Preparation of Fillets prior to Freezing

Discussion in 'Pelagics' started by The Great PF, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. The Great PF

    The Great PF Senior Member

    900
    212
    I've been reading on another post about the best ways to preserve/freeze tuna. We expect to catch some yft out of Venice next month, along with some wahoo. What's the consenses about whether to leave any skin on prior to freezing? When we received the wahoo fillets from Devlin back in January, he had left the skin on. A couple of years ago the guy cleaning our yft in Port A removed all the skin. So what's the bottom line: Leave or remove any skin?? Or does it depend upon the species?
     
  2. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

    1,558
    30
    for wahoo, the skin helps hold the meat better. thats the easiest fish to fillet anyway. i dont like freezing tuna so not much input there. i have done it in the past without the skin and vacuumed sealed it. gave some away 6-12 months later and still got good reviews on the meat.
     

  3. Enoch

    Enoch Senior Member

    2,763
    27
    Brian,

    whats the name of your sealer called? good investment?

    :confused:
     
  4. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

    1,558
    30
    Brian,

    whats the name of your sealer called? good investment?

    :confused:
    i got the cheaper black and decker from walmart. 50 bucks works fine, make sure it seals all the way. sometimes you might have to do a double seal. but worth the little amount of money. the bags can be custom sized also.
     
  5. hamptonsurf

    hamptonsurf Senior Member

    1,261
    1
    Well worth the investment. I use mine to keep fillets nice and fresh, but also in the early days of summer when I catch alot of bait. I think a nice, big, fresh-frozen mackerel/herring (here in the NE) or any other bait from the actual waters you are fishing goes a long way in september when the macks are gone but the fish are still hungry. They can be brined before freezing or just frozen as is.
     
  6. hamptonsurf

    hamptonsurf Senior Member

    1,261
    1
    In regard to tuna, I like to cut them into "logs" if you will and freeze them that way. Larger portion, which can be trimmed if need be in a few months, then sliced into steaks. The smaller the portions whenput in the freezer, the more meat you lose.
     
  7. peterk814

    peterk814 Senior Member

    1,543
    169
    Leave the fish bloody, never wash the fish in anything after filleting, freeze with the blood and everything that way you wont get freezer burn
     
  8. hamptonsurf

    hamptonsurf Senior Member

    1,261
    1
    good point. You are actually better off freezing them with a bunch of water/blood around the meat than even a bit of gap between the meet and plastic where air can fill. I have actually tried just freezin a fillet in a tupperware full of water and it works well. Water can wash out the tun meet VERY quickly (turns whitish-pink) so leaving it in blood etc is better.
     
  9. The Great PF

    The Great PF Senior Member

    900
    212
    So far the information that you've provided to me (and everyone) is very useful. So, it looks like (1) YES, vacuum seal; (2) do NOT wash the fillets; (3) freeze larger pieces; and (4) leave the skin on. All of this sounds very logical, and thanks for taking the time to respond. By the way, I have been looking at a Food Saver vacuum sealer at Costco; however, a couple of you may be on to something with the lower priced Black & Decker. I am willing to spend more, especially when I consider that I will need it for more than tuna and wahoo: For freezing the results of my Bambi Blasting each fall.
     
  10. Eastern Tackle

    Eastern Tackle Senior Member

    1,660
    33
    You received some good info here. Leave the tuna in as big a pieces as possible and vaccum pack. Can't go wrong there.

    Also having an old freezer that is Not frost free helps. When a freezer cycles for the frost free feature it heats up and kills what ever is in it.

    I keep my fish in old freezer and just defrost it every one or two years. Same with your ballyhoos.
     
  11. SpecialK

    SpecialK Super Moderator

    1,569
    18
    I'll add that if you do wash your fillets before or after you freeze, I have found a big difference in washing tuna in a fresh or salt water solution. The salt water seems to keep the meat in better condition. I have hear that without the salt meat breaks down. Maybe someone can scientifically explain why this happens...
     
  12. peterk814

    peterk814 Senior Member

    1,543
    169
    salt water causes water to draw moisture(water) out of the muscles in the fish. Osmosis occurs, meat gets broken down to water leaving the cells
     
  13. peterk814

    peterk814 Senior Member

    1,543
    169
    atleast thats what alton brown said =)
     
  14. Billiam

    Billiam Moderator

    581
    0
    The salt general preserves the fish and the freezing point temperature is ~-21 degrees Celsius, which I believe allows less frosting or freezer burn from occurring. And in terms of the drawing out of water, Pete, it also acts as a tenderizer. I'm also guessing that less crystals form with saltwater as well, as oppose to plan H2o which expands and destroying proteins and molecular integrity of the fish. Thats why Im wondering if removing any excess water, including blood by wrapping it in a paper towel first might be a better freezing method or freezing with a paper towel wrapped around it in the vac bag.

    Other than that I have a commercial grade vacuum sealer from Cabela and it has worked fantastically the few times I have used it thus far. If you go on Cabela you'll notice about ~500+ ppl gave it a close to 5 star rating. Thou it is very pricy at $500 I see it as just an investment towards preventing wasted spoil fish. So I HIGHLY recommend spending on this, because I also heard that all of the food savers breakdown and it adds up to less hassle and more bang for your buck if you just go with this from the get-go. Hope this helps.

    [Eastern Tackle - can you explain some more details as to why you defrost and refreeze your bait and other frozen fish???]


    I'll add that if you do wash your fillets before or after you freeze, I have found a big difference in washing tuna in a fresh or salt water solution. The salt water seems to keep the meat in better condition. I have hear that without the salt meat breaks down. Maybe someone can scientifically explain why this happens...
     
  15. Eastern Tackle

    Eastern Tackle Senior Member

    1,660
    33
    [Eastern Tackle - can you explain some more details as to why you defrost and refreeze your bait and other frozen fish???]

    I defrost the freezer, not the fish :) The freezer can't defrost itself automatically. Its a manual system which is best.

    You have to pull everything out and stick it in the regular freezer while you defrost ;)
     
  16. Iliveoutside

    Iliveoutside Senior Member

    223
    0
    I am glad SOME have had good luck with the cheap vac sealers. But I have had bad luck with the cheap ones.

    I ended up selling the cheapo on Ebay, and buying the FoodSaver.

    The Foodsaver pulls a higher vacuum so you will get less chance of air in there. The cheap ones have smaller vacuum pumps, can't pull the vacuum that the Foodsaver can.

    Just make sure to use the vacuum first to get all the air out, once you are satisfied, then hit the seal button. If you hit the regular vac and seal button, sometimes you get a crease in teh seal and you have to end up cutting the bag and starting over.
     
  17. d-a

    d-a Senior Member

    5,475
    206
    I double seal my bags. You might waste an extra inch of bags but it's extra insurance.

    d-a
     
  18. auguste

    auguste Junior member

    7
    0
    Small vacumn machines OK but they heat up (and turn off) if you have a lot of tuna to freeze . . . better getting a higher quality machine

    Buy the better quality bags . . . some have corrigated bottoms that makes it easier to remove all of the air

    Blue fin tuna is frozen and sent to Japan for sushi so I have troubles believing people when they say they can tell the difference between fresh and PROPERLY frozen tuna . . . that is my story and I stick with it :)
     
  19. d-a

    d-a Senior Member

    5,475
    206
    Small vacumn machines OK but they heat up (and turn off) if you have a lot of tuna to freeze . . . better getting a higher quality machine

    Buy the better quality bags . . . some have corrigated bottoms that makes it easier to remove all of the air

    Blue fin tuna is frozen and sent to Japan for sushi so I have troubles believing people when they say they can tell the difference between fresh and PROPERLY frozen tuna . . . that is my story and I stick with it :)

    Theirs a difference in the way a commercial operation freezes there tuna versus a recreational fisherman does. Thats why you can tell a difference

    d-a
     
  20. chf1949

    chf1949 Senior Member

    1,099
    2
    d-a,

    is it in the freezing, or in the killing (brain stab, wire thru spine, etc) i'm curious. thanks!