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Defrost frozen fish in original plastic packaging. Safe?

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mike2401 Oct 3, 2010 10:00 AM

Why does my fozen salmon purchased from store in plastic wrapping warn AGAINST thawing in its original plastic wrap?

I've seen some packing that says remove from plastic, place on plate, and cover with plastic wrap.

What's the difference?

It's certainly much more convenient to just move it from freezer to fridge overnight, and open and cook the next day.

Is it dangerous to do so?

Thanks,
Mike

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  1. m
    mike2401 RE: mike2401 Oct 5, 2010 04:32 PM

    Does no one defrost frozen fish in the original plastic wrapping?

    1. b
      Breezychow RE: mike2401 Oct 5, 2010 04:44 PM

      I don't often buy frozen fish in plastic wrapping, but the few times I've had to defrost frozen wrapped fish, I always do it in the original wrapping. I've never heard of doing otherwise UNLESS one was planning of thawing in the microwave. There are plastic wraps that are not microwave safe.

      1. amyzan RE: mike2401 Oct 5, 2010 05:02 PM

        The 2 pound package of frozen shrimp I sometimes buy says to thaw the whole bag at once, in the packaging. I have a family of two, unless you count pets, so you better believe I've broken that little instruction. No one's gotten sick yet. I think sometimes these instructions are just so much legalese to protect the company, but often defy common practice as well as common sense.

        3 Replies
        1. re: amyzan
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          Dolcin1 RE: amyzan Jun 25, 2014 10:11 PM

          Pls let me share my family method:
          (1) buy big package of frozen seafood is aok
          (2) when i get home usually the food is thawed already
          (3) if it is shrimps, i separate them into several piles with just about the right size for my family to cook in a single dish. Then i wrap eqch pile in plastic/aluminum wrap and put in the freezer until it's time to cook.
          (4) if it is whole fish, i cut it up into smaller pieces and wrap them individually just like i wrap the shrimps.

          For us, this preserve the freshness as much as we can while we dont get have to endure the not-so-nice feeling of having to eat too much of something at once.

          Cheers!

          1. re: Dolcin1
            m
            mike2401 RE: Dolcin1 Jun 26, 2014 07:13 PM

            I thought re-freezing is dangerous?

            1. re: mike2401
              chartreauxx RE: mike2401 Jun 26, 2014 07:49 PM

              as far as i know, refreezing defrosted frozen products is discouraged but i've never looked into the science of it.

        2. ipsedixit RE: mike2401 Oct 5, 2010 05:04 PM

          The reason for the warning is that many people thaw their seafoods and meats in the microwave. Some types of plastic wrap and microwaves go together like fresh garlic in EVOO and room tempterature. Bad combo.

          If you are defrosting intelligently (in the fridge like most Chowhounds do), don't worry about the plastic wrap.

          1. mels RE: mike2401 Oct 6, 2010 05:48 AM

            I've always wondered about those warnings too. I almost always put the frozen fish, in its original wrapper, in the fridge.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mels
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              mike2401 RE: mels Oct 6, 2010 03:36 PM

              when i compliantly followed directions and removed from plastic, and put on plate in fridge, it ended up in a pool of water, so i'm not sure it was any less water logged.

            2. NYCkaren RE: mike2401 Oct 6, 2010 11:17 AM

              I follow the instructions and take the fish out of the original packaging. I figure it'll be a little less waterlogged as it defrosts that way.

              1. s
                sparkareno RE: mike2401 Oct 6, 2010 11:31 AM

                I defrost in original packaging but make sure to put a plate under it. One time the plastic bag leaked and I can't begin to tell you what a PITA it was to get the fish smell out of my fridge.

                1. s
                  synther RE: mike2401 Oct 25, 2012 11:53 AM

                  There is a safety issue re: thawing in vacuum-sealed packaging. From orcabayseafoods.com:

                  "Our products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. We go to great lengths to bring you the best seafood possible, as with any all-natural product there are bacteria that develop during the thaw process. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood. "

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: synther
                    The Dairy Queen RE: synther Oct 25, 2012 12:07 PM

                    Huh, interesting. Who knew?

                    ~TDQ

                  2. b
                    BrightRedMud RE: mike2401 Oct 27, 2012 07:34 AM

                    Interesting to read about the problem with thawing in the package.

                    When I eat frozen fish, I don't use the whole package at once. So I remove a few filets from the package, and place them on a cookie sheet, and set the cookie sheet inside of a pan. That way the filets don't sit in their own water.

                    Or I used to place the filets on paper towels to absorb the excess water from thawing, but now I like the cookie sheet method better.

                    1. emglow101 RE: mike2401 Oct 27, 2012 08:59 AM

                      The best way to thaw frozen fish. Remove from packaging. Place fish in a bowl with water and some ice. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. Takes around a hour to thaw.

                      1. Will Owen RE: mike2401 Oct 27, 2012 12:04 PM

                        Odd. I was always told to thaw it in cold water in the original wrapper, sometimes even in the instructions on said wrapper, and that's how I've always done it … and now I see I've been FLIRTING WITH DEATH?? Yikes!

                        Yes, I know you're really best off defrosting stuff in the fridge, but I'm usually wanting to eat it sometime this week, and I've had fish stay stubbornly solid for six or seven days. As for thawing in water out of the package, I've always thought it'd get overly waterlogged. Am I wrong about that?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Will Owen
                          emglow101 RE: Will Owen Oct 27, 2012 03:02 PM

                          I saw Andreas Viestad ( New Scandinavian Cooking ) use this method. I tried it on some frozen haddock and it worked great. It wasn't waterlogged.

                        2. s
                          sueatmo RE: mike2401 Oct 27, 2012 01:45 PM

                          I often thaw in the fridge, in the original wrapping. So far I've not been harmed.

                          1. j
                            John Francis RE: mike2401 Oct 27, 2012 02:11 PM

                            I've never seen that instruction on plastic-wrapped fish (for example from Trader Joe's) and don't understand what it's about. I keep the fish in the package, put it in a bowl, and run cold tap water over it until it's flexible. Works for me.

                            1. h
                              happyjewls RE: mike2401 Aug 18, 2013 05:59 PM

                              Products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood.

                              1. g
                                gzahn RE: mike2401 Mar 11, 2014 07:02 PM

                                It's all about the oxygen. In the vacuum pack, there is little to no oxygen. This allows the "botulism bacteria" to grow. They can't survive in the presence of oxygen (they are 'obligately anaerobic'), so even poking a little hole in the original wrapper (on the top, to avoid leaks of course) would eliminate this issue.

                                Source: I am a microbiologist.

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