Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)<< Back to Main FAQ Page
The following guidance reflects U.S. government recommendations.
We've noted any exceptions to U.S. storage-length guidelines for frozen seafood, that, based on our extensive experience, appear overly conservative.
Canned seafood storage
Canned seafood will keep for five years. Use canned seafood before the expiration date printed on the can or pouch.
When it comes to canned salmon, we agree with the customers who find that its flavor improves with age — at least up to the expiration date. Canned salmon connoisseurs look forward to enjoying the best “vintages”!
Opened cans of seafood can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, after which their omega-3 fats will begin to oxidize and smell “fishy”. Before refrigerating, enclose opened cans tightly in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and reseal opened pouches.
Frozen seafood storage
Frozen seafood retains its initial quality for varying periods of time, and must be stored at 0°F.
A fishy smell indicates oxidation of a seafood product’s fragile omega-3 fats and resulting rancidity. Discard any frozen seafood that smells fishy before or after being thawed.
The longevity of the seafood product depends upon three factors:
1. Storage temperature
2. Temperature consistency
3. Fat content of the specific seafood
NOTE: Self-defrosting freezers go through a regular thawing/freezing cycle that degrades the quality and flavor of frozen seafood and accelerate its decay.
Based on our experience, these official U.S. guidelines are very conservative, and we've noted any significant disagreements with them.
Discard products that have been frozen longer than the maximum time shown here, especially any that emit "fishy" odors:
- Smoked fish — 2 months*
- Shellfish (e.g., shrimp/prawns, scallops, crab) — 3-6 months
- Fatty fish (e.g., salmon, albacore tuna, sablefish) — 2-3 months*
- Lean fish (e.g., cod, halibut, lingcod, sole, yellowfin tuna) — 4-6 months
*In our experience, smoked fish or lox retains its quality in the freezer for 3-4 months, while fatty fish usually lasts 3-6 months.
The best place to store fish is a good quality chest or upright freezer capable of maintaining a stable sub-zero temperature.
Thawed seafood will last 1-2 days in the refrigerator, but smoked seafood will last up to 14 days in the refrigerator after being thawed.
Smoked seafood: storage guidelines
When kept frozen at 0°F or below, vacuum-sealed packages of smoked salmon and sablefish (including nova lox) will retain their quality for 2-4 months.
Once thawed, smoked fish should spend no more than one or two days in the refrigerator before being consumed.
Meats and poultry: storage guidelines
Frozen meats and poultry will generally retain their quality for a period ranging from 4 to 12 months, with chops and ground meat being the least durable.
Hot dogs made from beef or bison will retain their quality for 1-2 months. Salmon “dogs” should be thawed and consumed within 1 month of delivery.
Frozen bacon and sausage will retain its quality for 1-2 months. Salmon bacon should be thawed and consumed within 1 month of delivery.
Soups and stews: storage guidelines
Thaw and consume these before the “Best By” date printed on the package. The quality of frozen soups and stews begins to decline after 2-3 months.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html
- U.S. FDA. Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart. https://www.fda.gov/media/74435/download
refund or replace your purchase.
former Alaska fisherman