As interest in American-harvested seafood grows -- evidenced by the growth in the number of companies like ours as well as the popularity of more urban fishmonger type storefronts -- consumer comfort with the product is swiftly following behind. Americans are more interested in sustainability, whole foods, and the relationships those beliefs can bring than they’ve been in a long time. And thanks to educational efforts by seafood enthusiasts across the country, more and more folks are embracing, yet again, ocean-dwelling creatures as a valuable protein source. We're grateful, but we're also here to do our part. We want to help make seafood the norm for you and your family so you can regularly and safely enjoy the sockeye salmon and other seafood products sent from our boat to your plate. Once you’ve put some of these best practices to use, we’re sure it’ll be second nature to eat from the sea, like we do, all year long!
SHIPPING BEST PRACTICES
To maintain the same fresh flavor and quality our fishermen get to enjoy right out of the net for our customers, our processing team flash freezes our seafood within hours of being caught. The product then remains frozen through the entire journey to a customer’s door. Why? A "fresh" fillet in grocery store display case is often not indeed "fresh" but instead thawed and left to sit in the case. Although these thawed fillets are left at a temperature safe for consumption, the space of time between thawed and cooked is long enough to start to deteriorate the quality of the fish. Local customers will notice that in our Bloomsburg storefront, we keep just about everything frozen, so as to maintain this quality. We freeze our fish once, hours after it’s pulled from our nets and delivered to our processing dock. We keep it frozen in our big freezers and with dry ice until it ends up on your doorstep and you’re ready to eat it.
Buying directly from a fisherman-owned business like Wild For Salmon ensures safe, flash frozen wild seafood products and top quality experience for customers. Did you know some other seafood sellers and processors ship their fish frozen first to countries across the globe, where it’s thawed, processed into portions or burgers or what-have-you, then refrozen before it’s shipped back to the USA? This not only adds a zillion food miles, but also slowly but significantly deteriorating the quality of the fish.
THAWING BEST PRACTICES
When you order from our online store and receive frozen, vacuum-packed fillets or steaks, follow proper thawing and storing techniques to ensure quality of the product. If you'd like to enjoy our products within hours upon arrival, place the product in a shallow dish, still in its vac-pac, and submerge it in cold tap-water. If you’re in a big hurry and not worried about your water bill, you can run the water continuously to speed up the process.
If you have more time, the best way to thaw wild seafood is to place the product in a shallow dish in your refrigerator with the vac-pac cut open and leave overnight. This will allow it to thaw more evenly throughout, rather than have the thinner parts of the meat drop all the way to room temperature while the middle is still rock hard.
Cooking the fish frozen directly is an option, though rarely recommended; it often results in a chewy texture, but here are a few select recipes, provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, that understand best how fast life moves sometimes, and how fast we need to get food on the table.
Enjoy your thawed fish within the day. Frozen fish will maintain its superior quality for about nine months in your freezer, though it is safe to store for up to two years if handled properly. If you have an in-fridge freezer, plan to eat product store in it within the month.
Before thawing any frozen seafood item, snip vac-packed items for safety! It is important to note that Wild for Salmon flash freezes and individually vacuum packs its wild-caught salmon and other seafood. This packaging maintains the freshness of the fish, its nutrient value, provides individual servings, and allows the consumer to see the product inside. However, if the fish is thawed improperly, there is a slight chance that Clostridium botulinum, can grow and potentially produce a toxin that can cause the foodborne illness, Botulism. The bacteria thrives in conditions with low oxygen (like a still completely sealed, thawing fillet) and can cause a foodborne illness if the toxin is consumed. This is why we suggest both a cold bath to thaw and snipping the vac pack. So long as the food item is thawed at 38 degrees F or below with a corner snipped (or is removed from the vac-pack altogether), you can avoid any growth of harmful bacteria!
For safest and best results, here are two easy methods to thawing your Wild for Salmon seafood:
- Snip the corner or make a small slit in the package to introduce air.
- Place on a plate or bowl, and put in refrigerator to thaw overnight
- Prepare and enjoy!
Remove seafood from original package.
Place on a plate or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Prepare and enjoy!
FREEZING BEST PRACTICES
Survey the vac pac seal upon arrival of your wild seafood delivery and enjoy any broken sealed items first. When your delivery first arrives, it is a good idea to take a look at the product and make note of any broken seals. While our vacuum-pacs are currently the top option on the market, they can start to peel away and gape from items like frozen fillets. Enjoy these items first so they don’t become freezer burned, which can cause your product to become dry and less flavorful!
Avoid freezer jostling when possible, and store your Wild For Salmon seafood in freezer “safe zones”. When we say freezer jostling, we mean the shuffling and cramming that happens when you’re making it work, but perhaps the freezer is just a bit too full. The best option (or freezer “safe zone”) is to store your seafood in a drawer or box in the freezer where other items will not be piled on top of them. Our seafood is packed in high-quality vac-pack bags and packaged to withstand handling during shipping, unboxing, and freezer jostling. However, as time goes on, the nature of tight vacuum seals around frozen solid seafood makes them delicate. The best way you can prevent any bruising, or peeling/gaping of the vac-packed items is to handle them gently and store them properly to maintain the tight seal which best preserves the fish.
Create an overall proper freezer environment for your product, so it can last up to two years! At Wild for Salmon, we offer a wide variety of seafood for you to stock your freezer with and enjoy at your convenience! We understand that this seafood tucked away in the freezer can sometimes go “out of sight- out of mind”. So naturally, one of the first questions that comes from our customers is “how long does frozen salmon last in the freezer? Wild for Salmon flash freezes and individually vacuum packs its wild-caught salmon and other seafood. This packaging maintains the freshness of the fish, its nutrient value, provides individual servings, and allows the consumer to see the product inside. This top vac-pac technology combined with proper storage practices can help your wild seafood from Wild for Salmon last in your freezer for up to two years! However, we suggest enjoying your wild seafood within the year it was caught for ultimate freshness.
We guarantee the quality of our products to be maintained for one year from purchase when kept in a frost free freezer, but following these steps can ensure your seafood lasts even longer!
Quick Tips for a Proper Freezer Environment:
- Keep seafood in a freezer that maintains an even temperature.
- Do not store any seafood on the door or towards the front of the freezer.
- Do not stack other items on top of seafood to avoid jostling.
- What is freezer jostling? That would be the shuffling and cramming that happens while reorganizing your freezer. The best storage option is to keep your seafood in a drawer freezer where they can be gently piled on top of each other. Portions are best stored in a small box or freezer drawer so that the nightly ice cream stealer isn’t jolting the vac-packs every night.
- Ensure all vac-packs are properly sealed upon initial storage. If any individual items are not completely sealed, use those first in order to avoid freezer burn over time.
- Organize your freezer so that the oldest product is on top and ready to be cooked first.
Reach out to us with any handling questions you might have with our product! At Wild for Salmon, we take these handling practices seriously. Our mission is not only to get the quality product to your door but also to make sure you enjoy it. Our entire family is involved in making sure we continue to follow these shipping, freezing and thawing Best Practices. Captain Steve’s mom, Kathy, can often be found hard at work labeling vac-pacs, and Co-Captain Jenn’s dad, is always excited to keep eyes on the newest freezers and other storage equipment we may need at the store in PA. And, both of Steve and Jenn’s children, Ava and Tommy can also be seen popping in to help their parents at least once a week!
Let us know how we can help!