How-To & Diy

The Best Way to Store Fish

July 16, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Cara Eisenpress from Blue Apron shares her trick for keeping fish fresh.

Storing fish

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Fish is the protein we turn to for making quick yet nourishing, easy yet gourmet dinners. Still, the moment we turn to the sea as the source of our favorite recipes, we find ourselves swimming through an ocean of questions. Which fish to buy? Farmed or wild? Local or from afar? Fresh or frozen?

We at Blue Apron are here to help calm some of those troubled waters by talking about fresh versus frozen, both at the store and at home. 

In fact, calm comes quickly. Our number one preferred method for buying and freezing fish is exceedingly simple: Buy fresh fish. Store in the freezer.

Here’s our reasoning: fresh fish, brought to you as soon as possible after being caught, has the best flavor. You’ll never complain of too-fishy scents or tastes, of overly dry flakes or dried-out edges when you’re cooking with perfectly, just-caught seafood. Best of all, when the fish is excellent, you barely have to season it. (We usually just coat fresh white fish in rice flour and a sprinkle of salt and pan fry.)

Unfortunately, fresh fish doesn’t stay fresh all that long, and the quality starts to deteriorate. Unless you will be cooking the fresh fish within about 24 hours, the best option is to stick your steaks or filets in the freezer. This might seem like a counterintuitive move after you went through all that trouble to buy fresh fish, but freezing-cold temperatures will actually preserve the freshness for a longer time. Fresh fish that has been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days is, technically, no longer fresh. Sad but true.


To freeze, we like to double wrap the fish in thick freezer plastic bags, pressing out the air from the first before slipping the filets into the second one and pressing all the air from that too. Fresh fish will remain good in the freezer for at least a few months.

If you don’t have access to fresh fish of the quality you prefer, the next best option is to buy fish that was flash frozen on the boat where it was caught. Store this fish, which will come vacuum-packed, in the freezer until you’re ready to eat. 

To defrost any frozen fish, place it in its packaging in the fridge for about 12 hours. If you’d like to defrost the fish more quickly, set it in a bowl under the faucet and let cool running water flood onto it until it’s completely defrosted.

Do you have any tips for storing fish? Let us know in the comments!

At Blue Apron, we search the markets for the freshest meat, fish and produce, then deliver original recipes and exactly the right ingredients for chefs around the country to make our incredible dinners at home. 


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wahini July 26, 2014
You can put fish is an empty paper milk or juice carton or similar container and fill it with good tasting water and freeze it. You can ever do this on vacation and carry home a cooler full of fish that if the trip is not too long can be put into the freezer still mostly frozen.
Bob August 12, 2013
I have used fish vacuum sealed for as long as two years and ended up with a good finished product. I have not had good luck refreezing any kind of fish. Of course, I don't do it so my experience is limited. With no vacuum sealer available fresh fish frozen in water works extremely well.
GordonW July 16, 2013
Wouldn't flash frozen fish be even better than buying fresh and freezing it yourself?
ChefJune July 16, 2013
Fish you buy from a fishmonger that has been previously frozen should ALWAYS be so marked. Look at it carefully to see if it's still glistening and fresh. If it's not, it may not have been handled well. If you gos traight home with your purchase and refreeze as described above, I have found it's hard to tell the difference from fresh. [Yes, I know they'll tell you at the store that you can't do it, but I've been doing so for years with no adverse effects to us or the fish. ;)]

I wanted to commend Blue Apron on a beautifully written piece to demystify fish. I've been teaching this same topic for many years, and I'm so glad to see you reaching out in this way. It's really sad how few american cooks actually cook fish. Did you know that 90% of all the fish eaten in US (canned tuna aside) is eaten in restaurants?
Jacob July 16, 2013
Isn't fish that you buy from the fishmonger -- say at Fairway Market -- almost always previously frozen on the boat? And, if so, will freezing it again degrade the texture?