Shrimp is very tasty and is a good ingredient to add in your meal. It adds a distinct flavor that many describe as “ocean taste”. However, storing shrimp is another story altogether. It would be great if you have a local market that sells fresh shrimp every day, all the time, but that is not always the case. Hence, you buy a large pack of shrimp and freeze them so that you can use them at a later date. But can you refreeze shrimp after it has been thawed?
You can refreeze shrimp that has been thawed but, you can only refreeze shrimp that have been thawed slowly in the fridge, and you can only refreeze no more than a day or two later.
In this article, you will learn how to properly store shrimp after thawing them, as well as their shelf life. We will also discuss some helpful tips you can follow in preparing your shrimp for mealtimes and the consequences of not storing it properly.
Proper Thawing Technique For Shrimp
If you plan on getting a copious amount of shrimp from your local market then chances are, you are going to freeze some of them for later use. I suggest separating your shrimp into one serving batches and freezing them for an easier and faster thawing experience.
But if you are a typical person (like me), you probably have chucked those bad boys in one container and threw it in the freezer. If that is the case, then make sure that you thaw your shrimp the right way so that you can refreeze them.
Firstly, never, I mean never thaw your shrimp by submerging them in water. I cannot begin to enumerate how many unwritten health codes you are breaking here. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I regretted trying it.
Thaw your shrimp overnight inside your fridge for better and healthier results. You won’t destroy the flavor profile of the shrimp and will be able to refreeze your shrimp later. This is the only method that will ensure that your shrimp retain some of its texture and flavor if you plan on refreezing them later.
The fridge is the safest place for your shrimp to thaw without attracting bacteria. This actually applies to all frozen meat. As soon as your seafood is thawed, you need to cook it within a 24-hour timeframe. Leaving fresh meats and seafood thawed for more than that time will activate the decaying process.
Keep in mind that temperatures between 40 °F to 140 °F will allow bacteria to grow, which causes spoilage and decay. This is the reason why it is best to thaw your seafood or any frozen meat overnight in the fridge. The temperature will be low enough that it won’t cause bacteria growth.
Proper Way Of Storing Thawed Shrimp In The Fridge
If you have bought a large bag of frozen shrimp, you’ll probably want to thaw some for dinner. There are a couple of tips that you can follow on how you can store thawed shrimp in the fridge.
If you’re short on space in your refrigerator, use an ice-water bath to thaw the shrimp quickly. Submerge the bag in cold water for about 30 minutes per pound until the shrimp is completely thawed. Then drain and pat dry before storing in your refrigerator. Never directly submerge your shrimp in water.
To get the best flavor out of your thawed shrimp, cook it immediately. But if you have thawed more than enough for one serving, make sure that you cook the thawed shrimp within 2 days. After that, the shrimp will start to spoil and should be discarded immediately.
Cooked shrimp can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. Store cooked shrimp in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag inside the crisper drawer of your refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.
Refrozen thawed shrimp can also be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air so that it is tightly sealed. Label the package with the date so that you can use it within three months for best taste.
Not Storing Thawed Shrimp Properly: What Are The Consequences?
The risk of not storing thawed shrimp properly is due to shrimp becoming quickly contaminated, and the risks are higher when it is not appropriately handled.
Storing thawed shrimp improperly can lead to bacterial contamination. The bacteria can be found on the surface of the shrimp or even inside its flesh. This contamination may cause foodborne illness, especially if you plan to eat the shrimp raw or undercooked.
Improper handling can also lead to shorter shelf life than expected. The reason for this is that some bacteria are present on the surface of the shrimp, which will start to grow once they have been introduced into a moist environment such as your refrigerator or freezer. It is best to pat dry your shrimp before storing it in containers and putting them in your freezer.
Another thing to consider is that when shrimp are frozen and thawed, it can become more difficult to cook evenly. This is because the shrimp will start to dry out as it thaws, making it more difficult to cook evenly on the outside and the inside.
In addition to that, improper storage of thawed shrimp can lose its flavor and affect its texture. This is because the shrimp will start to break down and release its juices as it thaws, which can make it taste fishy or mushy. This mushy texture can also happen if you directly submerge your shrimp in water to thaw them.
Shelf Life Of Shrimp: Better Safe Than Sorry!
The shelf life of shrimp depends on how it is stored. Shrimp are best kept in the refrigerator, where they will last for about two days. If you want to store shrimp in the freezer, you should do so immediately after purchasing them.
They can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months as long as they are appropriately sealed and frozen within 24 hours of being caught. The fresher the shrimp is before being frozen, the longer shelf life it would have. Which is why it is best to get those shrimp from seafood markets near docks or wharf.
The shelf life of shrimp also depends on whether it is cooked or uncooked. Uncooked shrimp has a shelf life of one day, while cooked shrimp has a shelf life of three days. If you leave raw shrimp in room temperature for more than one day, they will spoil and should be discarded immediately.
Helpful Tips that You Can Take Advantage Of
One helpful tip to refreeze thawed shrimp is to make sure that the container is airtight, as mentioned above. This will help keep the shrimp fresh and prevent it from drying. This means that you should only use containers that are made for the freezer instead of ones that are made for the refrigerator.
Another helpful tip is to make sure that you pat the shrimp dry before you put it in the container. This will help to keep it from drying out and prevent it from becoming rubbery. According to the USDA, using a paper towel to dry the shrimp is best. I also prefer using freezer bags rather than containers for my shrimp.
If you have the patience and the time, freeze your shrimp in one serving batches so that you can thaw one batch at a time and let the other batch chill inside your freezer. This will also help with contamination prevention and help you cut down on thaw time whenever you want to whip up some shrimp dishes.
You should also make sure that you remove any ice crystals that have formed on the shrimp. This can be done by running cold water over them for a few seconds. Don’t allow your shrimps to thaw when doing this. You are only removing the ice crystals that formed. Finally, make sure that you label the container with the date so that you can use it within three months.
If you happen to have thawed your shrimp by running it in water or thawing it at room temperature, the best way to prevent contamination would be to cook the thawed shrimp before storing them in the fridge.
By following these helpful tips, you can be sure that your shrimp will stay fresh and safe to eat.
You can refreeze shrimp that has been previously thawed only if you follow specific safety measures. These safety measures prevent the shrimp from becoming contaminated or spoiling quickly. It is important to remember that thawed shrimp has a shorter shelf life than fresh uncooked shrimp and should be eaten within a few days. If you want to keep the shrimp for longer, it is best to cook it and then freeze any leftovers for future use. By following these helpful tips, you can be sure that your shrimp will stay fresh and safe to eat.