Oregon DFW Offers Tips on Cleaning/Freezing Your Catch

Oregon DFW Offers Tips on Cleaning/Freezing Your Catch
Not only are fish fun to catch, they are good eating too. There are many ways and hundreds of recipes to prepare fresh fish – baked, grilled or smoked; sweet, salty or spicy. Bring a cooler with ice to keep your catch as fresh as possible 'til you get home.

Your catch should be cleaned and gutted as soon as possible. After removing the guts and gills, cut the kidney membrane along the backbone and scrape away the blood using your thumbnail or a spoon. Removing the internal organs and gills promptly helps prevent bacteria and blood clots from tainting or discoloring the meat.

If you don't plan to eat your fish in a day or two, you'll want to freeze it. Most freezing methods work best if you quick freeze the fish first – place uncovered fish on a sheet of aluminum foil in the freezer to freeze it as quickly as possible.

The best method for keeping fish in the freezer is to vacuum seal it, which protects the fish from freezer burn. Quick freeze the fish, then seal it in a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum sealed frozen fish should be eaten within three or four months.

Another way to protect fish from freezer burn is to freeze it in a block of ice. Quick freeze individual portions, place each in a zip lock freezer back, fill with water and freeze.

Finally, if you're going to be eating the fishing within two weeks you can double wrap quick frozen fish tightly in plastic (squeeze out as much air as possible) and then in freezer paper.

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