Freezer burn may leave your shrimp discolored, dehydrated, and sometimes tasteless. However, that’s not a reason enough for you to discard the freezer-burned shrimp as it’s still safe to eat. Although it may not have its original flavor, you can add herbs and spices of your choice to improve the flavor.
Loss of flavor is simply caused by exposure to dry air in the freezer which leads to evaporation of the moisture that contains the flavor living the shrimp dehydrated and tasteless.
Is it safe to eat freezer-burned shrimp?
It is safe to eat freezer-burned shrimp without any fear of food poisoning. Simply incorporate it in a dish preferably stew to re-hydrate and make it palatable or use herbs and spices to mask the freezer burn taste.
If the shrimps are entirely discolored or have a strong ammonia smell, it is best to discard them. In addition, if the shrimp has black spots, it is a sign that it is gone bad and may not be safe to eat.
How to tell if shrimp is freezer burn
If your shrimp has white spots or any unusual white stuff on the edges while in the freezer, it’s probably a sign that it is freezer burned. Freezer burns may be a result of fluctuating temperatures, improper sealing, or over-freezing.
Here’s how to tell your shrimp is freezer-burned:
- White spots on your shrimp even when raw
- Tough and dry texture
- Unpleasant odor
- Chewy texture due to dehydration
- Loss of flavor
Shrimp will easily turn white especially when it is still raw. Do not throw it away as there are ways you can use it in various dishes safely.
What can you do with freezer-burned shrimp?
Due to loss of flavor and dehydration, you want to use recipes that will re-hydrate your freezer burnt shrimp and improve its flavor. Marinate and put it in the fridge overnight to soak in the flavors then bake.
Alternatively, use your shrimp in other dishes such as the following:
A combination of seafood with assorted vegetables and stock or water simmered together over low medium heat.
A simple dish made by tossing already boiled pasta and stir-fried shrimp in a creamy sauce.
A dish that originated in India whereby, you cook shrimp in aromatics, spices, and coconut cream.
How Do You Prevent Freezer Burn
Proper handling of shrimp from the store throughout the storage to consumption plays a major role in keeping freezer burns off your shrimp.
Here’s how to prevent freezer burn in shrimp:
- Sort your shrimp once you get home and store them immediately either in the fridge or freezer since bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.
- Seal the shrimp tightly to keep off the air. If they are already in packaging, add another seal just in case of any invisible tears.
- Label the packaging before putting it in the freezer to avoid over-freezing.
- Store shrimp at the back of the refrigerator where it is coldest to protect them from temperature fluctuation whenever the door is opened.
- Use freshly frozen shrimp in 3-6 months’ time when they are still at their best quality.
- Use store-bought shrimp before the ‘sell-by date’ indicated on the packaging.
- Keep your shrimp frozen at 0°F for the best quality.
How to tell if shrimp have gone bad
You can easily tell if your shrimp is bad by simply looking at it, the smell and the texture. However , you could miss some of these signs and therefore checking the sell by date on the packaging is of importance too.
Here are the signs to indicate that your shrimp has gone bad:
- It will emit an ammonia smell. Normally, shrimp will have a salty smell or no smell at all. If you notice a strong ammonia smell then its no doubt your shrimp is spoiled.
- It will feel mushy and slimy when you touch it. Shrimp is supposed to be firm and wet, if your shrimp is otherwise then it is time to discard it.
- Black spots on the shell. The shells are supposed to be clear, black spots are an indication that the shrimp has started to go bad from the inside.
- Loosely attached or broken shell.
- Pink shrimp meat. Raw shrimp meat is usually white, if it appears pink throw it as it is an indication of deterioration.
Food spoilage mostly occurs as a result of poor storage habits. Therefore, to minimize food wastage and avoid food-borne illnesses,
store your shrimp under low temperatures preferably in the fridge or freezer until you ready to use it.
How to purchase fresh shrimp
The quality of your shrimp in terms of flavor, texture, and color depends on its freshness whether you plan to cook it immediately or store it for future use. Also, shrimp being a highly perishable food you don’t want to go for one that has been lying on the shelf for weeks.
Here’s what to look for when purchasing fresh shrimp;
- One that feels firm and wet. Meaning that the shells are also firmly attached and not falling off one side.
- It should have white meat. If you like your shrimp with the head off, the meat exposed should be white and not pink.
- Go for the one with projecting and shiny eyes. Shrunken and dry eyes are a sign that the shrimp has been on the shelf for a couple of days.
- The shells should be clear and smooth free from any spots.
- It should have a slightly salty smell or no smell at all