How long does fresh and frozen fish last?

How to store fresh fish at home

Freshly caught fish has the best taste and nutritional qualities. The longer the time passes after her euthanasia, the more, under the influence of internal enzymes and external bacteria, the breakdown of beneficial nutrients and oxidation (spoilage) processes begin. Therefore, after purchasing or catching fish, it is important to preserve the product as quickly as possible.


This canning method is suitable for short-term storage of fish. It is convenient in cases where there is no time for more complex preparations or the product is planned to be prepared quickly.

The method is based on lowering the temperature in the thickness of fish meat to −1°C. At this temperature, the activity of enzymes and microorganisms that trigger spoilage processes slows down.

Home refrigerators cannot maintain the required temperature optimum (0°C-3°C) for storage. Therefore, the fish is served with ice. For storage, it is advisable to use a container with holes in the bottom to drain water from melting ice.

Lay the fish in a bowl, layer by layer, covering it with ice. The layers must be in close contact, so before use the ice is crushed into small pieces. It is permissible to lay out no more than 3 layers.

Store the product in the refrigerator. Whole fish can be stored under these conditions for up to 8 days, and cut fish for up to 10 days.

Another option for cooling fish at home: storing it in BioFresh containers. This is the climate section in some refrigerator models, called the “freshness zone”. The containers maintain the set temperature and humidity level.

How long can fish be stored in a container? If you select the DrySafe mode with low humidity and temperature, then at a temperature of 0°C the fish can be stored for 2 days, and at −2°C for up to 4 days.

Details on how to properly store fresh fish can be seen in the video.

Selecting fish for frying

The best fish for frying will be fatty fish - low-fat varieties will give a dry, tasteless dish. River fish of different varieties is well suited, the choice of carp, smelt, carp, catfish, pike, bream, river trout or flounder is especially good. Since the fat content of these varieties is 1.4-4%, dishes made from them are distinguished by their juiciness and pleasant taste. When choosing varieties of sea fish, it is worth choosing those that are less bony and with a more delicate watery structure: cod, pollock, blue whiting, halibut, pelengas, sea bream, etc.

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Baked fish will be even more beneficial for human health - it is easier to prepare and does not require constant monitoring. A wide variety of fish are suitable for baking; the only requirement in this case is a minimum number of bones. Therefore, the choice of sea fish will be more successful; pike perch, salmon, pink salmon, flounder, and herring are also suitable. The choice of fish largely depends on taste preferences. Trout and mackerel remain unsurpassed.

There are also universal varieties of fish suitable for any cooking method:

1. Pollock. It does not contain small bones, is odorless, fries well and is suitable even for those people who adhere to a diet and a healthy lifestyle. 2. Any variety of the perch family. Usually these are river perch and pike perch. They have delicious tender meat. 3. Sea bass. Not too fatty and almost boneless, excellent for frying. 4. The sturgeon family. The Royal Family is good for any kitchen.

Choosing the right fish is already half the success in preparing a delicious dish.


This is a long-term method of canning, which, if the technology is followed, allows you to preserve up to 90-95% of the nutritional value of fish.

At home, the most convenient method is “shock” freezing. It involves the fastest possible exposure of fish tissue to low temperatures. With such freezing, the ice crystals formed do not destroy the structure of the product.

  • setting the temperature to −24°C in the freezer one day before freezing;
  • cutting fish into small pieces;
  • drying with a paper towel;
  • hermetically sealed product packaging in plastic bags;
  • laying out on a tray in one layer;
  • holding for 24 hours.

The frozen product is transferred into compact containers or into a common plastic bag. In the future, the optimum storage temperature is −18°C.

Storage periods vary and depend on the amount and chemical composition of fat. Ocean fish from 3 to 5, river fish up to 10 months.

Unexpected defrosting of the product leads to violation of shelf life. This happens during a long blackout or when the refrigerator breaks down. For this case, there are certain recommendations that will help avoid loss of product.

How to defrost fish correctly

The optimal defrosting method for preserving the quality of the product is to place it in the refrigerator at a temperature of +5°C. So the process of dissolving ice crystals occurs slowly and does not significantly change the structure of the meat. Depending on the size of the fish carcass, this process can take from 8 to 24 hours.

When you don’t have time to wait for a long time, you can use several quick methods:

  • placing the carcass under running water at a temperature of 15°C-25°C;
  • using a microwave, steamer or oven;
  • water bath method;
  • sprinkling with salt.

To prevent the evaporation of water and along with it beneficial nutrients, when defrosting the product is always covered with cling film.

Thawed and fresh fish without preservation can be stored for no more than 24 hours, provided it is placed in the refrigerator.

Storing raw fish

Fresh fish – up to 3 days

If you cook fish within 24 hours, you don’t need any special storage conditions - just put it on a dish and cover, nothing will happen to it during the day. But if you need to hold the fish for a little while, before putting the fish in the refrigerator, the first thing you need to do is gut it, because as you know, fish rots from the head, but if you plan to eat the fish quickly, you can leave the head - the main thing is to take out the insides. Cut the belly of the fish from tail to head. Place a trash can closer and, pulling out all the insides in one motion, throw them straight into the bucket, then simply rinse the fish under running water and dry with napkins. Cover the fish with parchment or cling film, leaving a minimal hole for ventilation. In this form, the fish will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Frozen - 6 months

At sub-zero temperatures, fish is stored for 6 months to a year. Wrap each carcass or fillet separately - this way you will save time on defrosting and it will not be good for the fish if every time before cooking you have to defrost and refreeze a large lump of fish. Fish cut into fillets will freeze faster, but will also dry out faster, so for long-term storage it is better to choose carcasses, because the larger the piece, the slower it will lose moisture.

Storing smoked fish

Smoking is one of the types of preservation, during which fish meat is saturated with bacteriostatic substances of smoke and loses some of its water. This extends shelf life, but requires a certain approach to storage.

Cold smoked fish has a longer shelf life. To do this, it is placed in bags made of natural burlap and hung by hooks in a dark and ventilated room. The optimal temperature is from 0°C to +5°C. In such conditions, the carcass is stored for up to 75 days.

The shelf life of hot smoked products is shorter. Maximum 4 days, subject to a stable temperature of at least +3°C and hermetically wrapped in parchment paper.

For longer storage, hot smoked fish is wrapped in cloth soaked in a strong saline solution and additionally in food paper. Store at an average temperature of +3°C for no more than 1 month.

Smoked carcass in vacuum packaging can be stored for up to 3 months, provided that the air temperature and humidity parameters specified by the manufacturer are observed. At a relatively high temperature (+3°C), such a product can be stored for no more than a month.

Smoked fish can be frozen at temperatures below −24°. The shelf life of this product in the freezer is 3 months.

Storing dried fish

There are several ways to store dried fish at home.


For this method you will need a cool and ventilated room without access to sunlight. You can use an attic, basement, balcony or closet. Dried fish is wrapped in food paper, placed in linen bags and hung indoors. The optimal humidity level is 70%-80%.


This is a long-term storage method. The product is frozen in small portions, pre-wrapped in food paper. Quick freezing at −24°C allows you to preserve the quality of the product for 12 months.

Sealed containers

Dried fish will retain its quality for up to 6 months if placed in airtight containers. After placing the product in glass or tin jars, place a lit candle in them and close the lid. The absence of oxygen inhibits the activity of enzymes and microorganisms that oxidize the product. In this form, dried fish can be stored for up to 6 months.

Storing fish dishes

We will separately consider the rules for storing dishes prepared from fish. It could be:

  • boiled, baked, fried fish;
  • fish steaks, cutlets, sticks;
  • salads, soups, baked goods with fish.

NOTE! The recommendations apply to dishes prepared at home. Semi-finished products and ready-made dishes from meat, fish, potatoes and other ingredients purchased in stores and public catering establishments are labeled with storage conditions and expiration dates. They must be adhered to.

In the freezer

Semi-finished fish dishes, such as homemade dumplings, minced meat, raw cutlets, and meatballs, are placed in the freezer. You should not keep them frozen for too long: no more than one month. The exact period depends on the temperature in the chamber: the lower it is, the longer the product is stored.

Such a short period is due to the fact that self-prepared semi-finished products differ from purchased ones. They do not contain preservative additives, which are added during production to increase shelf life. Defrosting and re-freezing of products is not recommended.

In the refrigerator compartment

Freshly prepared fish dishes are stored in the refrigerator after cooling. The timing depends on the type of dish:

Name of dishShelf life
Fish soups, brothsUp to 24 hours
Second coursesUp to 24 hours
Fish pies, baked goodsUp to 48 hours
Fish salads seasoned with sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt/vegetable oil/without dressingUp to 12/18/24 hours

The temperature in the chamber should be within +4 – +6 degrees. Any food that has been sitting for more than two days should no longer be eaten.

IMPORTANT! If the prepared food cannot be placed in the refrigerator, it is advisable to eat it immediately. The maximum time during which it can be stored at room temperature is several hours: 5-6 in cool times, 1-3 in hot periods of the year.

Proper storage of prepared meals includes sealing their packaging. For example, if open fried fish is stored in the refrigerator, it will spread its smell and other foods will be saturated with it. Use frying pans or pots with lids and tightly sealed containers.

Do not neglect the recommended shelf life of products. Eating stale fish and fish dishes can cause great harm to health, causing food poisoning. It must be remembered that the lower the temperature in the refrigerator or freezer, the longer the product will be stored. Low-fat varieties last longer than fatty ones. Fish is a strong-smelling product and must be packaged carefully.

Video: preparations for the winter, how to properly freeze fish, mushrooms, berries

Preparations for the winter, how to properly freeze fish, mushrooms, berries [salapinru]

Video: how to store fish and meat in the freezer

How to store fish and meat in the freezer? Vacuumator!

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Traditional storage methods

Traditional storage methods will help in cases where there is no access to a refrigerator.

First of all, a fresh product must be rid of internal enzymes as quickly as possible before decomposition processes begin. To do this, you need to gut it, remove the gills and clean the cavity from blood clots. The scales are a natural defense against external bacteria, so they are left intact.

To prevent bacteria from entering the carcass, the fish is washed with well or spring water. If they are not there, then wipe the carcass dry with a rag or paper towel. Rinsing with water from a lake or river will quickly spoil the product.

Simple natural preservatives will help prevent further growth of bacteria. These are salt, black pepper, formic acid contained in nettles and vinegar.

Simple preservation method:

  • rub the carcass with salt and black pepper, that is, pickle it;
  • stuff it and cover it on all sides with nettles;
  • Wrap with food paper and place in a shaded but ventilated place.

Processed fish will not spoil for up to 2 days.

Another option in which the shelf life can be extended to 7 days is the use of vinegar. To do this, dissolve 2 tsp in 0.5 liters of 9% vinegar. sugar, soak a linen cloth in the solution and wrap it around the salt-rubbed carcass. The product is hung in a shaded and ventilated place.

Fish is well preserved in a hole dug in a shady place . If there is a spring nearby, you can use another method. Rub the carcass with salt, cover with nettles, place in a container, seal it in a plastic bag and place in running water. The shelf life will be 2 days.

Application of cooler bags

If fishing trips are frequent, it is advisable to purchase a cooler bag. These insulated bags work on cold elements that accumulate cold. Before placing in it, the fish is dried and packed in plastic bags. Depending on the individual characteristics, the bag can keep the cold within +3°C from 5 to 24 hours.

How long does cooked fish last: fried, boiled and baked?

After heat treatment, fried, boiled or baked fish can remain at room temperature for 2-3 hours. After this, it needs to be put in the refrigerator.

To do this, wrap it in foil or cling film. In this state it can be stored for no more than 36 hours. After this, it is not suitable for food; the finished product cannot be frozen.

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Fish is a source of easily digestible proteins, rare fatty acids and all essential nutrients. Therefore, products made from it should be included in the weekly diet at least 2 times, which requires at least minimal supplies of the product in the refrigerator. A special marker of fish quality is proper storage and compliance with expiration dates.

Author: MarinaKunovskaya · Published 08/07/2009 · Updated 01/24/2019

Sanitary standards for the shelf life of perishable foods in the refrigerator, at a temperature of +2 - +6 degrees Celsius, approved by the USSR Ministry of Health in 1986 and still used by regulatory authorities in post-Soviet countries, should hardly be considered guidelines for home use. Their main goal is to prevent food from becoming infected even in the most unfavorable conditions. Such, for example, as heat and a high level of microbial contamination outside the refrigeration chamber at the time of preparation of the semi-finished product, or sharply reduced immunity in the consumer.

It is interesting to note that domestic standards are more stringent than in many other countries: for example, rules for army canteens in the United States allow most types of portioned food to be stored for 24 hours.

In addition, these standards do not require the use of special storage devices: such as tightly packing hot dishes in cling film, foil, or placing them in vacuum containers. Meanwhile, such measures can really extend the life of the product.

Most consumers are accustomed to determining the suitability of a product for consumption based on its appearance, smell and taste. And this method has its own logic: rotting, fermentation, fat oxidation and microbiological spoilage, possible in a refrigerator, usually lead to a change in the organoleptic properties of food. It makes sense to play it safe when it comes to foods high in protein and moisture - raw eggs in homemade sauces, homemade meat and fish salads.

How long does it take to store fried fish?

Heat-treated fish can be stored for 2-3 hours without refrigeration, at room temperature. During this time, it cools down and becomes suitable for consumption. If the dish does not have time to be consumed within a given time, it should be sent to the refrigerator. It can be stored there for up to two days, no more, at a temperature of +3...+6 °C. Dishes to which fish ingredients have been added must be consumed within 24 hours; after this period they must be thrown away to avoid intestinal infections.

If the fried fish was not eaten immediately and put in the refrigerator, then before serving the next time it must be heated in a frying pan with a little oil or fat, or heated in the microwave. Of course, the taste will change and will not be as pronounced as immediately after frying.

Cooked fish can also be frozen in the freezer, removing as needed. The duration of storage in this way without loss of taste will be up to 15 days.

Now, knowing how long fried fish can be stored in the refrigerator, you will protect yourself and your family from the possible consequences that are inevitable if you eat stale food.

There are also universal varieties of fish suitable for any cooking method:

How long to store food: everyday observations

It is worth considering that mono-component products deteriorate more slowly (for example, boiled rice, beans, pasta without dressing). Boiled root vegetables with their skins can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week if not peeled. Among multi-component dishes, those that use vinegar or contain other organic acids can withstand storage for 2-4 days - for example, cooked fish or raw vegetables in marinade, soups with sauerkraut. The most favorable storage place for prepared dishes in the refrigerator is the top shelf or the zero “freshness zone” in advanced models.

The data on expiration dates published below, determined by SanPiN 42-123-4117-86, can be taken into account rather as food for thought. That is, focus on the ratios of indicators that indicate the most perishable products, and not take a specific number of hours as a norm.

Storing cooked fish

Fried - 3-4 days

If the fish was fried separately from the gravy or sauce, then it will easily stand in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, covered with a lid or cling film, but not very tightly, otherwise it will “suffocate”. If, after frying, the fish was stewed in a sauce for some time, then you should not store it in the refrigerator for more than 2 days, especially if this sauce contains tomatoes or tomato paste.

Boiled - 3-4 days

Boiled fish is best stored in the broth in which it was boiled. But if the steamer dish or broth has already been eaten, then store the fish in containers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days, after which it will inevitably begin to dry out.

Frozen - 6 months

At sub-zero temperatures, fish is stored for 6 months to a year. Wrap each carcass or fillet separately - this way you will save time on defrosting and it will not be good for the fish if every time before cooking you have to defrost and refreeze a large lump of fish. Fish cut into fillets will freeze faster, but will also dry out faster, so for long-term storage it is better to choose carcasses, because the larger the piece, the slower it will lose moisture.

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