Re-packaging frozen fish into smaller pieces: tips?
- Olivia Jun 27, 2011 05:41 AM
I have dozens of 2-4lb frozen pieces of frozen salmon and halibut (fileted, boneless, skin-on). The lodge cryovac'd them for us, then shipped them. They've been frozen since they were caught.
I'd like to somehow reportion them into smaller ~1lb pieces because we're a small family, and there's no way we can eat 2-4lbs of fish in 2 days.
My only thought is to use a saw of some kind to saw the fish (frozen, so I don't thaw and refreeze), then cryovac it again (I have one at home) to put back in the freezer.
Please share any tips, suggestions, or personal experiences with dealing with this sort of thing. Thanks!
Congrats on the food haul! I can seldom afford halibut around here in the midwest. Wish I had your "problem."
I would leave the packages undisturbed until you need to use a package. At that point you might find that, in fact, you do need an entire portion (dinner party, son becomes a voracious teenager, etc.), or you might not, and then you can then cut it apart and return some portion to the freezer. (You have something like a Foodsaver?)
Maybe a reciprocating saw? If it can go through masonry, surely frozen fish. You'd have to get the right blade -- length, thinness, teeth -- so you don't mangle the fish. If you don't own one already, perhaps you could borrow one and just buy new blades for your purpose.
If your question is about what saw is up to the job: I'd think a sharp, heavy chef's knife could do it with some rocking motion cutting.
A band saw would make quick work of it, but I can't imagine fouling my saw blade that way. (It's great for cutting big wood chunks for smoking, though!)
You might sacrifice a jig-saw (saber saw) blade to the job, doing it all at once.
I once used a Chinese cleaver for it. I heated it up on my stove so that it could create a notch for cutting. Then I took my roommate's plastic covered weights (for weight lifting), and I hammered it through. It worked, but it was a pain. These days, if I had to do it over, I'd use a jig saw with a bimetal blade for cutting metal. I'm guessing somewhere about 12 TPI or so, but that's just a guess. Wood-cutting blades might tear it up a little too much.
I would just cook the whole amount in the package, then freeze the excess portions for use in the near future. I live alone, but always cook 3-4 portions' worth and freeze.
I do this all the time with frozen salmon - it's easy as long as the fish isn't too thick.
Take a bread knife, or other serrated knife, and score a break mark on both sides. There's no need to cut all the way through. Then, just break the frozen fillet at the score mark. I do this by hanging the part you want to break off over the edge of a cutting board, then just press hard with the palms of both hands (obviously, one on each side of the score mark).
Now, if you find that you are not strong enough to break it with your hands, you can just put the cutting board on the floor, put the fish back in the bag, and use the above technique just standing on the fillet.
Thanks very much everyone. Yes, it's not lost on me that it's not really a problem! It's a real treat to enjoy such gorgeous, wild fish.
For the time being I decided to leave the chunks as-is (as per BadaBing), as I don't want to compromise the texture by having it out of the freezer a second longer than it needs to. If I end up doing something novel I'll post back to benefit anyone searching this board in future.
@pweller, that's encouraging, I'll be sure to try that (but the fish is pretty thick--these filets are from 25+lb salmon).