Can I freeze anchovy filets (in oil)?

I used 4filets from a can in my stew recipe (cooks illustrated best beef stew) and now I'm stuck with 3/4 of a can.

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5 Comments

pierino February 3, 2012
First I love the little critters. And most often I buy a jar of good quality flat anchovies in oil and hold them in the refrigerator. BUT what restaurants do is to buy them salt packed in large tins (and yes, there is a little cleaning work to do). Once opened you have to replenish the salt layer, cover tightly and refrigerate but not freeze.
 
Mr_Vittles February 3, 2012
You can freeze, but the oil will congeal and may look unappetizing. NeuB, is right in saying you may not need to. The submersing food in fat, in this case oil, is an old way of preservation, from a time when refrigeration was not yet invented. Since air cannot get to the anchovies, bacteria will be stymied and unable to reproduce, therefore keeping them usable for much longer. If you keep them submersed in the oil and in the refrigerator, they will last for a very long time.
 
Abby A. February 3, 2012
But if you don’t happen to freeze it, how long will it stay good in the olive oil? I found myself in the same situation about three weeks ago and left it in the fridge. I wonder if it’s any good. Thanks.
 
boulangere February 3, 2012
They won't spoil because of being submerged in oil, but I find they take on a flavor I can only describe as off, or stale.
 
boulangere February 3, 2012
Yes indeed, I find myself in the same spot often. Pull the lid off the tin. Double-wrap the tin in plastic, and into the freezer it goes.
 
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