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How Long Cured Salmon Will Last In The Fridge Or Freezer

Smoked salmon canapes with dill
Smoked salmon canapes with dill - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Cured salmon is the perfect addition to your brunch spread. While you can pick it up at your local grocery store or fish market, it can also be prepared at home. Regardless of whether you choose to make or buy cured salmon, be careful about how long you store it.

Various types of cured salmon are made using different processes and curing times, which, along with where and how you store it, impact shelf life. Safe refrigeration time is anywhere from one day to three weeks. You can also freeze cured salmon if you don't think you'll use it in time.

The curing process primarily involves salt, though other ingredients such as sugar and other seasonings can be added. Cured salmon will not last as long in the refrigerator as in the freezer. An unopened package might last up to three weeks in the fridge, while an opened package should be used within a week. Homemade cured salmon might only be good for a day, but the longer you cure it, the longer it will last. For long-term storage, the freezer is your best bet. There, the salmon will last between two and six months.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Cured Salmon's Shelf Life Varies By Process

Cured salmon fillets on wood
Cured salmon fillets on wood - Vladimir Mironov/Getty Images

If you're preparing homemade gravlax and curing the fish yourself, shelf life varies based on the length of curing time. Gravlax is not smoked. It is cured with salt, sugar, and usually, dill — and some kind of liquor. The curing process takes only a few days or less, and the fish is often weighed down with a heavy object to flatten it. A cure of 24 hours yields salmon that only lasts about a day and a half in the fridge. If it's cured up to 48 hours, it should last up to three days, and a longer cure of 72 hours results in a shelf life of five days. However, unopened, store-bought gravlax is safe for up to two weeks.

Lox is also a type of cured salmon that isn't smoked. It differs from gravlax in that it's not cured with sugar. The curing process only involves salt and takes about three months. You should use it within a week. Also, Lox uses a specific part of the fish — salmon belly.

Store-bought, unopened cured salmon can last up to six months in the freezer, while the homemade version is at its best for about two to three months. Salmon should be stored in a well-sealed, airtight container.

How Does Smoked Salmon Differ?

Gravlax salmon in a dish
Gravlax salmon in a dish - Amelia Martin/Shutterstock

Unlike other types of cured salmon, smoked salmon undergoes an additional treatment process. It is cured in salt and then smoked. Smoked salmon also lasts about a week in the refrigerator once it's opened (up to three weeks if the package is unopened), but that smoking process creates an extra step that gives it a much different flavor than the others. The salmon is cured first to remove moisture, and seasonings can be used if desired. Then, it's rinsed to remove any remaining salt. Curing is important because it helps the salmon develop a coating that allows the smoke to infuse better. The salmon is then placed into a kiln, where wood chips infuse flavor. Oak, maple, and hickory are common wood types for this process.

Smoked salmon can either be hot or cold-smoked. Cold-smoked salmon is smoked at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 15 hours. Hot-smoked salmon is smoked at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three hours. Hot-smoked salmon has a stronger, smokier flavor and appears more like baked salmon compared to the cold-smoked version. The smoking process doesn't impact freezing. Frozen smoked salmon will last up to six months if it remains unopened and in an airtight container.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.