Perch is a popular freshwater gamefish because of their large size and bright coloration. They are often found near rocks in rivers, creeks, and lakes. They can grow up to 16 inches long but on average, perch is usually around 6 to 8 inches long.
If you’ve caught a lot of them when fishing, you may wonder if you can freeze them.
Can You Freeze Perch?
Perch can be frozen raw or cooked, and it’s a great option for those looking to store the fish for a long period of time. It’s best to freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Properly stored, perch will last for up to 1 year in the freezer.
How To Freeze Perch
When it comes to freezing perch, you can either freeze them raw or cooked. However, it’s best to freeze them fresh so they’ll last much longer than if you’ve cooked them.
Freezing Fresh Perch
If you are planning on cooking fresh perch in a month or later, then you should know how to freeze fresh perch in the right manner.
Steps to follow:
Step 1: Cut the head and remove the guts from the fish. You can scale the fish, but it’s not necessary.
Step 2: Wash your fish thoroughly. Make sure to remove any blood from the fish.
Step 3: Rinse them with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Step 4: Place the fish on a plate or sheet pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper.
Step 5: Put them in the freezer for about 2 hours until they get completely frozen.
Step 6: Once frozen completely, transfer them into an airtight plastic bag or container and put them back in the freezer.
Freezing Cooked Perch
The freezer method for freezing cooked perch is similar to how you would freeze any other meat. The first step is to cook your perch thoroughly. You can use any method that works for you — baking, broiling or frying are all good options.
Once your perch is done cooking, let it cool completely before freezing it. If you try to freeze the food while it’s hot, the heat will cause water molecules in the food to expand and form ice crystals inside the food when it freezes — which can leave holes in your food when thawed out.
Then place your cooled perch on a cookie sheet and place it in your freezer overnight until frozen solid (at least 10 hours). You don’t need to cover your perch with anything, but make sure not to touch them or move them around too much once they’re frozen.
After the perch is completely frozen, remove them from the freezer and transfer the fish to the freezer bag. Then press on the bag to remove any excess air before sealing it.
Last, label the bag with the date of freezing and place it back in the freezer.
How Long Does Perch Last In The Freezer?
How long the perch last in the freezer will depend on whether it’s cooked or fresh.
For cooked perch, the fish will last for about 6 months in the freezer.
If you’re freezing fresh perch, they will last for up to 1 year in the freezer. You will want to use the fish before then as it will start to deterioate in quality after that.
How To Defrost Perch
Defrosting perch is a simple process. If you have raw perch, just place the fish in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and it will be ready to cook. If you want to defrost your perch in the sink, use warm water and a paper towel.
Once the perch is thawed out, place it in a colander or strainer and rinse under cold water. This will remove any excess slime that may have been collected on the fish.
For cooked perch, simply place the fish in the fridge for about 2 hours until it’s thawed. Then you can either heat the fish in the microwave or on a skillet.
Can You Refreeze Perch?
Yes, you can. It’s actually a good idea to freeze perch so that you have some on hand when they’re in season and ready to be eaten. You can refreeze the same fish after thawing them at room temperature.
First, remove all but about 1 inch of ice from your container or bag of frozen fish fillets (this will help prevent freezer burn). Then place the sealed package in a refrigerator set at 0°C (32°F) for 5 minutes before putting it back into storage with no additional ice added until ready to use again.*
Does Perch Freeze Well?
You can refreeze perch, but it’s not recommended.
When you freeze perch, ice crystals form in the cells of the fish’s flesh. These crystals damage cell membranes and make it impossible for the cells to hold water properly when they thaw out again. This causes them to break down and leak their contents into other parts of the fish when you cook it again after refreezing it. The result is mushy fish with a poor texture and flavor.
If you’re planning on storing your perch for longer than a week, freezing is the best option. You can freeze them raw or cooked. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container or freezer bag. This will prevent the fish from getting freezer burn and will keep it fresh for up to 12 months.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.