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|Freezing Seafood at Home|
1. Rinse the fish with cold running water.
2. Smaller fish can be frozen in one piece. Large fish or pieces of fish should be cut into 1-inch thick fillets or steaks.
3. The key to successful freezing is to create a barrier to air. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then protect with an over-wrap of aluminum foil.
Place the seafood in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Press the bag gently to remove air trapped in the bag. Seal and wrap with aluminum foil.
4. Label with name of seafood and the date frozen. 5. Place in a single layer with at least 1 inch of surrounding space to allow for adequate circulation of cold air. One-inch thick fillets will freeze in about 16 hours.
When freezing smoked fish, brush a light coating of canola oil to reduce dehydration and oxidation. Package and freeze as above.
Cook crab before freezing to prevent discoloration of the crabmeat.
Once the crab has cooled and the meat has been picked from the shell, package and freeze as above.
Note: home-frozen seafood should be used in no more than two months; commercially frozen seafood up to four months.
To maintain the quality of frozen seafood, it is best to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing seafood at room temperature or by placing it in warm water.
Slow thawing will help retain moisture, flavor and nutrients. Figure a thawing time of 18-24 hours for a one-pound package.
If you're in a hurry, you can thaw frozen fish and shellfish under cold running water. Seal the seafood in a plastic bag and place in a large bowl. Position the bowl and seafood under the faucet and adjust the faucet so that a steady stream of water circulates and spills out of the bowl. A one-pound package will take 30-60 minutes to thaw.
To thaw seafood in the microwave, select the lowest defrost power (typically 30%) and follow the manufacturer's instructions for thawing. A one-pound portion of seafood will typically take about five minutes. Be careful to avoid cooking the seafood. Fish and shellfish defrosted in the microwave should be prepared immediately.
Note: unless a recipe calls for coating, marinating or stuffing; or the seafood is frozen in a block, it may not be necessary to thaw the fish or shellfish before cooking. Not only is it convenient, but cooking frozen seafood is an excellent way to preserve the most flavor, moisture and nutrients. It is especially effective with baking, poaching and broiling. When cooking frozen seafood, just double the cooking time.
Simply Seafood Spring 1995
Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 06-19-95