How Long Does Sushi Grade Fish Last

How Long Does Sushi Grade Fish Last? Answered

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Shari Mason

I recognize the significance of utilizing fresh and top-tier ingredients, particularly in the case of sushi-grade fish.

But how long does sushi-grade fish last?

We’ll explore the factors that affect its freshness, proper storage techniques, and the telltale signs of when it’s time to bid farewell to your prized catch. 

What Is The Shelf Life Of Sushi-Grade Fish?

Slicing Salmon

The shelf life of sushi-grade fish [1] is relatively short, typically lasting between 1 to 2 days. 

To maintain its impeccable quality, handling and storing the fish precisely from the moment it is sourced or purchased is essential. 

“I love Chinese food, like steamed dim sum, and I can have noodles morning, noon, and night, hot or cold. I like food that’s very simple on the digestive system – I tend to keep it light. I love Japanese food too – sushi, sashimi and miso soup.”

– Shilpa Shetty, Indian Actress

Keeping it at the coldest part of the refrigerator, ideally below 40°F (4°C), and ensuring proper wrapping to avoid contact with other foods are critical to preserving its delicate flavors and textures. 

While freezing is an option, it’s best to consume sushi-grade fish at its freshest to savor its exquisite taste truly. But what type of salmon is used for sushi?

Tips On How To Extend Its Shelf Life

  1. Proper Refrigeration: Store sushi-grade fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator, ideally at temperatures below 40°F (4°C). This will help slow down bacterial growth and preserve the fish’s freshness.
  2. Swift Consumption: Aim to use sushi-grade fish within 1 to 2 days of purchase or catch. The clock starts ticking as soon as it enters your kitchen, so plan your dishes accordingly.
  3. Airtight Wrapping: Wrap the fish tightly in plastic or wax paper to prevent exposure to air and other odors in the refrigerator. This will maintain the fish’s pristine flavor and prevent contamination.
  4. Avoid Cross-Contamination: Keep sushi-grade fish separate from other foods in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination. Use designated containers or trays to ensure their isolation.
  5. Freezing Techniques: If you need to extend the shelf life further, freezing is an option. Place the fish in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag, removing excess air. Label and date the package to keep track of its storage time.
  6. Quality Assessment: Regularly inspect the fish for signs of spoilage, such as a strong, unpleasant odor, sliminess, or discoloration. Trust your senses, and if in doubt, err on the side of caution and discard any questionable fish.

Read: How Long Do Fish Cakes Last In The Fridge?

Can Sushi-Grade Fish Be Frozen?

Sliced Salmon Fish

Yes, sushi-grade fish can be frozen, but it’s essential to follow proper techniques to maintain its quality.

Freezing [2] sushi-grade fish is a practical way to extend its shelf life beyond 1 to 2 days of refrigeration. 

Ensure the fish is at its freshest before freezing, as freezing won’t improve the quality. Place the fish in an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. 

When stored at 0°F (-18°C) or below, frozen sushi-grade fish can last for 2 to 3 months. However, consuming the fish within the first month of freezing is recommended for the best flavor and texture. 

“In the delicate dance of flavors, sushi-grade fish holds the spotlight, but its freshness is a fleeting symphony that must be savored within 1 to 2 days for an unforgettable culinary experience.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Signs That Sushi-Grade Fish Has Gone Bad

  1. Strong, Unpleasant Odor: Spoiled fish emits a pungent, fishy, or ammonia-like smell. If the aroma is overpowering or offensive, the fish has deteriorated.
  2. Slimy Texture: Fresh sushi-grade fish should have a firm and smooth texture. If the flesh feels slimy or sticky, it’s a vital sign of spoilage.
  3. Discoloration: Look for any discoloration or darkening of the fish’s flesh. Unusual colors, such as brown or greenish hues, suggest the fish is no longer suitable for consumption.
  4. Mushy or Soft Flesh: Healthy sushi-grade fish should have a firm and resilient texture. The fish is only fresh if the flesh feels mushy or soft enough.
  5. Cloudy Eyes: Clear and bright eyes signify freshness when inspecting whole fish. Cloudy or sunken eyes are an indication of decay.
  6. Off-Taste: Trust your taste buds. If the fish tastes off, sour, or bitter, it’s best to avoid consuming it.
  7. Excessive Gills and Belly: If the gills of whole fish are excessively red or the belly appears bloated, it could be a sign of deterioration.
  8. Bloating: For filleted fish, check for any bloating or swelling of the flesh, which can indicate spoilage.
  9. Foul Smelling Cooking Liquid: If you are cooking the fish and notice a foul smell emanating from the liquid, it may be an indication that the fish was not fresh, to begin with.


u003cstrongu003eHow long can sushi-grade fish be left out? u003c/strongu003e

Sushi-grade fish should not be left at room temperature for 2 hours. u003cbru003eu003cbru003ePromptly refrigerate or consume the fish within this time frame to maintain its freshness and prevent the risk of bacterial growth. But u003ca href=u0022 you also use frozen salmon for sushiu003c/au003e?

u003cstrongu003eCan you refreeze sushi-grade salmon?u003c/strongu003e

As a general rule, it is not recommended to refreeze sushi-grade salmon once it has been thawed. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eRefreezing can compromise the quality and texture of the fish, leading to potential safety concerns. But u003ca href=u0022 do you cook salmon in a toaster ovenu003c/au003e?

Final Thoughts

The shelf life of sushi-grade fish is critical in delivering a delightful culinary experience.

To savor its delicate flavors and textures, it is essential to store the fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator, adequately wrapped to avoid exposure to air and odors. 

While freezing can extend its shelf life, consuming sushi-grade fish at its freshest is ideal.

Remember, the key to exceptional sushi lies not only in skillful preparation but also in respecting the limited lifespan of this exquisite ingredient.


Shari Mason

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