited by Whistler; 09-08-2005 at 10:40 AM.
Member since July 2002
Staff member since September 2003
Retired Army - 1975 -1995
A tip that I can share about getting the air out of the bag, is simply using a regular straw. Zip the bag all the way up to the straw that you have in the corner of the bag. Then suck as much as you can while sliding the straw out of the bag. There you have it No Air in the bag.
I freeze my fish in water! I put the fillets in a ziplock and fill with to much water, bounce the bag to make the fillets go to the bottom and bring all the air bubbles to the top. Then I close the zip lock except a little spot and squeeze most of the water out, sealing on the squeeze not letting air back in . Then I lay it on the side (after sealed) and work the fillets flat and consistent. I lay them flat in the freezer on a pizza box or large previous frozen fillet.
I also have a vacuum sealer. The trick to it is it removes air and seales dry items best. The best way to make a fillet dry is to prefreeze fillets then place them in the special bags and use sealer as designed.
I use the pack fillets in water and ziplock method and when I use the vacuum sealer I just dry the items I want to freeze best as possible not prefreeze method . I also freeze my fish flat as possible for storage and quicker defrost.
With our kids grown, and coming, and going we never know how much we're gonna need for a meal.
We freeze the fillets individually.
After cleaning like Brian describes, soak in salted water in fridge for a day. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam, lay out fillets so they don"t touch, then spray fillets with Pam, and place cookie sheet in freezer. Once frozen, remove from sheet and put in bags, the Pam helps keep them from freezer burning for a few months, which seldom last that long around our house anyway. For longer periods, use a food saver bags, and pull a vacuum on them.
The nice part is that you can take out only as much or as little as you want because they are frozen separately.
For large quantities, like for fish fries, we do it just about like Brian's method. We soak them in salt water, but freeze them in unsalted. Don't know if it makes a difference or not, that just the way we do it.
another method that works great. it uses the aspect of a vaccum sealer without needing one. though i do have one you can fill a bucket or clean tub with water. put fillets in the FREEZOR bags. DONT use storage bags. they arent ment for long freezes and wont protect the food.
lower slowly into the water keeping zipper up. as the fillets are being lowered the water pressure pushes out all air in the bag. as the zipper goes under the water seal it. you have eliminated air from bag wich it what will allow quick freezor burn. this works with well with any thing in a freezor bag.
We use the ziplock bags and fill with water as above. We place the bag in a 10" square Wilton aluminum cake pan and freeze. After frozen the shape will be uniform and you can stack them in the freezer like putting books on a shelf.
I do it pretty much the same as yall with one difference. Fill FREEZER bag with fillets, a little salt, and water. Shake a bit, and squeeze out air. Place first bag on piece of cardboard in freezer. Then place a somewhat heavy bowel on top. This creates an indention in the top of the bag. Which allows all the rest of em to kinda lock together. Came up with this after the second time my stack of fish fell on my foot. Funny how bodily harm causes you to rethink things.