It’s no secret that Americans enjoy their seafood and spend a healthy amount of their hard-earned cash on fish and crustaceans each year. With the announcement of Cod stocks recovering in Maine, it may not be too long before the US stops relying on Cod imports, but until then, we still need to know how to freeze Cod.
Did you know that Cape Cod was named after the abundance of Cod in the waters? The next time you are tucking into the flaky white flesh of Cod, remember that this fish is a predator and can measure up to 71 inches in length and way 220lbs.
This article explores Cod and how it can be stored long-term without damaging the flesh that many people around the globe enjoy. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with answers.
Let’s dive in.
Does Cod expire?
Yes, Despite this fish’s size, it does not have a long shelf life. Most fish expire pretty quickly when fresh and should be eaten the day of purchase to enjoy the Cod when it is at its peak quality.
If you buy Cod from your local fish market, you can really guarantee its freshness, and if you notice one thing, it’s always stored in a bed of fresh ice. It’s rare that anyone but s a whole Cod other than restaurants and fish wholesalers.
You will probably be buying Cod filets for your family, but how can you tell if it is fresh at the market?
If you look at a whole Cod, it smells like the ocean and is not fishy, and it has a nice shine. If your Cod is not looking this way or is covered in blotches, it’s reaching the end of its edible sage, so don’t buy it.
Cod filets should be bright and not smell of fish. Cod can smell of cucumber or melon but not fish. Press the flesh of the Cod. It should be elastic-like and spring back. If there is a lingering fingermark, then the Cod is not fresh.
Cod is available all year round, but it is more prevalent in the year’s colder months. If you don’t know, Cod are cold-water fish, and there are only three species. Even though there is a pacific Cod, it hangs out in cold water.
When it comes to storing Cod at home, it has to be done without delay. Place Cod on ice in the fridge. You will need a double bowl to catch the melting water.
If this process is challenging, place the Cod in a Ziploc bag and add the crushed ice, it’s essential to keep the Cod cold.
Regardless of how you take care of the Cod in the fridge, it will only last for two days, possibly three if you are lucky.
Does Cod need to be in the fridge?
Yes, the shelf life of Cod not stored in the fridge would be hours, not days. It is imperative that Cod is stored in the fridge as soon as you are home from the fish market.
If you can’t be home within two hours of the Cod being off the ice, the fish will not be able to be eaten. It will be as good as garbage and should be discarded immediately.
Does Cod have to be covered? Does it make a difference?
The truth is the shelf life of Cod in the fridge is so short it won’t make any difference if it is covered or not. You can stand guard through the night, but the Cod will expire fast.
You could place Cod in a shallow tray with a cover and cover it with ice. Placing Cod in a ziplock bag with ice is a sensible move to keep the Cod fresh for the few hours it can be stored in the fridge.
Can you put warm Cod in the fridge?
No, let the Cod cool to room temperature.
Placing warm Cod in the fridge will cause condensation coalescing to water droplets that will drip and make your foo less appetizing.
Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm filet of Cod in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.
Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.
Food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. The Cod will spoil with the contents of the entire fridge.
Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.
According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
How long can Cod sit out?
It has the same shelf life sitting out if it’s cooked or uncooked. According to the USDA, all perishable food left out for two hours should not be eaten.
The average temperature of the room in your home is 68℉, give or take a small percentage on either side of the number. The food danger zone is from 40 to 140℉. Between these temperatures, the bacteria in perishable foods such as fish increase exponentially.
After two hours, the bacteria load on the fish or other perishable food is so high the food is deemed unsafe to eat.
Eating foods that have been sitting out for two hours or more is potentially harmful and could lead to food poisoning if consumed.
How long can an unopened canned Cod last?
Canned foods have an incredibly long shelf life, and canned Cod is no different. Unopened canned Cod can last for five years if the can have not been damaged or shown signs of rust, swelling, or leakage.
If you have canned Cod and it’s past the expiration date, don’t worry. Canned foods last a long time past the expiration date as it is only an indicator of the peak quality and not food safety.
How long does Cod last in the fridge?
Two days. Fresh Cod has a short shelf life, like much other fish. If you store Cod carefully and keep the temperature low, it will benefit and maintain its texture better, but it does nothing in terms of adding shelf life.
Does frozen Cod go bad?
The Cod freezes very well. Cod has a low-fat content. It’s the fat content in other fish that causes problems with freezing. The fat can become rancid even during freezing, spoiling the fish.
Cod is quite delicate and, as such, will be susceptible to freezer burn, and this should be mitigated by storing and preparing the Cod for long-term freezing.
Assuming that the fish wholesaler has cleaned your Cod and there are no remnants of guts on the fish, the Cod is relatively simple to freeze.
Method and guide to prepare the Cod for freezing
- Clean the fish thoroughly. After the fish has been washed off and is clean, you should pat down the fish with dry paper towels. The key to freezing fish successfully is to prevent the ice crystals from forming in the flesh as the water freezes.
- Sprinkle salt over the flesh of the Cod and leave for a few minutes. You are trying to draw out excess moisture.
- After a few minutes, rinse the salt away and dry the Cod again. You will notice the flesh has become firmer in life, a tense muscle.
- Cut the Cod into portion sizes.
- Wrap the Cod portions tightly with aluminum foil, ensuring no air bubbles.
- Place the Cod in a Ziploc bag and expel the air from the Ziploc bag.
- Place in the freezer.
Fresh Cod will stay in the freezer for a year without losing texture and flavor.
Freezing cooked Cod
- Cooked Cod must be at room temperature before it can be frozen.
- Use a paper towel to blot moisture from the cooked Cod.
- Wtra the Cod in foil completely. Double wrapping can be an advantage when mitigating freezer burn.
- Place the cooked Cod in the Ziploc bag, expel the air from the bag, and seal.
- Place in the freezer, and don’t stack other foods on the cooked Cod. It’s flaky and could fall apart into its fibers.
How to defrost Cod?
Fish responds best to slow thawing in the fridge. Cod will typically thaw overnight. You can run warm water across the frozen Cod to speed up the process.
Cod is a delicious fish that freezes exceptionally well cooked or uncooked. In the freezer, if packaged correctly, it should last for a year. Some say it will last for two years.
Placing the Cod at the back of the freezer will protect it from freezer burn. Freezer burn is caused by opening and closing the freezer door frequently, where a process called sublimation takes place that causes freezer burn.
The shelf life of Cod in the fridge is woeful at just two days. So eat the Cod fresh to avoid Cod from spoiling.