STORING AND THAWING FISH / MEATS AT HOME
Upon receiving your Shiki package, here are some ways to maintain freshness and taste of your meats or fish during storage as well as the thawing process . Keep reading to find answers to your frequently asked questions!
Q1: Why is it necessary to freeze premium seafood and meats?
A1: Seafood and meats are extremely perishable. Quickly freezing it at the height of freshness (usually when it’s still on the boat or shortly thereafter) is a successful way to keep the flavor and texture. Upon receiving our packages from Japan, we keep all our air-flown seafood and meats in a temperature controlled cold room or freezers in our warehouse.
Q2: Upon receiving my frozen seafood and meat, how should I store it?
A2: Keep them frozen until you are ready to use it by storing it in the coldest section of your freezer, on a low shelf towards the back. Follow these steps for freezing seafood and meats from Shiki:
Step 1: Unbox and prepare for freezing quickly
Remove the meat or fish from Shiki’s signature styrofoam box. To keep your meats and/or fish safely frozen, you either place your order in a freezer bag or Shiki’s packaging. Avoid keeping your package out for too long as even ten minutes of thawing can render fish unsafe.
Step 2: Check packaging for holes or tears
Before placing your fish in the freezer, check the packaging it came in. If you find any holes or tears, wrap your fish in wax paper or foil to preserve flavor and moisture
Step 3: Place seafood on the lowest shelf possible.
Rather than storing seafood on the middle or top shelves, store it away from other items in the freezer, preferably on the lowest shelf. Although frozen fish should not be dripping juice or sauce, storing fish away from other foods avoids the risk of cross-contamination.
Q3: Once thawed, can I refreeze fish and meats?
Once you have thawed your fish or meats, avoid placing it back in the freezer. Instead, use your fish immediately. If you cannot cook it right away, you can place it in a crockpot or other slow-cooking tool and come back to it later. This is partly due to taste (re-frozen fish tends to have a dry texture and loss of flavor), and partly due to safety, as the thawing process may have allowed bacteria to grow.
Q4: How do I thaw my frozen seafood and meats?
When you are ready to use the frozen product, you may safely defrost it in one of the following two ways: in the refrigerator or under cool running water,
Option 1: Refrigerator Thawing
Plan at least a day ahead if you choose to defrost in the refrigerator. It will take about 24 hours to defrost a bulky frozen item. Place frozen seafood or meat in a clean container to catch the liquid released from the product as it thaws. If the frozen seafood or meat is not already wrapped in plastic, cover the top lightly with plastic wrap to protect it from coming into contact with other foods in the refrigerator. Place the container on a low shelf and defrost slowly over a day. After thawing, remove any liquid that has collected in the packaging and use within a day for optimal freshness and safety.
Option 2: Cool Water Thawing
Use this method when you have less time, but are able to more closely watch the frozen meat or seafood. Begin by placing the food in a leak-proof plastic bag (if it is not in one already). Submerge the meat or seafood in cold tap water and change the water every thirty minutes until the food has defrosted. Do not try to speed the process by defrosting in hot water because this will encourage bacteria on the food to multiply. Cook meat or seafood thawed under cold water immediately after thawing.
Q5: How do I store leftovers?
Store in airtight containers: As with fresh fish and meats, store your leftovers in airtight containers to prevent the growth of bacteria and limit the risk of cross-contamination.
Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Even cooked fish and meats should be handled carefully, and should be left out no longer than 2 hours after being cooked. The longer food is left out after cooking, the higher the risk is of bacteria developing and growing. If you have left food out past this time frame, the safest option is to throw the food away.
Avoid temperatures between 4.44-60 C. This temperature range is often called the “danger zone,” as it provides the ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria. When storing your leftovers, make sure your fridge is set to a temperature below 4 C, and while cooking, make sure your oven has reached a temperature higher than 60 C.
Store seafood and meats separately from other foods. If you’ve made a dinner of fish and broccoli or steak, for instance, store each in their own container. Fish goes dry and rancid faster than most vegetables, grains, and even other meats. Whenever possible, store fish with fat or marinades intact.
Eat within 2-3 days. Ideally, you should consume your leftover meats and fish within 1-2 days. Any longer, and your food may become dry or develop a slimy covering. Meats and fish that have gone beyond this window should be thrown out.
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