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The directions in the packet says to remove the plastic packets first before defrosting. But the packet helps to manage the mess and stops fishy water running all over the place. I defrost them by submerging them in room temp. water.

Is there any danger in defrosting them in their original packet?

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If you defrost in water, by all means keep the plastic on. If it weren't wrapped, you'd put it in a baggie anyway and not dump it directly into the water.

The instructions to unwrap are for defrosting in the fridge and to allow the water to run off. Fish is often covered in a thin protective layer of ice, which you want to be able to drain instead of staying on for a long time.

For the relatively short time in a defrosting water bath, you will be fine. Just pat the fish dry before frying or you get a lot of spattering.


From a food-safety perspective you should be using cold water, btw, it works just as well and you can be sure your fish stays out of the danger zone.

  • Then where does the water runoff (from defrosting) go when it is in the original sealed (usually vaccum-packed) plastic package? – user3169 Nov 14 '16 at 7:31
  • @user3169 it pools in the baggie. Drain, rinse, pat dry. – Stephie Nov 14 '16 at 7:32
  • Basically I am wondering what the difference is between thawing in the fridge or in water (as you say). If it is OK in water, why not just leave it packaged in the fridge? – user3169 Nov 14 '16 at 7:41
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    @user3169 the main difference is the time the fish spends soaking in the excess liquid. Defrosting fillets in water is really quick, even if you use cold water, because the thermal capacity and conductivity of water is way higher than air. – Stephie Nov 14 '16 at 7:43

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