A seafood delicacy, the preparation of smoked salmon involves being cured either with hot smoke, cooked all the way through at 120–180°F, or cold smoke. Cold smoked salmon is considered raw because it is cured in salt for 24 hours then smoked at 75–85°F.
With its delicious taste comes Vitamins B and D while also being a good source of protein, and is, therefore, an excellent addition to your kitchen.
But smoked salmon can also be pricey so is considered a luxury food item. Because of this, you may have stocked up and might be wondering how long your salmon supply will last.
Luckily, there are simple ways to keep salmon good for longer, and below you will find a guide on how to store smoked salmon to extend its freshness.
How Do I Know My Smoked Salmon Has Gone Off?
Smoked salmon, being fish, will go off if not eaten. The first thing you should always do when observing the quality of your salmon is to check the best-by date. If it is more than a week past the recommended date, throw it in the trash. The same applies if the packet has already been opened.
If it is within the best-by date, but you’re unsure whether it’s okay or not, check its smell and appearance.
Off salmon gives off a rather acidic, repulsive smell. Unfortunately, if the salmon stinks terribly, it means it’s time to chuck it out immediately. Even if it actually is safe to eat, the smell will ruin the taste and is not worth eating.
That lovely pink color fresh salmon is? You know it’s gone bad if it’s changed to a much duller pink or a light greenish shade. It gets worse: a slimy film may appear on the surface that is not at all appetizing to look at.
If you see mold growing on your smoked salmon, throw away the whole package.
If there are no obvious signs of spoilage, but you are still uncertain, brave a taste. This won’t cause any harm and will give you a clear idea of whether something’s not quite right (in which case, discard) or tastes just fine.
How Do I Store Smoked Salmon?
The good news is smoked salmon is vacuum-packed so left unopened, it should last two or three weeks from the manufacturing date. Keep it in the fridge, preferably the bottom shelf where meat and fish are usually stored as this will be the coldest section of the fridge.
Want to know the best part? Salmon will keep for much longer if frozen. For it to retain its taste quality and freshness, store it in your freezer and eat within two to three months.
For extra safety, here’s a handy tip: wrap the smoked salmon packet in airtight aluminum foil, cling film or a tightly sealed freezer bag. Your salmon will be fine for six months, although after three months, the taste may begin to degrade.
It is not recommended to store smoked salmon outside of a fridge. Your salmon will go off very quickly otherwise!
If your pack is opened, eat within five days. Again, wrapping it with aluminum foil, cling film or a freezer bag will extend the shelf life, meaning it may last for up to seven days.
It gets better: you can also freeze opened salmon, which should stretch its freshness to two or three months. As always, for best results ensure it is wrapped tightly.
How Do I Thaw Smoked Salmon?
For both opened and unopened packets of smoked salmon, there are two ways you can thaw it safely:
- Place in your refrigerator. This takes longer to thaw but allows your salmon to stay fresh for an extra three to four days.
- Leave it to defrost in hot or cold water (depending on how much time you can spare). Make sure you consume the salmon on the day of defrosting.
It is unsafe to refreeze and re-thaw smoked salmon so make sure to cook it the first time it’s thawed and eat soon after.
The bottom line is, if something seems fishy (pun intended) about your smoked salmon, then yes, it has gone bad and you need to discard it. Ensure you follow the guidelines above as eating spoiled salmon will not only be an unpleasant experience but may also contain harmful bacteria or pathogens.