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Is smoked fish healthy?

The simple answer is yes. There are many health benefits of eating smoked fish, in particular oily fish which lends itself so well to smoking, like smoked salmon and mackerel.

Smoked fish are a good source of flavoursome protein, low in saturated fat and calories and high in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and essential minerals.

The one downside to smoked fish from a health perspective can be the amount of salt or sodium used in the curing process, so just check what levels are in the fish you are buying as this does vary.

Is smoked fish cooked or raw?

There are 2 main types of smoking when it comes to fish: cold smoking and hot smoking.

Cold Smoking

This type of smoking typically involves a lengthy dry cure with salt before being smoked at a low temperature. This preserves the fish and gives it a wonderful smoky flavour, without actually cooking it, so the texture of the finished product is raw-like.

Typical examples of this would include:

Hot Smoking

This involves wet curing the fish in brine (salted water) before smoking at a higher temperature. Fish prepared in this way is effectively lightly cooked and smoked and has the softer texture of cooked fish whilst keeping fir flakes.

Typical examples of this would include:

How long will smoked fish last?

Fish that has been cold-smoked has a relatively short shelf life, lasting one to two weeks in the refrigerator and roughly a month in the freezer. If the packing of smoked fish has been open then it should be consumed within 3 days.

Smoked fish can be frozen, and indeed often freezes well given the high oil content of most smoked fish. It must be frozen whilst still fresh and this allows you to keep it for much longer but as with fresh, once open you should eat it within 3 days.

Always check the packaging.

Which types of fish are best smoked?

Smoking is particularly effective with oily fish like salmon, mackerel and trout.

White fish also smokes well including haddock, pollack and cod.

Gently smoking other seafood can add a different dimension too for fish and shellfish including mussels and lobster.