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Jun 6, 2013 05:15 PM

Making sushi-grade salmon?

I'm planning to buy some salmon that aren't sushi grade from the supermarket and it may be fresh, but I know it won't be spoiled or bad, that hasn't been frozen. I want to buy salmon that hasn't been frozen after being caught and then bringing it home, vacuum seal it and freezing it below -5F for a month or so. Will it be safe to eat it raw after thawing it out?

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  1. You want to take non sushi grade salmon that may not be the freshest to begin with and convert it to sushi grade by freezing it for a month?

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      Well, not specifically a month, that's just when I think I would be craving for some salmon sashimi. But, yeah.

      1. re: maxman190

        You can not make fish that is not Sashimi grade into Sashimi grade by any method.
        Will it be safe to eat, most likely. Would I want to eat it, NO

    2. If you are a bear... it will taste fine.

      if you are a human you will be able to tell it is not Sushi grade.

      1 Reply
      1. re: girloftheworld

        "If you are a bear... it will taste fine."

        That was brilliant!

      2. Okay, then what about getting fresh whole salmon from the supermarket and then making that into sushi?

        4 Replies
        1. re: maxman190

          What is you obsession with getting low grade fish for Sashimi?
          If you want to eat crappy Sushi just do it, why ask others to condone it?

          1. re: maxman190

            Hi, maxman:

            The key is getting really fresh, high-grade fish, something most supermarkets don't have. Buying a whole fish can be cheaper, but it's prolly more fish than you can eat over several days--by which time it's neither fresh nor a bargain.

            Better to go to a reputable fishmonger, sniff the goods, and buy (at a premium if necessary) only what you need.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              to be safe, the fish should be flash frozen first, not just thrown into a regular freezer.

              quality still would be bad, but everyone has different ideas about what constitutes quality frozen fish.

            2. re: maxman190

              No. Farmed salmon from a conventional store should not be eaten raw. No way.

              For that matter, I am not interested in any eating farmed salmon ever.

            3. The only time I've heard of this being done is when you catch the fish yourself. Therefore, it's super fresh and you're just trying to kill any nasties by freezing them to death. I haven't heard of freezing it for more than a few hours though. I just can't imagine wanting to eat any of the commercially caught fish raw unless it's been treated as sushi grade.

              I don't like spending very much on sashimi either and I actually prefer to slice it myself so it can be super thin. There's a japanese grocery in my area that sells sashimi blocks in small portions. It's quite a savings from restaurant sashimi and it's still fresh and delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: soypower

                AFAIK there is no regulation on what is considered "sushi grade" besides it being frozen to a certain temperature -- something the OP was considering doing.

              2. The term "sushi-grade" has very little meaning, aside from a marketing term.

                You can take whatever salmon you buy and freeze it, and it'll be safe to eat, but it won't necessarily make it "sushi-grade".

                It'll just make it "previously-frozen grade".

                Yum. Eat up.

                18 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  you're better off curing the salmon and using that as your "sushi grade". unless you know exactly where your salmon comes from, I would advise against it. there's a higher risk of nasty buggers in fresh water fishes.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    "The term 'sushi-grade' has very little meaning, aside from a marketing term."

                    Yeah that one drives me nuts. Way I see it if a place is gonna sell you fish that you can't eat raw, why would you wanta eat it cooked? It's either fresh or it's not. There's no scale in my mind. "Here ma'am this salmon's only been sitting in the display for a week now, but I'm sure it's good enough if you cook it real long."

                    1. re: MGZ

                      I actually never knew this. I always thought sushi-grade fish was processed (cleaned, filleted) more expediently as well as being blast frozen on the boat it was caught on to maintain freshness and minimize the time available for bacteria growth.

                      Good to know. But I'll still probably use only the sashimi/sushi graded stuff.

                      1. re: soypower

                        And who said marketing doesn't work?

                        1. re: soypower

                          I think most people assume it has been checked for parasites and/or treated for parasites when marketed this way since farmed fish are filled iwth them.

                          1. re: JudiAU

                            reference, please?

                            Heavy metals, less flavor, etc., etc. -- but I've yet to see much about parasites.

                            Wild fish most assuredly have parasites...I've seen them and excised them -- so the eyebrow doesn't lift very far on this one.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Open net farming (basically large pens with no physical barrier to the large bodies of water in which they are used) provide for transfer of waste out and anything existing in those large bodies of water in, including parasites.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                that's what I meant -- wild-caught fish (as in, fish I've caught/speared myself) have parasites and that doesn't keep from eating them (you just cut out the parasites and then cook the fish)

                                and although I wasn't clear on that point, I did mean farming as in tanks/ponds, rather than restricted open water. I have no doubt that those raised in pens would have parasites -- if their wild brethren on the other side of the net have parasites, it's pretty logical that the farmed ones "on the inside" would, too.

                          2. re: MGZ

                            Hi, MGZ & Ipse: "The term 'sushi-grade' has very little meaning, aside from a marketing term."

                            Not so fast. I eat a lot of ahi, which is graded on a multi-level scale. The top 4 grades cannot be differentiated from the next few lower grades when *cooked*. But used in sushi there is a discernible difference.

                            There is also the matter of different salmon runs...


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Kaleo, not all of us have the pleasure of livin' in the paradise of the 50th State. Perhaps, those gradings are related to the Japanese system? Here where the latitude and longitude are in the 40's and 70's, "sushi grade" on a fish counter is roughly the same as "trust me, I know a guy...."

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Hi, MGZ:

                                Actually, I live in the 42nd State. But you have a valid point insofar as non-fishing area supermarket fish counters go.

                                However, most major cities in the US these days have at least a handful of serious sushi restaurants, and a fish market or two to supply them. These markets routinely fly in very high quality fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Several years ago in Honolulu, I was lucky enough to have prepared for me very fresh Antarctic shrimp along with locally-caught selections. Even the logistical tail required to harvest shrimp in the Great Southern Ocean and deliver them fresh to the most remote archipelago in the world is workable--for a price.

                                Perhaps unfortunately, what premium fish is available in any given (non-fishing) location almost always depends on a concentration of other people's wealth to justify air freight. And with globalization, even fishing areas can see the best of their local catches go to the highest global bidder.


                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Actually, I live less than a half mile from the Atlantic. I have friends with boats and love to fish. In fact, we had sea bass last night that my buddy came over and cooked. I have a local fishmonger that I know and trust. Sometimes, I just tell the guys how many people I'm feeding and take what they give me.

                                  I'm good with fish, but around here, and in many places, grades for fish is meaningless.

                                  Oh and I gotta find Antarctic shrimp now. Thanks

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Oh, and by the way, thanks for makin' me have to look up what the 42nd State is. Can you send me a bag? The Third State doesn't even let me buy Bloody Marys at this time on a Sunday. And, trust me I NEED one.

                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      Yes, much progress has been made here in the aptly-named Evergreen State. But alas, our uncle Samuel--Philistine that he is--takes a dim view of even small gifts.


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Hat's off, Brother. Mrs. Z wants to head out there for our next vacation. I'm good with it, but we're gonna have to arm wrestle that I wanna make a long, cross country learning drive outta it a nd she's more of a "fly over" girl.

                                        When we do it, you're the first Alpha I'm gonna hit up for Chow advice, I assure you.

                                        I'm so into the idea. I've read "Blue Highways" three times. "Travel with Charley" the same. I really want to just post on every board and ask for a trip plan from all these brilliant, fellow food geeks based only on the eats. I mean, I'm good if I have to go to outta my way through OK on my route to Seattle. It's all about keepin' my fat belly happy.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Hi, MGZ:

                                          Well, whether you drive or fly, make sure you have a car to get around to see things. Flying over and parking yourselves in DT Seattle is good for food, but you'd be shortchanging yourselves by not seeing some further-off sights.

                                          Re: posting on every board, you might have no choice. The Mods are sometimes really strict about posting about trips that do not neatly fit into their sometimes strange geographical limits.

                                          IMO, there's noting like a good, long roadtrip. Rent her "Borat" and "Lost in America". She should be putty in your driving-gloved hands.


                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            We'll drive, as soon as I figure out all the five calendar cafes along the way, wherever they may be.