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Can You Freeze Smoked Mackerel?

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By Ross Young

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We all know how good for us oily fish is, but it can still be a struggle to introduce it to our diets. Smoked mackerel may be the answer! Full of essential fats and nutrients and they taste delicious too.

But the question is, can you freeze smoked mackerel?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze smoked mackerel. Smoked mackerel can be frozen for around 3 months. You can either freeze it vacuum-sealed or, if you have opened it, then you can freeze it wrapped and bagged up. 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

How To Freeze Smoked Mackerel

Smoked mackerel usually comes in vacuum-packed packages which are perfect for freezing, much like smoked salmon. You can freeze the smoked mackerel if it has been opened, but you do risk it not freezing quite as well.

How to Freeze Vacuum Packed Smoked Mackerel

This method couldn’t be any easier!

When you get your vacuum-packed smoked mackerel home from the store, you need to freeze it as soon as possible after purchase. This helps to keep it as fresh as possible. Label the mackerel with the date and contents if the package doesn’t have this already.

Pop the whole thing into the freezer and freeze! See, as easy as you can get!

How to Freeze Opened Smoked Mackerel

Things get a little trickier if your smoked mackerel has been opened. You can still freeze it, but you do need to ensure you wrap the fish tightly to avoid the air getting to it in the freezer.

Freeze the mackerel as soon as possible after you have bought it.

  1. Wrap
    You can either wrap all of the fish together or individually. If you freeze the fish together, then they will stick together in the freezer which can make it difficult to take out just the amount you need. To wrap the fish use cling film and wrap it around the fish tightly until you have several layers around the fish.
  2. Bag Up
    Pop the wrapped fish into a freezer bag. It needs to be a bag you can reseal easily if you have wrapped your fish individually.
  3. Seal
    Squeeze out any excess air and seal the bag tightly.
  4. Label and Freeze
    Label the freezer bag with the date and name of the contents and pop it into the freezer.

3 Tips for Freezing Smoked Mackerel

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing smoked mackerel to have the best results:

  • Use Thick Freezer Bags – Smoked foods will permeate throughout the freezer, tainting everything. Make sure you use good-quality, thick freezer bags to avoid this happening. 
  • Label Clearly – Make sure you write clear labels on the bag so you know which fish you have frozen (and which you’re defrosting). 
  • Consider Portions – If you are freezing the mackerel wrapped, then consider how much smoked mackerel you eat in one go and freeze it accordingly. You cannot refreeze it, after all.

How to Freeze Smoked Mackerel Pate

Pate isn’t always an easy food item to freeze. The delicate texture can crystalise in the freezer and become grainy. However, it is safe to freeze, and you can give it a go!

To get as perfect results as you can, you need to ensure the pate is well protected and airtight. The best way to do this is to put it in a freezer container with a sealable lid. Don’t forget to label the container before you put it in the freezer!

How Long Can You Freeze Smoked Mackerel?

As long as it has been kept airtight and sealed properly, then your smoked mackerel should remain good in the freezer for up to three months.

During this time, you might notice a little change in texture, and this is likely to increase if you leave it in the freezer for more than three months.

You Can Freeze Smoked Mackerel for Around 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Smoked Mackerel?

The best method to use to thaw out your smoked mackerel is by allowing it to defrost slowly in the fridge. Just take it out of the freezer and pop the whole wrapped package into a bowl and pop it in the fridge.

You can do this the night before you need to use it to ensure the fish is fully thawed out or at least for several hours during the day.

Can You Refreeze Smoked Mackerel?

If you tried to refreeze smoked mackerel, you would find the texture and taste deteriorates too much to be good to eat. You also risk the fish spoiling and going bad. Nobody wants to end up feeling sick!

Does Smoked Mackerel Freeze Well?

Smoked mackerel isn’t one of those foods that freeze perfectly. No matter what you do, there is likely to be some noticeable change in taste and texture.

If you plan to use it in a pate or a recipe then you shouldn’t notice this too much and as long as you are happy with a softer texture than you are used the mackerel is still edible and tasty.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing smoked mackerel or mackerel in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Mackerel?

Are you not a fan of that smokey flavour you get with smoked mackerel and prefer your fish a little cleaner in flavour. Then perhaps you want to know whether or not you can freeze mackerel fish or not?

Well, the good news is that, yes, you can! Store in an airtight container. We would highly recommend placing sheets of greaseproof paper between each fish or fillet to avoid them clumping together in the freezer.

Can You Freeze Mackerel

Can You Freeze Mackerel Without Gutting?

Although you can do so, we would suggest gutting before freezing. Not only will this protect the flesh in the long run but will also make it far easier to defrost and then use your mackerel in future.

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