Freezing the shrimp is one of the best ways to keep it fresh for a long time. But what happens if it gets freezer burn?
Can you eat freezer-burned shrimp?
In general, it is perfectly fine to eat a freezer-burned shrimp as long as there are no signs of spoilage such as discoloration, ammonia smell, or black spots. Although it may not have its original flavor, you can make it more palatable by adding spices and herbs.
Read on to learn more about what exactly happens to freezer-burned shrimp, what we can do with it, and some more related things. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
In very simple words, freezer burn happens due to moisture loss from the food item you keep in the freezer. The loss of water molecules from the food causes dehydration and makes the food dry and tough.
Moreover, the water loss also allows oxygen to result in flavor and color change in the food. This phenomenon specifically happens in meats, poultry, or fish items that are not wrapped appropriately.
Now the important point to note here is even though freezer-burned food items may suffer in the overall taste, quality, texture, or color. If they are frozen properly, then they still remain safe to eat.
If you have set your freezer to 0°F (-18°C), then such an environment is unsuitable for bacteria or other pathogen growth.
And so, your food items such as the shrimp, in this case, will remain safe to consume as long as it was fresh when you stored it, and you thawed it correctly.
But even though it is safe to eat the shrimp if it is freezer burned, that doesn’t mean you can safely consume it at any time.
So you should always check the shrimp you took out from the freezer and look for any signs of spoilage (I will be discussing more on that ahead).
Here are some of the possible things you will notice when your shrimp is freezer burned:
- The shrimp will have white stuff or odd white stuff on its edges
- The texture will feel dry and tough
- The flavor of shrimp will be gone
- You will notice discoloration or uneven coloring across your shrimp
Note: If you see an ice layer surrounding the shrimp, remember that it is not a sign of freezer burn. You might confuse this occurrence with freezer burn. But the ice coating actually helps in protecting the shrimp from freezer burn. So if you notice it, then you can think of it as a good sign.
When you defrost your shrimp, the ice layer will usually melt away without causing any significant impact on the shrimp.
The ice layer can also be an indicator of freezer burn sometimes; however, it is only the case when coupled with other issues.
And remember that the signs of freezer burn don’t mean spoilage. As long as your shrimp is not spoiled, you can safely eat it with a bit of compromise on its taste or flavor.
However, you can also solve it if you are a bit creative and know the right way to make the shrimp dish delicious.
The best thing you can do to save the freezer-burned shrimp is to cook it into a delicious dish.
Since freezer-burned shrimp are already dehydrated and have lost flavor, you will have to select those recipes that can help to improve their flavor to some extent. You can marinate the shrimp and keep it in the fridge overnight to allow it to soak in the flavors.
There are various shrimp dishes that you can try out where you can add shrimp in parts and thus hide the freezer burn issue.
For example, you can add shrimp in pasta, add it to fried rice, use it in a soup, make shrimp cakes, etc., irrespective of the fact whether or not your shrimp is freezer burnt.
You can make a fish soup with a combination of seafood and assorted vegetables. Alternatively, you can make shrimp pasta by adding the already-boiled pasta and stirring the fried shrimp in a creamy sauce. Also, you can make shrimp curry using spices, coconut creams, etc.
To hide the freezer burn texture, you can add sauce or mix your shrimp into the dishes.
However, avoid frying a freezer-burned shrimp or simply eating it plain as you will probably not enjoy it.
If you are interested in eating a freezer-burned shrimp, you can just remove the affected freezer-burned part and use the remaining part of the shrimp as per your choice.
Here are some possible signs you should look for to determine the spoilage in shrimp:
- Your shrimp will feel slimy when you touch it. Ideally, shrimp should be firm and wet, but if you notice something different, it is a sign to toss it away.
- The shell of the shrimp will feel loosely attached or broken.
- You will notice an ammonia smell if the shrimp has gone bad. A strong ammonia smell will indicate that food is spoiled. Normally, the shrimp should either have no smell, or it should have a salty smell.
- You may notice black spots on the shell. Usually, the shells should be clear, but if you observe the black spots, it is also an indication of spoilage in shrimp.
So, in short, yes, you can eat freezer burnt shrimp as long as it has not spoiled yet. Freezer-burned shrimp doesn’t necessarily mean that it has spoiled. Just make sure to check for the signs of spoilage, and if you don’t notice it, then you are safe to consume.
You may notice a lack of taste or flavor in freezer-burned shrimp, but you can be creative and use it in dishes such that its freezer-burned issue is masked, and you can enjoy the delicious dish.
That’s it. Hope this guide has helped in answering your questions related to freezer-burned shrimp.