How long does frozen seafood last? This is a very common question. Two years is the most common shelf life you will see on frozen seafood packaging. For the most part, if the seafood has been flash frozen and vacuum sealed, then two years is very manageable. However, if you see defects in the packaging you will begin to notice the product may become discolored and freezer burnt.
Personally, I recommend a one year shelf-life to our customers. With a high quality, flash frozen, and properly sealed product, you will not have issues after one year.
Product that is flash frozen is our go to when sourcing Alaskan Seafood. After 17 years in the industry I have come to find that the quality of flash frozen product is hard to match. The important thing here is to ensure proper handling of the seafood before it goes into the freezer. This is where our sourcing comes into play. Our knowledge of the fishermen we source from and the seafood factories we work with allows us to work with those who we know practice proper handling techniques. If the seafood is not handled well on the boats or kept at proper temperatures, then the seafood will arrive to the seafood plants in poor quality. From here flash freezing will not fix those problems, so it is very important to ensure quality is kept throughout the entire process.
Many people talk about fresh seafood and how it is the only type of seafood they want to eat. If you are at the coast and able to eat your seafood the night it has been caught, then you are absolutely correct – fresh is good! But what most people don’t know is that the “fresh” seafood they buy at local grocery stores is not so fresh. When processing fresh seafood in Alaska the timeline looks like this:
Day 1: Seafood harvested
Day 2: Seafood arrives at processing facility
Day 3: Seafood ships out of Alaska
Day 4: Seafood arrives in lower 48 distribution center
Day 5-6: Seafood begins to arrive at local grocery stores
Day 6-8: Seafood is displayed as fresh caught in local grocery stores
As you can see, you would be lucky to purchase “fresh” seafood five days after it has been out of the water. With each passing day, the seafood is breaking down more and more. If you see salmon at the fresh section of your grocery store take a look at it and see if you notice gaps in the flesh of the fillet. This is called gaping and occurs once the salmon loses structure and begins to open up and break down.
We’ve included a Q&A video on this topic below.