Let's say you buy packaged fish from the supermarket, which was kept cool, but not frozen, by their commercial refrigerators.

Example: packaged tuna steak

The wisest thing to do would be to prepare and consume this at the earliest convenience, as it would be most fresh, but what if you wanted to keep it stored at home for later?

Is it okay to store packaged supermarket-fish in your freezer, especially after it was merely cooled by a normal store refrigeration system, and it had time in the car to gain some temperature?

Does it ruin the texture/flavour of the meat? Is it hygienic/sanitary/unhealthy to do this?

I'm looking to buy a bunch of fish (and shellfish) for the weekend, as I'll have no time/means of going to the supermarket the day of the meal.

Edit: I am aware of, and often practise, the method of buying frozen fish and storing it at home in the freezer, but in this example, I'm referring to fish that was not frozen in the supermarket.

  • 1
    If you're going to freeze it, just buy it frozen. In the US, unless it was squirming or you bought it off the dock, fish and shrimp were probably frozen immediately it was caught.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 23:09
  • @Joe Sounds like an answer. :)
    – Cindy
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 23:23
  • @Cindy : Only if it's considered as an XY Problem ... but I've been told other times that I shouldn't be doing that.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 23:26
  • @Cindy Well, I did (prior to Joe's comment) mention that I'm specifically not referring to frozen-bought fish. I'm wondering about what effect this process of refrigerated (not frozen) supermarket fish being frozen at home has on all sorts of things, incl. flavour, texture, freshness, health issues, etc. Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 23:28
  • 1
    just because it's not frozen at the store doesn't mean it's never been frozen. in the US, unless you live on a coast, virtually all seafood is flash frozen in-boat before it makes it to land, ex: shrimp is 100% frozen...
    – dandavis
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


This is a relatively common practice in my household, no harm has come from it to date, but do it at your own risk.

One may say "Why buy fresh fish and freeze it, just buy it frozen instead, it is probably a lot fresher", but at least where I live (Portugal) there are a few reasons to buy fresh fish and freeze at home. Just to list a few:

  • It is still generally relatively fresh even compared to pre-frozen packages, and you can get a lot more different varieties and species than you could from the pre-frozen selections alone.

  • You get to see the whole fish "live" and unspoiled and easily assess it's quality, size, freshness, and characteristics etc.

  • Unfrozen fish can also be cleaned up a prepared at the supermarket by the staff to your desire, which is unavailable for frozen items, and saves some trouble and mess at home, while being prepared by professional, or at least trained staff.

Flavor and texture should be well preserved, suitable even for more delicate preparations like grilling, as long as you don' take too long before freezing it, or store it for very long periods in the freezer.

Just make sure it is actually fresh fish, here local supermarkets specifically label store thawed fish for immediate consumption, and often verbally advise the customers at the moment of acquisition to not re-freeze.

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