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Scott Johnson

Keeping your catch

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My wife and I were fortunate enough to put a few keeper walleyes in boat tonight. I am not able to fix them for dinner for a couple days; what is the best way to keep them fresh. Also what is the best way to freeze them for the future?

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for the last few years I have been freezing my fillets in water. Put the meat in a zip lock fill it with water and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. I found that you are able to keep it longer as well as prevent against freezer burn. I've kept fillets in the fridge for a few days in a zip lock and that kept them fresh as well however, not sure how long they last like that.

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I agree. Since we have gone to freezing fish that are covered in water with no air in the bag we have seen an improvement in quality. From what I understand, the key is to not have any air touching any part of the fish. Air is what "freezer burns" meat. When we thaw the fish they are almost like new. The only way fish are better is when they have never been frozen.

When keeping fish and not freezing them, we keeping them covered in cold water, and adding a pinch of salt helps keep the water cold and will even out any taste differences that might exist.

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These guys are right on. Be sure to use a freezer bag and not sandwich bags. Fill with water, get the air out and they will keep up to a year no problem.

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Two things you can do. I do the freeze in water as well. I do use sandwich bags, but then put those in a gallon freezer bag. Has worked well.

Another good way to keep it real fresh, scale them and leave the skin on. If you know how to fillet so you get one butterfly out of a fish is the best. Once you have the fillet, pack it so the meat is together and you have the skin on boat sides. The skin will keep it much fresher. You can take the skin off when you go to cook if you choose.

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Water and freezer bags work great same method works well for freezing ducks, geese, and pheasants.

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A trick that my buddy who runs a salmon charter out of Sturgeon Bay taught me for getting all the air out is submerge the bag and contents in water all the way up to the zip lock and then seal. Water on the outside forces all the air on the inside out.

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If i am going to keep the fish...i usually plan on eating them the same day or within the next couple of days. Then i just put them in a bowl of water and some salt in the fridge.

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I always do the frozen water thing in ziplock freezer bags. Like mentioned get all the air out.

On a side note I bleed my fish out before I clean them. Keeps the filets nice and white for my pickey wife. Good Fishing!!

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Bleed them out, do you take the gills out right away or what is the best way to do this?

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When keeping fish and not freezing them, we keeping them covered in cold water, and adding a pinch of salt helps keep the water cold and will even out any taste differences that might exist.

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If you have a food saver use that. They work great , and don't take up as much room as freezing in water.

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O.K., this may sound weird...but trust me.

Freeze them in 7-Up. Yep, that is right, 7-Up.

They taste more fresh when you take them out and thaw them.

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First, it surprises me that noone has mentioned vacuum sealing. I vacuum pack mine and they keep every bit as well as freezing in water in zip bags, which is how I used to do it. Either method works well.

I have a question. How does adding salt to the water make it colder? It's still only as cold as the ambient evironment unless there's some chemical process going on that eludes me.

I would disagree with leaving the skin on. I have found it more difficult to skin fillets that are not fresh and like leaving the hide on red meat, I believe leaving the skin on fish may taste the meat to some degree. Of course, if that's okay with one's taste then maybe it's preferred.

Bob

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Salt keeps water liquid at a lower temperature. Equal parts of water and salt freeze at 0 degrees F.

Not sure it makes a difference for freezing fish, other than I do find that 'brining' them does cut some of the strong flavors.

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I fill a large stock pot 1/2 full of cold water and a little ice. Put the fillets in a zip-loc freezer bag. Submerge the bag in the cold water letting it fill, then force as much water and air out of the bag as possible. Seal the bag while it is under water.

A resort owner taught me this way a few years ago. I think they taste much better than when the bag is filled with water.

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I freeze them just like mentioned, in a ziploc with water. I have heard of the 7-up trick, just haven't tried it yet. Before I freeze them I usually soak them in the fridge in a salt water mixture. This really helps remove any of the blood or other stuff left on the filet.

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I freeze them just like mentioned, in a ziploc with water. I have heard of the 7-up trick, just haven't tried it yet. Before I freeze them I usually soak them in the fridge in a salt water mixture. This really helps remove any of the blood or other stuff left on the filet.

I put mine in the fridge overnight as well. Along with the salt and water mixture I put a couple of splashes of milk in it. Don't know if the milk really does anything but it hasn't hurt.

Boilerguy, I have yet to leave the skins on, just had heard it somewhere to do that. I don't think they would be much hard to take the skin off. I've had times when I get home late and throw whole fish in the freezer and clean the next day. I have had no bad taste with taking the skin off so I still do that.

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Fish filleted and clean well in cold water will retain very little fishy flavor. The key is to not let the fish sit around to long before cleaning, if I can't get at them right away I put them in an old cooler with lots of ice and some water. I freeze my pannies in margarine tubs filled with water, bigger fish like walleye, northern, bass I use my vac sealer. Usually they don't last too long around my place. I just had northern pike the other night and it was great. I remember the pike my mom used to buy at the market, it always tasted so gross, very fishy.

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for some reason or other i have a REALLY hard time getting the vacum packer to seal with fish so i like the freeze in milk carton and water method. i grill all my eyes and leave skin and scales on and have no issues with fishy tasting fish.

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Hammer Handle...

What made you even try 7 up???

I envision some story of being stuck in northern Canada on a fly-in trip, gone bad...and you needing to store some fish, but only had 7 up...blah, blah, blah

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the lemon flavoring in the 7 up would definitely be a benefit.

+1 on the saltwater freeze. The salt will also draw water out of the fillet.

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Actually, my dad heard it from someone many many years ago...and he tried it and found it worked. So, I tried it.

The 7-Up does not flavor the fish at all. They just taste more fresh.

I tested it and froze some sunnies in water and 7-Up side by side. After 4 months, I thawed them and fried them and had a taste test with 6 friends (who didn't know which was which).

The 7-Up fish won the taste test 4-2.

Just in case, I tried this taste test again with different friends. This time 7-Up froze fish won 3-0.

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