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Can You Freeze Lox? – Is It Safe?

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Lox is salmon that has been cured in a salt and sugar rub or brine, and authentic lox is made from the belly portion of salmon. The belly portion is the richest, fattiest, and the most succulent portion of the salmon. Lox is very similar to smoked salmon and is a very sought after delicacy.

Eating lox fresh is always best, but can you freeze it? It is possible to freeze lox, but you will have to follow a few steps and precautionary measures to ensure that the lox stays in good condition to be eaten at a later stage and that it does not spoil.

Freezing Lox

You can most certainly freeze lox, and the lox can remain frozen for up to 6 months. After being in the freezer for more than 6 months, there is a chance that the lox will lose its flavor and texture, making it quite unenjoyable.

Freezing lox is pretty simple is you follow a few steps. If you have an unopened packet of lox, you are able to place it in the freezer and it should remain protected inside its original packaging, fully sealed.

However, if you have opened the packet of lox, you will need a freezer-safe container or a freezer-safe bag. 

If you decide to use a freezer bag, you should place the lox carefully inside. Once you have done this, try and remove all the air from inside the bag, and seal it shut tight to cut off any excess air coming in.

You can then place the freezer bag with the lox in the freezer. Using a freezer bag is a great option as it can be laid flat in the freezer, or placed upright to save some space.

For storing the lox in a freezer-safe container, you simply need to place the lox inside the container and place the lid on tight. Try and make sure there is no excess moisture in the container as this will cause ice crystals to form on the lox which will definitely ruin the taste and texture when thawed.

The best option to freeze lox is to use a vacuum sealer. This way you can ensure there is no excess air in the packaging and the lox will be completely protected from outside elements in the freezer.

When freezing lox, it might be a good idea to separate it into smaller, thinner slices. This allows the thawing process to be easier, as you will not have to wait for the whole fish to defrost, which could take much longer.

These smaller slices can be wrapped in two layers of plastic and then wrapped in tin foil, and then placed inside a freezer bag together and remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag.

To avoid using plastic to wrap the slices up individually, you could flash freeze the slices. To do this, you can place them spread out on a baking dish and place them in the freezer until frozen.

Remove the baking dish from the freezer and place all of the slices into a freezer bag, remove excess air, and place it in the freezer.

Freezing Lox Twice

If you have frozen some lox, thawed it out, enjoyed some and have a bit leftover, you might be tempted to refreeze it.

It is never a good idea to freeze lox twice, and the same generally applies to all other food as well. The lox was probably frozen in the delivery process, you then might freeze it at home, but you should not freeze it again.

The more you freeze and thaw out lox, or any other foods, the higher the risk of food poisoning. Bacteria can grow rapidly on food which has been frozen and thawed multiple times, so it is best to freeze it once and consume it all when thawed or get rid of any leftovers.

Repeat freezing will also degrade the meat. There are small water molecules inside the lox that turn into small little daggers, which end up cutting the fibrous muscle strands in the fish. Repeating this over again will render the lox in a poor state.

How Long Does Lox Last?

Many people tend to more cautious when it comes to storing fish and eating it within its best before date, and the same applies to brined or salted fish like lox.

There are three different scenarios to consider when working out how long lox will last.

Unopened – If you purchase a pack of lox slices and leave it unopened, it can remain in the fridge for up to 2 months, as long as it is tightly packed and not torn or opened in any areas.

Opened – If you have a pack of opened lox, it needs to be consumed within 3 days of the opening of the package. This also depends on the fridge you are storing the lox in, and it is much safer to store the lox in a cold fridge. However, you should not consume lox if it has been in the fridge for longer than 3 days.

Frozen – When freezing lox, it can remain in the freezer for up to 6 months. This is for both unopened lox and lox that has been placed inside a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Beyond 6 months, the flavor and texture of the lox will degenerate, and the best time frame to consume the lox in is within the first 3 months.

When freezing the lox, it is a good idea to label the packages with the date it has been frozen. This is even more important when you are freezing several smaller portions. This way, you will know when you should eat the lox by, and it will save you quite a bit of waste by not eating the lox that has been in the freezer for an undetermined amount of time.

Thawing Lox

When it comes time to eat your frozen lox, you will obviously need to thaw it safely. As the lox is quite delicate, you cannot just throw it into the microwave on defrost. This will ultimately ruin the lox and it will likely be inedible.

For a quick way to thaw the lox without ruining it too much, you can leave the frozen lox in warm water at room temperature. This does run the risk of ruining the fish if the water is too hot, and it does also open the door to different bacteria and germs multiplying, which could lead to food poisoning.

The safest way to defrost lox, and to keep its texture and taste, is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight. This is the most natural way to defrost the lox without the risk of excess bacteria or germs. The best temperature to thaw lox at is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

How To Tell If Lox Has Spoiled

If you are freezing and thawing the lox, you should know the signs to look out for in case the lox has spoiled.

The sure sign to look for is if the lox has a bad smell or a dull color. If the color or smell of the lox is off or not normal, you should just be safe and discard it. It is not worth the risk of food poisoning.

Related Questions

Is lox good for you?

Just like fresh or smoked salmon, lox is a good source of protein, vitamin B, vitamin D, selenium and magnesium.

Salmon also contains a high amount of DHA and EPA, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients which are linked to a lower risk of some heart diseases, macular degeneration and even Alzheimer’s. You need to control your portion of lox as it does contain salt, which needs to be regulated throughout the day.

Can you eat lox from the packet?

It is safe to eat lox from the package, as it has been cured in a rub or in brine, which makes it much safer to eat than raw meat. A popular way to eat lox is on a bagel with cream cheese, as a topping on sushi or as an appetizer on its own.

It is important to remember to store and handle lox correctly, as it is a source of food-borne illnesses. Lox is not considered sushi as it has been brined or cured with a salt and sugar rub.

Freezing Lox

Lox is a popular delicacy in many countries, and tastes great on its own or paired with cream cheese on a bagel. If you have too much lox in your fridge or have bought a few packets on special from the grocery store, it is safe to freeze the lox.

Remember that frozen lox should be eaten within 6 months, and it needs to be thawed safely overnight in the refrigerator. This is the best way to ensure the lox tastes as fresh as possible, and that the texture of the lox is not ruined by the freezing and thawing process.

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