Ensure that your meal isn’t contaminated with harmful bacteria by knowing how long raw and cooked fish last in the fridge
There could be something fishy going on if you open your fridge and smell something stinky. In fact, the USDA recommends eating eight ounces of seafood a week for brain and heart health. Is there ever a time when that isn’t true? You eat bad fish when it’s gone bad. How long does fish last in the fridge? Answering this question is tricky – not as tricky as determining how long other foods last in the refrigerator, like eggs, but still difficult.
Sure, sell-by dates are a good indicator, but other factors will also affect the answer. What if you thawed frozen fish with the intention of cooking it for dinner, but then decided to go out to eat instead? If your fish in the fridge is already cooked, does that change anything? It is also important to consider refrigerator organization and storage guidelines. To decide if that fish you want for dinner is still safe to eat, here’s what you need to know.
How long does raw fish last in the fridge?
Generally, raw fish can be stored in the fridge for about two days, according to Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety extension associate at Penn State. “You should eat it as soon as possible,” he says. All fish, including salmon and tuna, shouldn’t be bought raw to cook three, four, or five days later. The same applies to frozen fish that has been put in the fridge to thaw.
When you buy fish at the store, consider its condition to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Bucknavage recommends buying it at a fish counter where the temperature is monitored. In addition to having a shorter shelf life, fish that isn’t stored below 40 degrees may also put you at risk for food poisoning, since harmful bacteria can form on fish that isn’t kept below that temperature. Pay attention to how it looks and smells as well. According to Bucknavage, it should smell like the ocean without being overly fishy. The flesh should be firm, and the scales should be intact.
If fish goes bad at the store or in your refrigerator, you will notice changes in its color, texture, and smell. As the proteins break down, the fish scent will become stronger. Additionally, it may feel slimy and appear grayish.
How to store fish in the fridge
Raw fish should be stored in the fridge in a certain way. Make sure the fish is completely sealed so it won’t be exposed to air or moisture. In a refrigerator, where should raw fish be stored? Bucknavage recommends keeping it on the bottom shelf of the fridge, which is the coldest part. To avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria, store your fish away from other foods, such as meat and produce.
How long does cooked fish last in the fridge?
Suppose you’ve already cooked your fish, and you have leftovers. What is the shelf life of salmon and tuna in the refrigerator? Do you like shrimp, sole, or any other favorite seafood? It’s the same in all cases. According to Bucknavage, cooked fish can be kept in the fridge for three or four days. When it comes to leftover fish, it’s just as important to store it properly as it is with raw fish. If it is sealed in an airtight container, it will not be exposed to air or moisture.
If the fish’s color or smell has changed, toss the leftovers, regardless of how long they’ve been in the fridge. Many people are aware that bacteria can grow on raw fish, but they don’t realize that the same thing can happen to cooked fish. When fish spoils, harmful bacteria such as brochothrix thermosphacta, carnobacterium piscicola, and lactobacillus plantarum can grow on it. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a fever, at best, and kidney or brain damage at worst.
How long will fish last in the freezer?
Fish, like other foods, lasts longer in the freezer, so if you’re at the store and want to buy fish but aren’t sure when you’ll eat it, you might want to buy it frozen. In order to store your fish in the freezer, Bucknavage says to place it in the coldest part of the freezer (away from the front or doors) and set your freezer’s temperature to 0 degrees. According to the USDA, frozen raw fish can last between three and eight months, and frozen cooked fish can last up to three months.
Make sure your fish doesn’t get freezer burn, which occurs when frozen foods are exposed to cold, dry air. According to Bucknavage, freezer burn causes food to dehydrate, which leads to rancidity. Get your fish into the freezer as soon as possible and store it in a container that prevents air and moisture from getting to it.”
How to tell if fish has gone bad
Even though you now know how long food lasts in the fridge and freezer, it’s still helpful to keep an eye out for these telltale signs:
- An overpowering smell of fish
- Texture that is slimy
- The color is grayish or bluish
- Raw fish’s flesh has lost its firmness
“Food is expensive, especially fish,” Bucknavage says. You’ll save money, waste less food, and stay safe by properly storing your fish and considering when you’re going to eat it.
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