Do you have more smoked salmon than you can handle? Maybe you wanted to serve it to your guests, and they never showed up. Even if it was on sale, it is a pity to waste good food!
No matter what the reason is, if you have a few extra packages of pricy smoked salmon, you surely have only one question in your mind: How long does smoked salmon last?
We will answer that and much more. This article will teach you how to store, freeze, and serve smoked salmon. Next time it is on sale, you’ll know whether to stock up or not.
Everything You Should Know About Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon is a pricey delicacy. If you like salty snacks and fireside flavor, it might become your favorite thing.
- Smoked salmon is packed with high-quality protein and low in calories, making it ideal if you are on a weight-loss diet. It contains essential fats that provide energy to your body as well as several highly-beneficial vitamins and minerals.
- Moreover, smoked salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. It is a good source of both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body cannot make these fats on its own, making them even more valuable to your diet.
Why do you need omega-3 fatty acids?
- This pair of fatty acids is crucial for your brain function, but it also plays a vital role in preserving your cardiovascular system, thus securing “healthy” aging.
- Due to its high sodium content (600 to 1,200 mg per 100-gram serving), you should limit your portions of smoked salmon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a maximum of 2,300 mg sodium per day, or you risk cardiovascular diseases and even stroke. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the bar even lower – at a maximum of 2,000 mg per day.
- If you want to eat salmon without worrying about sodium intake, you should better eat it fresh as it contains only 75 mg of sodium per 100-gram serving.
- A serving of smoked salmon (3.5-ounce/100-gram) contains:
|Vitamin B12||136% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||16% of the RDI|
|Vitamin E||9% of the RDI|
|Vitamin D||86% of the RDI|
|Phosphorus||13% of the RDI|
|Copper||26% of the RDI|
|Selenium||59% of the RDI|
|Niacin||30% of the RDI|
|Riboflavin||9% of the RDI|
|Choline||16% of the RDI|
Health Benefits And Risks
- We already gave you a hint of how beneficial smoked salmon is, as well as warned you about its high sodium contents. This is the detailed list of all the health benefits and downsides of this delicacy:
|Health Benefits of Smoked Salmon||Health Risks of Smoked Salmon|
|Thanks to omega-3 fatty acids, it reduces the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and old-age mental decline.||High sodium content can increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke, but only if you do not control the daily intake.|
|Selenium acts as an antioxidant and protects you from free radicals considered one of the main culprits for developing cancer.||Some studies have shown that smoked and processed meats increase the risk of certain cancers.|
|Vitamins B12 and B6 help prevent anemia, reduce the risk of macular disease and osteoporosis, and improve your mood, thus helping you fight off depression symptoms.||Smoked salmon may contain the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, especially if it is cold-smoked. This bacteria causes foodborne illness listeriosis. People with weak immune systems, elderly, pregnant women, and babies should thus avoid cold-smoked salmon.|
|Vitamin D help maintain your bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, as well as boosts your immunity||–|
How Is Smoked Salmon Made?
- As the name suggests, smoked salmon is made by smoking fresh fillets of this fish. Smoking is a well-known and often used processing method for cooking or preserving food. It gives the meat a smoky flavor most people enjoy.
- Here is a step by step process of making smoked salmon:
- Cover boneless salmon fillets in salt
- Let them sit for 12–24 hours to allow for curing (the more you leave them, the saltier they will be)
- Rinse the fillets to remove the extra salt
- Place the fillets in a smoking kiln and let them dry
- Start the smoking process by burning wood chips or sawdust in a smoker (you can use oak, maple, or hickory). The temperature of the smoking chamber will determine whether your salmon will be cold- or hot-smoked.
Types Of Smoked Salmon
- You already know that salmon can be either hot- or cold-smoked. So, what’s the difference?
|Type:||Hot-smoked salmon||Cold-smoked salmon|
|Temperature/ smoking time||145°F (63°C) / at least 30 minutes||50–90°F (10–32°C) / 20–24 hours.|
|Taste/ texture||Smokier flavor, less salty/ Flaky texture||Mild smokey flavor, saltier/ Smoother texture|
How To Select Smoked Salmon?
Most of the time, you’ll find smoked salmon in the refrigerated section of the store. All you need to do is check if the package is sealed well and ensure that the use-by date is ok.
Some varieties of smoked salmon do not require refrigeration until you open the package. The label should contain all the storage recommendations, though, so make sure you read it to be certain that salmon has been appropriately kept at the store.
As far as the look is concerned, make sure that smoked salmon you buy does not have many dark bits. They give fish an unpleasant taste and should be avoided. Most of the time, these bits are trimmed off, but sometimes they are deliberately left on to increase the weight and cost of the final product.
How To Store Smoked Salmon?
Most varieties of smoked salmon require refrigeration even when in sealed packages. All of them have to be refrigerated when open!
Unopened packages of smoked salmon can be used by the date stated on the label. If you open a package, you should best use the smoked salmon within two weeks. Of course, keep it refrigerated at all times!
Most packages are re-sealable, but if yours is not, you should put it into an air-tight plastic container or a plastic bag before you place it in the fridge. In this way, smoked salmon will retain its fresh aroma and will not absorb other odors from your refrigerator.
All the leftovers should be promptly returned into the fridge too.
Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?
- If smoked salmon was on sale, and you could not resist buying a lot, you will appreciate the good news – it can be frozen!
- All you need to do is transfer the vacuum-sealed packs into your freezer – no need to repack them!
- You must spend some more time and effort to freeze the leftovers, though. It is best to place them into a freezer-safe bag and seal it well. For best results, try to squeeze as much air out of the bag before you seal it.
- When you are ready to use the smoked salmon, simply take it out of the freezer the night before planning to eat it and put it into the refrigerator. In the morning, your salmon will be completely thawed and ready to be enjoyed.
How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?
Like most fish, smoked salmon comes with a sell-by or use-by date. It is usually approximately two to three weeks since the package was sealed. Usually, you can get away with an additional day or two, but that’s about it. If it has been longer than that, you should best cut your losses and throw it away.
Open packages of smoked salmon kept in your fridge will be good for about two weeks. If you forget to transfer the smoked salmon into the fridge and leave it out for some time, you should know that depending on room temperature; it will stay good to eat for about 30 minutes or one hour maximum. If it has been out for longer, you should best discard it and not risk your health!
Frozen smoked salmon will last at least a couple of months in your freezer. It will be safe to eat even beyond that, but it might not retain the same quality.
|Unopened||Use by date + 2 days max|
|Opened||7 – 14 days|
How Can You Know If Smoked Salmon Has Gone Bad?
If it is passed its use-by date for more than two days, discard it. The same goes if you know that it has been sitting in your fridge for more than two weeks.
If you are not sure, use your senses. Here are the signs that signal your smoked salmon has gone bad:
- Slimy film on its surface
- Dull color
- Sour smell
If everything seems perfectly fine, appearance and smell-wise, taste it. If it tastes good too, you should be ok to eat it.
If you notice anything fishy (no pun intended), you are better off throwing it away!
How To Serve Smoked Salmon?
Now that you know all there is to know about smoked salmon, it is time to enjoy it. There are countless ways to do that. You can put smoked salmon on a bagel or use it atop your favorite salad. It combines well with eggs, cheese, and veggies. You can even put it in the potato-leek soup. Our top choice is to mix it into a pasta dish!