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How Long Will Frozen Fish Keep in My Freezer?
Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell answers a common question

04/11/2019 By Randy Hartnell (pictured above holding a huge king salmon)
Recently, a customer asked us a common question: “How long will frozen fish keep in my freezer?”
 
Here's the answer, from former Alaska fisherman Randy Hartnell, founder and President of Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.

Randy's answer
As our long-time customers know, it's a myth that freezing degrades the quality of seafood.

Jane Brody, health and nutrition columnist for The New York Times, once put it this way: "The freshest seafood is that which has been frozen shortly after harvest and remains that way until cooked."

Our seafood is either kept on ice or in very cold water between the time it's caught and arrives on shore for flash-freezing, or it's flash-frozen right on board the boat.
 
Flash freezing uses ultra-low temperatures to freeze seafood solid in a matter of seconds, capturing its fresh-caught quality at the peak of perfection.
 
When properly packaged and frozen, fish and shellfish will retain its ocean-fresh flavor and nutritional quality for many months.
 
Getting back to your question, the answer will vary, depending on the type of seafood, the type of freezer used, and the temperature of home storage.
 
We recommend storing frozen fish at a temperature of 0° F or lower, which will retain the quality of vacuum-packed fish and shellfish for six to twelve months. (Before it's shipped to a customer, we hold our seafood at a constant -10° F.)
 
If you have a good-quality freezer that maintains a stable temperature of 0° F or lower, your vacuum-sealed fish will retain its quality for many months as well.

However, that may not be true if your freezer is the "frost-free" type. If you have this type of freezer, seafood may only retain its quality for three months or so. 
 
Frost-free freezers stay that way by repeatedly cycling through thawing temperatures, which degrades the quality of foods. (If you have a frost-free freezer and have ever wondered why your ice cubes thaw or ice cream gets that funny taste, now you know!) Frost-free freezers also tend to use more electricity than conventional freezers.

No matter how good your freezer, nothing will save a piece of seafood if its package's air-tight seal is lost.
 
That's because the omega-3 fats unique to seafood (DHA and EPA), while uniquely healthful, are also unstable and will quickly oxidize once exposed to air.
 
You can recognize significantly oxidized seafood from its “fishy” smell and taste. If you retrieve a portion from your freezer that appears to have a broken seal, give it the “sniff test.” You'll know right away whether to discard it or not. (If the seal is broken when you receive seafood from us — a rare occurrence — please contact customer service.)
 
Shellfish and lower-fat fish such as halibut, yellowfin tuna, or cod typically retain their quality longer than fattier fish like salmon, sablefish, or albacore tuna, because they contain fewer oxidation-prone omega-3s.
 
Freezing is a convenient way to keep nutritious, high-quality seafood readily available — and it's a good thing it does. Otherwise, we couldn't enjoy succulent wild salmon and seafood throughout the year!

 
Best regards,
Randy Hartnell
Founder & President