I've just started fileting Gills after joining this goldmine site. So far we've eaten them all but I might want to freeze some sometime. Tell me how ya'll do it. In water, no water, wrapped in foil or what?
Hurry because my wife made me fry some scaled and gutted ones out of the freezer along with my latest filet serving. She's right again. There is a lot to be said for picking them bones clean. But, there is a lot to be said for stuffing my mouth with boneless filets too. I want it both ways so clue me in on the freezing thing.
I and my fishing buddy have for several years placed the fillets in one quart sized zip lock bags.
Place a couple hand full of fillets after rinsing several times into the bag with out additional
water added. This seems to have worked well for us...having held fish this way for up to
a year with out frezzer burn. Before zipping the bag completly closed position the fillets to
lay flat as you can and get all the air out of the bag before final zip...works for us...
there you have it....good eating anytime....Frogg2
boogieman, I get the chance to fish close to 250 times a year.....because of this, I rarely freeze fish. But when I'm putting some away for the annual fish fry for friends, I use quality one gallon freezer zip-locs....I will put not more than 30-40 well drained fillets in the bag, seal ziploc bag to within 1" of complete seal, roll fillets firmly up from the bottom, squeeze out all the air on your way up and close remainding seal. Fillets have the ability to absorb more water than you might think. Some people swear by freezing fillets in water, this may prevent visible freezer burn, but any prolonged exposure to water and fillets start to absorb much like a sponge, a making for a fry time nightmare......Nothing beats a vaccum sealer for long time storage........but my fish never last that long.
I also rarely freeze fish anymore as I usually eat em right away plus I'm out fishing so much ......What I found that really works well for me (been doing it for 30 years at least)...is take the freshly cleaned and washed fillets and freeze them quickly...plate, bag, whatever...just don't let them touch each other in the freezer.....then take them out of the freezer and dip each super frozen fillet in a bowl of cold water and let a "coating" build up on each fillet....you'll see the liquid water freeze almost instantly on the fillet!.....then dip it again!...as a second coat of ice forms sealing the fish from future freezer burn since it's encrusted in pure ice but not like a whole batch of fillets(sticking together) in a carton or freezer bag...do this for abour 4 dippings and each"individual' fillet will be "sealed and seperated from the others.......Then put the individually frozen fillets together in a freezer bag and use em as needed but whats so nice is they aren't all stuck together and no air can get at the fillets while in the freezer...works well for me!
Bill M.Mod always has good advice! Vacuum sealing should keep fish free from freezer burn and safe to eat for six months...Gettin air out of bag is no problem with a mid priced vacumm sealer . If you eat your catch often or buy food at best prices and freeze till using its a a good way to go.
Theres only one way tried and true for me. I place my fillets and feild dressed fish in a ziplock. Fill my sink with water and submerge until all air is gone. Close under water and freeze. Call me crazy but fish even a year old still taste as fresh as the day they were caught. This rarely happens as we eat the heck out of fish round here but occasionally a bag gets tucked in the back of the freezer. I keep an average of 200 gills in the freezer and pack them by meal by couple. I can pull packs for the fam, for guest, for giveaways, or for a party perfectly. 10 gills feeds me and the ole lady and the baby so thats how I packem. I have diff. bags with all big fish for 3 folks to come over and eat. We always have a few left over for lunch or to clean off the bone for a dip the next day. A vacume seeler is great. I kinda look at it as just another gadget to have in the cabinet though if your not eatin your game all that fast. We pack deer in just wax papper and it last for a year and we rotate our fish fast enough that theres no need in that extra couple hundred bucks of gadgetry. But just like any other power tool. THere always cool if you got em.
The past few years I have gone almost exclusively to vacuum sealing fish fillets and in bag sizes that custom fit and occassion. With a vacuum sealer you can store lots of fillets in a small space, put the 'right' number of fillets in a specific bag size and you can pull them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge in the morning and they will be thawed out enough for supper when you get home. Cool!
Vacuum sealing is the way to go because it is a quick, very affective process. Foodsaver vacuum sealers are great because you have control of the bag size but this is a more expensive way to go. I will not throw away my foodsaver, but Ziploc has resealable vacuum bags that work awsome. From one quart to one gallon you can buy a dozen bags for about $3-$4 and the hand pump is also very affordable ($6-$7). I have noticed them at every grocery store as I have been using these bags up like there is no tomorrow. They are very quick, easy to use and it doesn't hurt the wallet.
The best way to prevent freezer burn is to minimize the fish contact with air, vacuum sealers do that. Lay the fillets flat and butt them up to each other so there are no air pockets and vacuum away. You can "stack" them but I have had a hard time keeping the fillets in one piece because they don't thaw out as well and stick together . Blue Gill freeze well and will last up to a year in these bags if done right. I doubt you will let them stay there that long though............my mouth is watering just thinking about em...........gotta go, good luck!
I prefer a vacuum sealer to freeze my fillets, and I've not noticed any difference in flavor between frozen and fresh with bluegills and yellow perch. Oily fish like catfish are a different matter, as they tend to turn rancid after a period of time in the freezer, vacuumed sealed or not.
I'm from Pennsylvania, and years ago freezing fish fillets was a big thing here in my neck of the woods, but not anymore since those freezer bags and vacuum sealers became available.
Whether it's convenience or quality that drives the freezer bag and vacuum sealer market, I'm not certain, but I do know that I'm quite happy with my vacuum sealer. Not only for fish fillets, but everything else that can be vacuum sealed without squashing it.