Lox is a luxurious delicacy, traditionally made from the fleshy belly of raw salmon. It’s brined or salt-cured and usually enjoyed on top of cream cheese and bagels.
If you’re like me, you might’ve bought one too many lox that was on sale, and now you have lox that can last you for days. Or maybe it’s your first time buying lox, and you’re wondering how to best store it and extend its shelf-life.
Either way, you’re left thinking: ‘Can I freeze lox? How long does it last in the freezer?’
Luckily for you, I have all the answers to your questions.
In this article, I’ll go through everything you need to know about freezing lox. I’ll cover the how-tos on freezing and defrosting lox in your kitchen, as well as the tell-tale signs that lox has gone bad.
Read on, and you’ll be freezing lox in no time!
Can You Freeze Lox?
Lox is a delicacy loved by all. You can have it as an appetizer on some biscuits and cream cheese or for lunch with a bagel.
Maybe you’ve bought a big portion of lox or have some leftover from dinner, and you’re wondering if you can freeze it. Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s safe to freeze lox?
You’ll be glad to know that, yes, you can freeze lox! However, how successful your frozen lox is will depend on how you do it and how quickly you do it. Proper and safe freezing of lox is essential to retain its quality, freshness, and flavor while retaining the shelf-life of lox.
How Long Does Lox Last?
The shelf-life of lox depends on its storage condition and whether it’s been opened or not.
Lox that is unopened and properly stored can last up to 1 week in the fridge or until its best-by date. It can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
Opened lox can last up to 3 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. Once opened and exposed to air, it will start deteriorating and become contaminated with bacteria. You should eat it as soon as possible.
Technically, frozen food can last indefinitely, and your lox may still last beyond the suggested times. However, the taste and texture of lox may start deteriorating.
A general rule of thumb that I like to follow is consuming or freezing lox as soon as it’s opened.
|Condition||In the Fridge||In the Freezer|
|Unopened Lox||Up to 1 week||Up to 6 months|
|Opened Lox||Up to 3 days||Up to 3 months|
Is it Safe to Freeze Lox?
Freezing lox is safe as long as you do it as soon as you can and do it properly. Proper defrosting of lox is also necessary to keep it safe.
You should preferably freeze lox as soon as possible and with minimal exposure to air. You should also freeze lox before the “best-by” date, although it could still be safe after the date.
Properly storing and freezing lox is also essential to make it safe and edible to eat. Ensure your lox is sealed and wrapped tightly to prevent freezer burn and air bubbles.
If not sealed properly, the lox’s quality and flavor will deteriorate, becoming mushy and stale. It will also leave your freezer with an unpleasant smell for months.
Once frozen lox is defrosted and thawed, you should consume it straight away.
How to Freeze Lox
Freezing lox is simple. If your lox is already unopened and pre-packaged, it should be safe to freeze it immediately as it is. Make sure there are no holes in the packaging and that it’s tightly sealed.
If your lox is opened or fresh, there are two ways to freeze it. The method depends whether you’re freezing whole or slice lox.
How to Freeze Whole Lox
Freezing whole lox is simple and great for future meal preps that call for an entire lox. Just carefully place your whole lox into a freezer-safe bag or container.
When storing in a container, ensure the container is clean and dry. Seal the container tight and ensure no air or moisture can enter. Moisture can cause freezer burn.
If you’re storing the whole lox in a bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible. Try to use a good quality, thick freezer-safe bag and seal it tightly to prevent any smelly accidents.
My favorite method is to use a vacuum sealer. It ensures that as much air is removed from the bag. It also prevents bacteria or air from entering your bag of lox.
How to Freeze Slices of Lox
Alternatively, you can also freeze lox in slices. It will make defrosting and meal prepping much faster and easier. Here’s how you freeze lox in slices:
Thinly slice the lox. Carefully cut it into slices according to your preferred thickness.
Lay your slices on a baking tray and freeze. Assemble your lox slices on a baking tray, making sure they do not touch each other. Cover the tray in plastic wrap to prevent any air from entering.
Place the tray in the freezer. Carefully place your tray in the freezer and let your lox freeze for as long as it needs.
Store frozen lox slices in a bag. Once frozen, place the lox slices into a freezer-safe bag or container. Take as much air as you can out of the bag or use a vacuum sealer. Seal the bag and container tightly.
Label and store it in the freezer. To save yourself some confusion, label the bag with the date and the contents for future reference. Store it in the freezer, and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can wrap each slice of lox with plastic saran wrap. Afterward, carefully place them in a freezer-safe bag. Then they’re good to go and ready to freeze.
How to Defrost Lox
When it comes to lox, or seafood in general, properly defrosting it is critical to retain its quality and ensure it’s safe to eat. Lucky for you, you have a few options when it comes to defrosting lox; it just depends on how much time you have.
The easiest way to defrost lox is to simply remove it from your freezer and leave it in your fridge overnight. You can also place a plate lined with paper towels underneath the bag of lox to collect any water from the condensation process. After 24 hours, it should be thoroughly defrosted and ready to cook.
If you’re in a hurry, you can place your lox in a bowl of cold water to defrost it. Submerge it in water and check your lox every 30 mins to see how it’s going. You can also change the water if it gets too cold.
Once your lox is defrosted, be sure to eat or cook it as soon as possible. The longer you keep it out, the more the quality and flavor will deteriorate.
Some people microwave their lox in short intervals or place it in warm water to quicken the defrosting process. However, it might run you the risk of accidentally cooking some parts of the lox or exposing it to more bacteria. I suggest that you avoid either of these options, except as a last resort.
Can You Refreeze Lox?
You might have some leftover defrosted lox that you don’t want to throw away, and you’re wondering, can I refreeze lox?
According to the USDA’s guidelines, it is safe to refreeze uncooked and cooked lox. But onlyin certain situations, as it is generally not advised to refreeze any kinds of food. Here are some conditions and things you should know about refreezing lox.
Lox is safe to refreeze if it has thawed fully in the refrigerator. If your raw lox has been sitting at room temperature or out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, it is generally not safe to refreeze.
I would generally avoid refreezing lox as the quality of the lox will degrade, and it may become mushy or even become drier.
Additionally, the more you take lox in and out of the freezer, exposed to different temperatures, the more susceptible to bacteria growth. This causes food poisoning if you’re not careful.
How To Tell if Lox Has Gone Bad
Unfortunately, not every freeze attempt is successful. With lox’s delicateness and all the freezing and defrosting you’ll be doing, you should definitely check for signs it has spoiled before cooking and consuming it.
The easiest telltale sign that lox has gone bad is by its smell. Do a quick sniff test, or sometimes you won’t even need to, as you can smell it from miles away. Bad lox will give a gone-off, pungent or sour smell. If so, you should discard it immediately.
The next sign to look out for if your lox has gone bad is by looking at its color. If your lox looks dull, pale, or is no longer pink and fresh, it has most likely gone bad. It’s better to be safe and throw it away.
Lastly, if your lox is slimy or has a white film cast on it, it is likely spoiled. If it’s mushy and not firm, it’s another sign that it has gone bad. It’s best to throw it away; it is not worth risking getting food poisoning.