Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish made from vinegared rice topped with seafood—typically raw fish—and a bit of wasabi. Because the raw ingredients decompose quickly at room temperature, sushi must be kept refrigerated at low temperatures before serving. So can you freeze sushi?
For example, if you’ve made too much sushi or have leftover sushi from your favorite Japanese restaurant, is freezing even a good idea? Most people think that freezing sushi degrades the quality of the fish because ice crystals form in the fish.
You might be surprised, but the “raw” seafood used for sushi has been frozen for several days before being sliced for the dish! In fact, US regulations dictate that tuna must be flash frozen seconds after harvest to preserve freshness.
This means it is perfectly safe to freeze raw seafood to be used as ingredients in sushi. What about the rice and the other ingredients, do they keep well in the freezer?
The way you prepare the sushi rice for freezing affects the overall texture of the grain. Usually, packaging cold rice for freezing produces dry, crumbly, or hard results. When making sushi from scratch, it’s best to 1) package the vinegared rice separately from the raw seafood, and 2) package the still-steaming rice in an airtight container.
What about leftover sushi? Can you freeze them? Technically, any type of food can be frozen. However, sushi does not freeze well. The rice and nori wrapper could become soggy, broken into pieces, or just plain unappetizing if thawed immediately. However, thawed sushi is safe to eat. So the choice really is yours.
Sushi can only be stored in the refrigerator for 10 to 24 hours. However, sushi can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Of course, it’s best to consume sushi as soon as possible for optimal flavor and texture. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze sushi:
Read Also: Can you freeze parmesan cheese?
How do you freeze sushi?
Freezing Homemade Sushi
If you’re making sushi at home and expect a lot of leftovers, it’s best to freeze the ingredients separately. Simply assemble the ingredients after defrosting. To do this, prepare the ingredients as usual, such as washing the block of fish or raw seafood, cooking and seasoning the sushi rice, etc.
Once that is done, prepare several airtight containers. Place the fish in the first container. Do not slice the fish until you are ready to prepare the sushi for serving. This will prevent frost from ruining the texture of the fish. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write down the storage date, and then stick in the freezer.
Place the vinegared rice in the second container. The rice should be steaming hot, not chilled, to preserve the grain’s sticky, moist texture. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date, and then tape it in the freezer.
Finally, pack the nori wrapper in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out the air before sealing, then write down the storage date. Stick the plastic bag in the freezer and you’re done.
Freezing leftover sushi
Since the leftover sushi is fully assembled, expect the texture or flavor to change after the dish is thawed. Simply place the leftovers in an airtight container and seal with the lid. Write down the storage date, then stick them in the freezer.
How do you thaw frozen sushi?
To thaw the frozen sushi, all you have to do is move the container from the freezer to the fridge. Allow the sushi to thaw for several hours to overnight. Never thaw the sushi by leaving it at room temperature. This increases the risk of contamination and bacterial growth! Once the sushi is thawed, it’s ready to eat. Because the sushi is served chilled, it doesn’t need to be reheated at all.
Sushi is one of the healthiest and most popular Japanese dishes, and for good reason. The savory flavor of the vinegared rice goes so well with the fresh seafood, nori and wasabi. Freezing sushi might be tricky and requires trial and error, but as long as the dish isn’t wasted, it’s worth all the effort! Now that you know how to freeze sushi, you no longer need to worry about what to do with your leftovers.