Can You Eat Freezer-Burned Shrimp?

Shrimp is America’s most consumed seafood, so from time to time, you will come across one or two frozen shrimp with freezer burn. With so many shrimp coming from Asia, it’s hardly surprising that these tasty morsels get freezer burn as they are frozen for months on end. But is the freezer burning the end of the road making the shrimp inedible?

Did you know that shrimp have a really low-calorie count but are loaded with cholesterol? Eating shrimp can help control the pounds, but they are not a heart-healthy diet.

This article will look at your options for dealing with freezer-burned shrimps and answer the burning questions you may have so you can handle your shrimps with confidence.

Let’s get into it.

Can you eat shrimp with freezer burn?

It depends on how bad the freezer burn is. If the shrimps have a little freezer burn, the texture is going to be altered, but in terms of food safety, the shrimps are perfect for eating and will not make you sick.

If there is more than a little freezer burn, then your option should be to trim the shrimps that can be saved. The freezer burns usually happen along one section of the shrimp so trimming off the freezer burn is a decent option to salvage the shrimp.

If the shrimp are severely burned from freezing, then your best option is to toss them in the garbage. The shrimp’s taste and texture are compromised, although they would not hurt you even if you ate them.

Do shrimps with shells get freezer burn?

Shrimps in shells will exhibit the same signs of freezer burn as shelled shrimps. The shrimp shell has voids where water can settle, and when the water freezes, the ice crystals expand and push the shell further from the shrimp flesh, causing freezer burn.

The freezer burn is as severe as shelled shrimp. Your shrimp may have been freezer burned if it is opaque or shows any patches of white discoloration. Other indications include a rough or hard appearance, isolated patches that have dried out or changed color, or uneven coloration over the shrimp.

Can you eat frozen shrimp past the expiration date?

In theory, frozen foods have an indefinite shelf life if frozen at 0℉ or below. Once a product hits the freezer, it is normal for the expiration date to become void. It is meaningless with frozen products. However, if only life was that simple.

Shrimp will degrade in the freezer, they will lose their flavor, and the texture will not be like fresh shrimp, becoming somewhat limp and a little mushy.

For uncooked shrimp, you can expect that they should be consumed within six months after the expirations date to retain some quality. If the shrimp is cooked, it’s about half of that time.

They can still be eaten after six months have elapsed, but they could become prone to the dreaded freezer burn, and they will degrade in texture and flavor.

Can you prevent freezer burn?

Yes, you can. When you purchase shrimp, check the expiry dates on the bag and the location they have come from. If they have come from Thailand or India, you can guess they have been freezing for a long time while in transport.

But US shrimp, if possible, will be freshers, and if you can get it from the fish market, even better.

When you get home, follow these steps:

  • Remove the shrimp from the packaging and place it on a plate in the fridge.
  • Store meal-size portions of the shrimp in Ziploc bags, placing them flat in an airtight container. You can wrap each packet with aluminum foil if you wish to help prevent freezer burn.
  • When the container is full, mark the container with the freezing date. This will enable you to use the shrimp inside the expiry date for peak quality.

How do you defrost shrimp from the freezer?

Select how many portions you would like, place the bags on a plate overnight in the fridge, and let the shrimp thaw slowly.

The shrimp will thaw overnight, leaving them ready for your recipe.

How can you salvage freezer-burned shrimps?

You will need to choose a recipe that includes a sauce or even cook the freezer-burned shrimp as part of a soup.

Cooking the shrimp in a sauce should help the shrimp to rehydrate. Here are some suggestions for a great shrimp meal using freezer-burned shrimp.

  • Shrimp and pasta, cook the shrimp in a marinara sauce and let the shrimp rehydrate as much as possible. This tasty recipe has lots going on, and with the addition of some incredible parmesan cheese, the shrimp will not be the star of the show.
  • Shrimp curry is a very popular dish with lots of depth and subtle flavors in the background detracting from the texture of the shrimp. The shrimp will be covered in a glorious curry sauce, tasting delicious.
  • Try Thai green or red curry paste for a different flavor of shrimp curry. It’s a colorful dish that is vibrant and tasty.
  • Shrimp and vegetable soup. It will be the star of the meal, a delicious shrimp soup with fresh veggies, and you will hardly notice the shrimp.

There are many recipes for shrimp dishes, so it’s not the end of the road if your shrimp has freezer burn.

How do you know shrimp is bad in the fridge?

If you have an expiry date on the packaging, you should know this date is about the peak quality of the products and not the end of life where the product is inedible.

If your ship smells fishy, then it is turning bad and should be discarded. If the shrimp have become slimy, it is bad.

If there is any smell from shrimp, it’s not normal. If they have black spots, they are bad and should be discarded.

If you are unsure about a shrimp and its conditions, toss it in the bin. Better safe than sorry.

Final thoughts

Having freezer burn on shrimps is not the end of the road. It may make you change your meal plan from a shrimp salad to a shrimp curry, but at least the shrimp meal can be salvaged.

Trick the shrimp flesh with sharp scissors or a knife if the freezer burn has just set in.

If you are unsure about the quality of your shrimp, assume the worst scenario and toss them in the garbage.

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