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Jul 13, 2009 01:58 PM

Can you freeze smoked whitefish?

Some houseguests brought us a fabulous smoked whitefish from Michigan. But it's huge! We've managed to eat half of it, but we're leaving town for the weekend.

Can I freeze the other half to save it for a few weeks? We hope to eat it plain, on toast, for brunch when we return.


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  1. sure, you can freeze it. the texture might suffer a bit, but if that does happen & you're not thrilled with eating it on its own once defrosted, you can always turn it into a smoked whitefish salad or mousse.

    1. There's no need to freeze the fish if your just going for the weekend. Smoked fish is cured and will hold in the fridge for several days. If you are concerned you could turn it into another Michigan Classic- Whitefish dip.
      Freezing should be a last resort.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Fritter

        just a note that the OP said she'd like to save it "for a few weeks" - definitely won't hold up that long in the fridge.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Just a note that the OP said they were "leaving town for the weekend".
          Smoked Whitefish will conservatively hold several days in the fridge. After freezing it may be better for dip or something similar.
          Here's a fairly typical Michigan Whitefish dip recipe;

          1 small container cream cheese (8 oz @ room temp)
          2 ounces Sour cream
          Smoked whitefish to taste
          1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
          1 minced clove of garlic
          Thin with Heavy cream to desired consistency

          1. re: Fritter

            I'm a Michigander and you forgot the most important ingredient. HOT sauce!!

      2. Thanks for the info! I'll give freezing a try. It's good to know that I can preserve it rather than toss it.


        P.S. Yeah, I know I said "weekend", but I'll actually be gone for 5 days (isn't that a weekend?). Plus, a brunch occasion wouldn't happen for another few days after we get back. And (if that weren't enough) the fish will reach its "consume by" date tomorrow, but there's oatmeal on the morning's menu, not fish. So it would be frozen for 1-1/2 weeks at best - more likely several. Good catch, GHG!

        3 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          "the fish will reach its "consume by" date tomorrow"

          Fresh Michigan Whitefish does not typically come with an expiration date. Most of the fisheries here are run by Native Americans and the fish is usually just wrapped in paper. Was your fish in vacuum sealed plastic or a foil pouch? If it was in a foil pouch some of that product is closer to canned fish than fresh smoked and it will last even longer. We also have a lot of commercialized fish here that gets billed as smoked but is really kippered. Kippered products will last longer as well.

          1. re: Fritter

            Alas, this whitefish - a whole fish wrapped in paper - definitely can go bad. I speak from bitter experience (this is the standard hostess gift when these particular visitors come to stay). It takes several weeks, but the fish gets mushy and grayish and doesn't taste nice anymore. In fact, the fish doesn't have a "consume by" date, it has a "do not consume after" date. Serious stuff!

            When the fish is fresh, it's moist, flaky, and really wonderful. We usually gobble it all quickly, but we both have colds and are living on soup and tea.

            So I've put it in the freezer, and will see how it survives after a week or two. Worst case, I'll make that tasty dip!

            By the by, I checked the label - this lovely smoked whitefish is from Gustafson's Smoked Fish in Brevort, Michigan (in the UP). Roadfood rates it as "worth planning a day around." I recommend a stop if you're in the neighborhood!



            1. re: AnneInMpls

              I'm sure we all know most fish can go bad. Even smoked fish will eventually spoil but as long as it was fairly fresh when received it will easily last a week.
              This area is very close to home for me. I've never seen the website you linked before and as much as I love smoked fish and supporting local I surely would not suggest any one plan a day around this unless you just want to go for a drive. The scenic drive up M-119 from Harbor Springs to Mackinaw is not to be missed. Once you cross the Mackinaw bridge and head West on 2 there are a bunch of smoke house's. Most are pretty small and very chow Hound esque. Typical offerings are Jerky, Salmon, Whitefish, Lake Trout and Chubbs.
              However you don't really have to go that far. One of the best shops around is right by the bridge in Mackinaw city. Krueger's Smoked fish (231-436-5946) . They are on Etherington street less than a block from the Holiday Inn Express on the West side of the bridge. From Main street in down town Mackinaw you head West under the over pass (past the IGA) and take the first right. They are on the left hand side second business. You can't really miss the smoke house.

        2. We smoke our own fish then freeze it in small batches. You can put it in baggies if only for a few weeks, but I would recommend that every food hound invest in a vacuum sealer (small investment that pays for itself). If something like smoked fish is vacuum sealed the freezer life is almost limitless with little impact on the texture.

          1. If the texture suffers too much, you can make a fish paste or pate and still enjoy it. Try adding some horseradish or garlic or both.