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We store our foods all the time, and we do it with all the kinds of food too.
From meat to vegetables, it’s crucial to know for how long we can store everything for. Fish and meats are probably the most volatile foods when it comes to storing as it can be a rather delicate process to freeze and preserve them in either the fridge, Compact Refrigerator, or Chest Freezer without compromising the overall texture and flavor.
One of the trickier, and surprisingly rare, questions, is in regard to cooked salmon. We usually store red meats or white meats, or raw fish, however, we rarely even think about storing fish that had been already cooked. This is a bit of an oversight as we should always know what to do with leftover to avoid wasting food. So, with that said, how long does cooked salmon last?
In this article, we’ll be answering this question as well as teach you how to spot salmon that has gone bad in order to minimize any health risks that might arise.
Preparing Salmon to Make it Last Longer
You always have to prepare your salmon as if you’re going to store it. There are a couple of things you can do to extend the time it can be stored for.
- First of all, always cook salmon when it’s fresh. Try and avoid buying stored salmon and cook your salmon as soon as you buy it if possible. That way, you can store it for longer.
- Salmon that had been stored and defrosted won’t last nearly as long as fresh salmon, so it’s not recommended to store it again.
- On the other hand, there’s canned cooked or Smoked Salmon that’s made with the intention of lasting upwards of a year. This is an exception here; however, it can never compare to fresh salmon.
- One other thing to keep in mind is the expiration date of the salmon you buy. Don’t buy salmon that’s very close to its expiration date and expect it to last for long. As a matter of fact, don’t even think of keeping any leftovers in this case as they won’t be edible by the time you decide to eat them.
How Long Can Salmon Last at Room Temperature?
While there are some foods that can last long even if left at room temperature, salmon is not one of them.
Sure, you wouldn’t want to store everything you have in the fridge, that’s one way to overstuff and even clutter it, but when it comes to salmon, keeping it outside is not an option. This is mainly due to the fact that harmful bacteria thrive at these conditions and your salmon will spoil very quickly.
However, if you REALLY have no other option, cooked salmon can only last for a couple of hours before it goes bad. You can extend its shelf life a tiny bit if you carefully store it in a sealed Food Storage Container or FoodSaver. However, if it’s been sitting outside for more than 4 hours, then you’d be better off tossing it away.
What If I Store It in The Fridge?
If you keep your salmon in the fridge inside a Fish Poacher or any other container, then you can expect it to last you enough to have an additional meal or two with it.
When stored in the fridge, salmon can last upwards of 3 days. However, this is the best-case scenario, which won’t always be the case when you store your salmon. With this in mind, it’s wiser to expect it to last for 2 days.
Another thing you must do is store your salmon as soon as possible, don’t keep it lying around longer than you need it. As we’ve mentioned earlier, salmon spoils quickly at room temperature, and if you refrigerate after leaving it outside for a while, then you’d be lucky if it lasted you a day.
When it comes to the process of storing the salmon, you need to be careful with how you store it as you can either increase or decrease its shelf life depending on how you do it.
Best way to store your salmon is in an airtight and shallow container which will maximize its shelf life. A common mistake would be storing the salmon along with liquids, be it sauce, water, or anything of that sort. That will dramatically decrease the salmon’s shelf life.
If you don’t have such a container, then you can use Plastic Wrap or aluminum foil which should do the job. The important thing here is keeping your salmon wrapped, one way or another, before you store it.
Can I Freeze My Salmon?
If you want to store your salmon for more than a couple of days, you can always freeze it. That way, it can last you upwards of 6 months. However, after the 2-month mark, the taste and texture will begin to suffer dramatically, so it’s best not to exceed 2 or 3 months at most in order to retain some “freshness”.
With that said, keeping it for longer than 6 months won’t necessarily spoil it. Theoretically, salmon can last for as long as you want it to if you keep it at a constant 0 degrees Fahrenheit, though we don’t recommend it as it will lose most of its taste and original texture.
Now, in regard to how you should store it, freezer bags will do greatly in this case. However, they’re not the only option; you can always use Meal Prep Bags or airtight containers. If none of these are possible, for some reason or another, a poor man’s solution would be to just wrap the salmon in aluminum foil or plastic wrap though it’s a not a good way of storing your salmon and we don’t recommend it.
If you choose to take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw, it should last for 2 or 3 days max. However, if thawed at room temperature or anywhere else other than the fridge, it shouldn’t be kept any longer and should be consumed immediately. We recommend you but the salmon into smaller pieces and store it that way. This will allow you to only take out the amount you actually need without needing to get the whole thing out at once.
How Do I Know That Salmon Has Gone Bad?
Once you get the salmon out of the fridge to cook it, you need to make sure it hasn’t spoiled. Here’s what you should look for in order to spot spoiled salmon.
- Smell: This is the first thing you should check. Bad salmon usually smells terrible. If that’s the case, then you should dispose of it.
- Texture: If you cannot go without your Spice Racks and Spice Grinders, and you have spiced up your salmon before storing it, then you can’t only rely on smell, as the spice can sometimes cover it up and give you the illusion that it hasn’t spoiled yet. In this case, check the texture of the salmon. If it’s leaky and slimy, then it has most definitely gone bad.
- Look: In some cases, you can tell that salmon has spoiled just by examining it. If you notice black spots or white residue, then the salmon is spoiled, and you should immediately dispose of it in the Garbage Disposal before it contaminates any other food you might have.
Now that you know how to store your salmon, you shouldn’t have to worry about throwing away any leftovers as long as you follow the instructions provided in this article, which you can also apply for storing your open Canned Tuna, Canned Sardines, Canned Crab Meat, or Canned Chicken.
With that said, bon appétit and happy cooking!
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