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A very close friend of mine showed me years ago how to freeze crappie fillets in a zip log bag. I have done this with bluegill fillets now for a long time.  What I don't know is how long they will last because I have never let them stay around for long before the peanut oil and fryer starts calling them.  Do any of you guys know how long they will last frozen?

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I'll tell you they last a long time as long as the fillets are covered with water then put in the freezer. I've ate them after a couple years.

Hi Shawn.  I work as a cook.  Rule of thumb for all frozen foods is to keep them for about 3 months.  After that, freezer-burn starts to set in.

That said, cryovac packaging (Foodsaver) really extends that time limit.  Another trick that food producers do is to "glaze" the food item with water, then package them loose (think bags of frozen chicken breasts).  The food is place onto a conveyor belt, and fed through a special blast-chiller that freezes the item in a minute or two.  Still on the belt, the food is then spritzed with water, and run through another blast-chiller.  The resulting glaze of ice helps to prevent freezer burn.

When I freeze my fish, I use a gallon ziplock bag, and put a layer of fillets in it, then squeeze as much air out as possible.  You can also add just a bit of water to the bag; this will act just like the ice glaze I mentioned.  I wouldn't add much, though, as it really increases the time it takes to thaw the fish.  The way I do mine, I can place the entire bag of frozen fillets into a tub of water, and it will be thawed in 30 minutes or so.

Great post Allen and goes for birds as well.

The key to your description is to fillet the fish when as fresh as possible. NOT hanging dead from a stringer all day. The reason for live wells and live baskets.
If one chooses to place the fish in a gallon jug full of water. the water should be ICE COLD. Tap water would allow enough time, before the fish fillets are frozen, for decomposition to set in and the 'freshness' one desires has expired.

Kind of depends on time of year, BOW and a few other factors. I string fish lots of times. I use the metal clips and I poke it through the mouth and lower jaw just below the lip. I only put more than one fish per clip if they are all filled up. I never string through the gills and if it is in the summer, I either don't keep them or ice them. Anyway, when it isn't too warm they stay frisky all day.

Mr. Tabbert is correct, we fried some the other day from 2013. They were great.

Makes a big difference if we are talking about the deep freeze or the little door on the kitchen fridge. Deep freeze is usually set colder and doesn't get opened as often.

I put 20 to 30 bluegill fillets in a quart zip lock freezer bag and then cover with water, push out all the air then seal and freeze. They are always good to me through the winter and have had some that got lost for a couple of years and they tasted just as good. Make sure you date them and use the oldest first. Freezing in water makes the thaw time a lot longer but keeps the freezer taste out of the fish. 

That's the way I've always done it is freeze in water. I'm going out on the limb here and say I have had fish frozen that way probably as long as 3 years and they have always tasted good. Now a day I hardly keep any fish mainly cause I don't get a chance to frequent the waters like I once did and I can go out back and have fresh fish and keep my freezer space to a minimum. I do have a few walleyes out there yet and yes frozen in water its been working for me for 50 years why stop now. I clean the fish and rinse good. Put in a lip lock bag covering with water. Bleed all the air out of the bag and freeze. I lay the bag flat in the freezer when they freeze you can stack then better then.

Thanks so much for the replies.  The water in zip lock freeze method is what he showed me and I have done it ever since then.  Has always worked great just wondered how long they would last.  Now I know.  I'm not going to run out just yet and buy an extra deep freezer but will not hesitate anymore to freeze more in the future now that I know they can last a long time. 

I keep my deep freeze cold enough that if I need to rearrange things I wear gloves. I have to take things out to thaw significantly sooner than if it were in the "other half of the fridge". We sometimes get vacuum sealed tuna steaks and salmon from a food service who prides themselves on deep freezing very fresh meats and fish. The difference between month old and year old is indistinguishable. Either is usually of better quality than the "fresh" at local markets. Going down to the coast and getting truly local seafood is another matter. Anyway, if you can eliminate air and keep the temp below zero it would keep almost indefinitely.

"Flash-Frozen" foods are frozen so fast, that the water in the meat or plant cells does not have time to form ice crystals.  It's these crystals that shred the cell walls, creating the "soggy strawberry" effect.  People first figured this out over 100 years ago, when folks that were ice fishing in extremely cold weather just left their fish on the ice to freeze, and thawed them at home.

Nowadays, commercial food prep uses a Blast Chiller to achieve the same effect.  It helps if they items being frozen are generally small.  I think Blast Chillers use liquid nitrogen to help freeze the food.

I have a couple of the teflon sheets they sell for grilling that I plan to try to freeze things. Even though they are teflon, I think it will works best to spray Pam or whatever and wipe them. Set them on an open shelf in the deep freeze. Anyway I am thinking if I do fillets or small gutted headless panfish this way for an hour or two, I could then bag them together and be able to take them out individually. We sometimes buy seafood that way and it won't last as long as the individual vacuum seal but it is pretty good. I buy whiting and croaker packaged that way at a local regional grocery chain sometimes. 

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