Tilapia is a delicious fish consumed globally. You can enjoy tilapia in different ways, roasted, boiled, fried, cooked, etc. Though tilapia is best consumed fresh, it is not always possible to have it fresh. Even if you purchase it fresh from the store, it becomes stale within two days. On the other hand, you can cook the tilapia and extend its shelf life by a couple of days more. So, the ideal preserving option is to freeze it.
Can You Freeze Tilapia?
You can freeze tilapia comfortably in the freezer. Tilapia has excellent water content. So, it freezes well. However, we suggest you follow the correct method of freezing tilapia to get the best out of the fish.
How Do You Freeze Tilapia?
Freezing tilapia is not a problem. But, it requires some time to prepare for the freezer. So, here are some easy ways of freezing tilapia.
Freeze The Whole Tilapia
- Clean the tilapia fish thoroughly. We recommend scaling the fish after removing the gut. It makes it easy to freeze.
- Place the fish on wax paper and push it into the freezer for two to three hours.
- Take the fish out from the freezer after it becomes frozen.
- Use an aluminum foil wrapper to wrap the frozen tilapia. You can have double or treble wrapping to ensure against exposure to air that can cause freezer burn.
- Place the wrapped tilapia in a large freezer bag. Seal the bag after expelling excess air from it.
- Write the contents and the freezing date of the bag and set the tilapia to freeze deep inside the freezer.
Freezing Tilapia Fillet
- First, fillet the fish and clean it under running water for some seconds to remove any debris sticking to it.
- Prepare the tilapia by submerging it in brine comprising ¼ cup of salt to one quart of water. The brine solution improves the tilapia’s quality by providing a firm texture. It also decreases the drip loss due to thawing.
- Keep the tilapia submerged in the brine solution for 20 seconds.
- Please place the fish on wax paper and push it into the freezer for one to two hours.
- The fish freezes well and becomes frozen. Please remove it from the freezer and dip it into freezing ice water for five seconds.
- Place the tilapia on wax paper again and freeze for a few minutes for the glaze to harden.
- Remove the fish and submerge it in ice water again until it stays covered by a uniform ice cover.
- Use moisture and vapor-resistant wrapping paper to wrap the tilapia well. We suggest multiple wrapping to prevent exposure to air.
- Place the tilapia in a freezer bag and squeeze the air out before sealing it.
- Note down the freezing date on the bag and keep it inside the freezer for freezing.
Freezing Tilapia Using The Vacuum Sealing Method
Vacuum sealing tilapia enables the fish to remain fresh in the freezer for extended periods. If you vacuum-seal it correctly, you can preserve the frozen tilapia for even a year. In addition, it ensures no exposure to air that causes freezer burn and spoils the fish.
This freezing method requires using a vacuum sealing machine. The machine removes excess air from the freezer bag and prevents freezer burn. Other than using the vacuum sealing machine, the freezing procedure is the same as described above.
How Long Can The Frozen Tilapia Be Fit For Consumption?
The traditional freezing methods can preserve the tilapia fish for six to eight months. However, vacuum sealing the tilapia extends its life to nearly one year. The tilapia fish remains fit for consumption even after the periods mentioned above. But, you can notice the deterioration in its quality. The flesh could come apart, and the fish could lose its flavor. So, we recommend consuming the frozen tilapia within its “Best for use” date.
How Do You Defrost Tilapia?
You can defrost tilapia in different ways.
- The refrigerator defrost mode is the best because it allows the frozen fish to defrost naturally. You can remove the frozen tilapia with its wrapper and place it inside the fridge. The change in the temperature levels allows the tilapia to thaw naturally. However, the procedure consumes time. Therefore, you might have to leave the fish inside the fridge overnight.
- Alternatively, you can remove the freezer bag from the freezer and place it in a bowl containing cool water. The fish should thaw within 20 minutes.
Can You Refreeze Tilapia?
It is possible to refreeze tilapia under two conditions.
- The fish should be thawed in the fridge.
- It should not defrost entirely.
If the tilapia fish defrosts entirely, the moisture leaks out ultimately. It can damage the fish’s texture and result in flavor loss. So, freezing it again can affect the fish’s quality, further leaving you with a fish that tastes bland. The flesh also tends to separate.
You can consider refreezing tilapia if you thaw it initially in the fridge. Leaving it exposed to air and moisture at room temperature can cause bacterial contamination. The fish can get spoilt and cause food poisoning.
Can You Refreeze Store-Bought Tilapia?
We do not advise refreezing store-bought tilapia more than once because you do not know how many times it has been frozen already.
Therefore, we suggest freezing tilapia fillets because you can freeze them individually and remove the required quantity alone when defrosting. It reduces wastage and eliminates the need for refreezing the fish.
Can You Freeze Cooked Tilapia?
If you store it well, you can freeze cooked tilapia. The fish can last for three to four days in the fridge. If you need to keep it for extended periods, you can freeze it in airtight containers. We suggest wrapping the tilapia well in aluminum foil or freezer wrap.
While it is possible to freeze cooked tilapia, we recommend freezing it before cooking. Reheating frozen cooked tilapia can make it dry and go rubbery.
Can You Freeze Baked Tilapia?
Baked tilapia is similar to cooked tilapia. So, you have to take similar precautions before freezing it.
Can You Freeze Fried Tilapia?
Freezing fried tilapia is possible, but you have to follow preventive measures.
Tilapia tastes delicious when freshly prepared. But, if you prepare it in excess or have leftovers, it is possible to freeze it rather than throwing it away. So, can you freeze tilapia? It is possible, provided you exercise the necessary precautions.