Can You Freeze Fresh Sushi?

Fresh sushi is the best kind of sushi to eat, but there are times when it needs to be stored to be consumed at another time. To that end, is freezing a good option?

Can fresh sushi be frozen? Yes, but once that is done, it can no longer be considered fresh. It can still be consumed later on but how you do it will affect your experience in eating the dish. As such, you will want to make sure that you either freeze the ingredients separately or you settle with disfigured sushi.

Knowing how you can freeze sushi can lead to all kinds of possibilities, whereas doing it recklessly might just ruin sushi for you forever.

How to Safely Freeze Sushi

While sushi can be frozen, it should be done safely and with the right methods. Otherwise, you will be left with a soggy mess that can’t even be called edible. What’s more, you might also jeopardize your health, if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, the process of freezing sushi is not really that complicated. Just take a look at the table below to see what you can do with what part of the sushi or its current condition:

ItemFreezing Process
RiceBreak rice apart with a fork. Wrap with clear film in a container or place in a zip lock bag while still steaming. Place in the freezer at -5ºC to -10ºC.
FishClean and prep beforehand, and place in a clean, plastic container. Freeze at -5 ºC to -10ºC.
VegetablesIt can be prepped beforehand and placed in the fridge while wrapped in clear film.
LeftoversPlace in a ceramic or glass container, neatly spaced apart from each other. Wrap with clear film and place in the freezer at -5 ºC to -10ºC.

As you can see, the steps in freezing sushi are quite straightforward. The whole thing hinges on a few simple things, namely:

·         The preparations must be done right.

·         The items must be placed in the right containers.

·         The temperature must be correct.

·         There must be space between the leftovers.

·         The thawing process must follow the proper procedure.

It’s worth repeating that frozen sushi can still be eaten if you really want that fix but can’t be bothered getting it fresh. However, depending on how you handle it, you could end up with nothing more than mush.

To start with, the best way to freeze sushi is when you haven’t put them together yet. If you are planning on making them at a later date, you should keep them separate. Not only will this preserve the integrity of the items, but you will also have fewer issues with freezer burn.

As for the leftover sushi that you want to save for another time, the general rule is that you should not freeze them at all. However, if you simply must for one reason or another, you need to make sure that they don’t stick together and that you thaw them way ahead of time in the refrigerator.

Placing enough space between the individual rolls or blocks will help them keep their forms. The dried seaweed wraps also won’t tear off. When done slowly in low temperatures, your sushi will also be less soggy. However, you can’t really prevent some mushiness from setting in.

How Long Can Sushi Be Frozen?

Ideally, you should not be freezing sushi for longer than a week because as time goes on, the molecules inside the items will start to degrade. However, if all you are interested in is still being able to swallow it safely by the end, then you can keep the sushi frozen for up to 3 months.

With that said, the longer the sushi is in the freezer, the more flavor and moisture it is going to lose. It’s also worth pointing out that you cannot re-freeze sushi once it has been thawed. The moment you take it out and it has been defrosted, you will need to either finish it or throw it away.

The reason for this is that if you think the ingredients are soggy and gross after the first freezing, you won’t even recognize them after the second. All you will be left with is a pile of mush that you can distinguish where the rice starts and the wrapper ends.

Defrosting the sushi in anything other than the chiller is highly discouraged, as well. You must never rush the process because you could end up with an inedible plate of lumpy grey stuff. You really don’t want to see that and the smell can be enough to make you faint.

How to Thaw Sushi

As already discussed above, thawing sushi is a slow process. It must never be done quickly regardless of what method you may think up. This is to make sure that not only will you be able to preserve some semblance of structure, but it will also ensure that you will be in the condition to eat it.

When you leave the frozen sushi in your chiller or fridge overnight, there is a chance that in the morning, you will end up with food that is somewhat close to resembling what you froze. It will still have some of that color and even the flavor can be saved, somewhat.

You can’t say the same thing about the texture, though. When eating fresh sushi, the dried seaweed wrapper will retain some of its crispiness. This is one of the things that actually give sushi its excellent mouthfeel.

When you bite into sushi that’s been frozen and thawed correctly, it will be like eating wager that has been dipped in water. You are losing some of that essential mouthfeel, but you can at least say that what you are eating is still sushi.

You will never catch real sushi chefs doing something like this, though. However, if you are just doing it at home and are planning to serve it to guests who aren’t huge foodies, it will likely be fine.

Related Questions

Is Sushi Frozen by Law?

The fish is frozen by law but not every single part of the sushi. In order for fish to be considered sushi-grade by the government, it needs to be frozen upon delivery to the restaurant. This is due to the fact that the fish is often consumed raw, thus risking parasitic infections.

Does Freezing Fish Kill Parasites?

Freezing fish not only prevents the spread of bacteria but it can also reduce the chances of contracting a parasitic infection by killing parasites. However, this does not work with every single species of parasite and there are still those that can survive even temperatures at -4ºC.

Should You Freeze Sushi?

The question of whether or not you should freeze sushi is something that should ideally never come up because sushi is always best when served fresh. There is absolutely no substitute for the quality of the product if it was just made right on the spot for you to eat.

Now, if you absolutely have to save it for another time, your next best option is to simply store it in the chiller properly in the right container. This is infinitely better than freezing the sushi, especially if it has already been assembled.

Chilling the sushi will help maintain its structure and integrity for as long as 24 hours. Technically you can keep it in the fridge for longer, but you would be risking the sanitary conditions of the food. So if you are going to keep leftovers at all, make sure to do it in the chiller. You would be doing yourself a huge favor by doing so.

If there is a reason that you simply have to freeze sushi, do it by separating the items. You will at least end up with workable ingredients to put together when the time comes.

How Long Can You Refrigerate Sushi?

As already mentioned, you really should refrigerate sushi rather than freeze it if possible. However, doing so will actually cut down the length of time with which you can preserve the dish. Ideally, you should chill sushi for no longer than a day. It should also be done at 4ºC, which is the temperature that slows down bacteria the most without compromising the texture of the sushi.

On that note, you technically can keep your sushi in the fridge for upwards of five days to a week, depending on how often you open the refrigerator. The length of time with which you can chill the food will also depend on the quality of your storage.

Up until the point where you eat the sushi, the container that you placed it in must not be disturbed. The clear film that you wrapped over it should be kept tight to seal the sushi in properly, as well. You are highly discouraged from opening it to take a few pieces at a time like you would with a cookie or something.

Doing that will reduce the shelf-life of the sushi. As a matter of fact, the moment to breach the clear film barrier, you should either eat the whole thing already or throw it away. 

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