Freezer burnt food; most of us have been there at one point through no fault of our own. You just sometimes forget about the food in your fridge. But did you know that leaving food in the freezer for longer than you are supposed to isn’t the only cause of freezer burn?
It can sometimes be that you did not preserve your food well. For example, your airtight container wasn’t completely sealed, or even your Ziploc bags.
Having freezer burnt food is not the end of that food’s life. Today, we are taking a deep dive into how we can revive one of these foods – freezer burn shrimp. What can you do when you go get your shrimp and find it is freezer burnt? Read on and find out!
Freezer Burn Explained
Before looking into all that, let us first discuss what freezer burn is, what causes it, and how you can possibly avoid getting freezer burn on your food.
So, what causes freezer burn? It occurs when air reaches your food from the freezer. The air then causes oxidation and dehydration to your food. This causes discoloration in your meat or clumps of ice on your vegetables. The dehydration and oxidation process can also cause your food to have a funny smell and taste, which is why most people opt to throw the food out.
To avoid or at least reduce freezer burn, you need to ensure that your food is tightly and securely wrapped. You can vacuum seal the food to protect it from the dry air using airtight containers or bags. No matter what storage medium you use, you need to make sure that absolutely no air gets through to the food.
You can do a few simple tests to see if your food has fallen victim to freezer burn. Note that freezer burn does not affect the entire food hence, you need to carefully examine every part. Freezer burn signs include grayish-brown parts, especially on meat and fish, or spots that have a leathery look and feel to them.
Does freezer burn make food inedible? No. While the texture of the food and smell might be off-putting, the food is still completely edible.
To make it more suitable for consumption, you can try to remove the smell of the burn and also the freezer burn itself, if the type of food allows you to.
Later on, we will look at how you can remove the smell when dealing with shrimp, of which you might also be able to do the same with other foods.
Shrimp with Freezer Burn in Details
Only a few people are able to get fresh shrimp, which is why frozen shrimp is common, as it is the best way to store it. This form of storage sometimes leads to freezer burn.
How to Tell if a Shrimp is Affected with Freezer Burn
You might think your frozen shrimp is freezer burnt because it has a layer of ice on it, but this is sometimes not true. The ice coating you see on the shrimp is a layer that can protect your shrimp from freezer burn. With that coating, you will only have to thaw your shrimp and dry them off before cooking as you normally would. The ice coating can even add flavor to the shrimp and make them juicy and tender.
So, how do you know for sure that your shrimp is affected by freezer burn?
Here are some of the things you can look for to determine whether your shrimp has freezer burn or not:
- Hard or tough appearance
- White discoloration
- Uneven coloring
- Opaque color
- Single spots that look discolored or dry
These are just a few indications that your shrimp has been affected. At the same time, if your shrimp has one of these signs, it does not always mean it has freezer burn. Either way, your shrimp will still be safe to eat. It might be a little dry and tougher than usual, but it is still edible.
The rough texture is one of the things that might discourage you from cooking or eating it, but with the proper cooking method, you can easily work around it.
How to Cook Shrimp with Freezer Burn
While freezer burn is a plague you can’t easily avoid, you can deal with it when it happens. You can work through the tough texture and the dryness and still enjoy your shrimp.
Eating the shrimp plain is most likely out of the window if it has freezer burn because of the texture. You can, however, cook it with other foods and enjoy it; you will probably not notice that it was freezer burnt in the first place. Cooking the shrimp into other dishes gives you a wide array of recipes you can work with and new recipes to explore.
You can also make different sauces to cover the shrimp, which will help mask the texture and flavor of the shrimp. You can try to cut and discard the portion of the shrimp that has the freezer burn if you can and work with the remaining parts. This is not necessary, but you can consider it if you don’t want to deal with the affected parts at all.
Some of the dishes you can cook your shrimp in that will make it taste incredible include:
- Shrimp in pasta
- Shrimp cakes
- Pesto shrimp
- Mix with stir fry
- Added to jambalaya
- Shrimp scampi
- Marinated shrimp
- Added to fried rice
- Use in chowder or soup
Using sauces or soups is one of the best ways to enjoy your freezer burnt shrimps because it conceals the tough texture and adds the needed moisture and juiciness to the dish. You want to stay away from serving the shrimp plain or making it the main dish. Instead, make it an added surprise – a little sideshow that does not overshadow the main meal.
You can do whatever you want to your freezer-burnt shrimp, and chances are you will still enjoy it. Do not be afraid of exploring. Remember, it is still safe to eat, but it will have a slightly different texture and flavor.
How to Store Frozen Shrimp
Proper storage is crucial for any food, and shrimp is no exception. Frozen shrimp, with appropriate storage, can last for months without being affected by freezer burn. The secret to this is proper storage and knowing its shelf life.
You will need to pay extra attention to the package you store the shrimp in and not blindly trust the store packaging. To be on the safe side, you should always repackage the shrimp in your own storage bags and make sure it is properly sealed and is airtight.
The shelf life of properly sealed and stored shrimp in the freezer is up to six (6) months. There is no fear of it getting freezer burn, and you can use it anytime between this period without worry. Do not leave it in longer than 6 months to avoid the risk of it getting freezer burnt. You get to enjoy fresh and juicy shrimp this way too.
The best storage process to ensure that your shrimp doesn’t get freezer burnt is:
- You can either leave the shrimp in the store packaging or wrap it in your own plastic
- Place the shrimp in the wrap into another heavy-duty storage bag or a container to give it a double protection.
- Label the packaging and indicate the date you’re storing it on the packaging.
- Store in the freezer and keep checking the date to ensure you use it before six months pass.
The six months are the recommended time that you can get the best out of your shrimp. You can still use it after this time, and there shouldn’t be much difference. Nevertheless, consider the six months as a best-by recommendation and a way to encourage yourself to use the shrimp while it is still at its best. Leaving it in the freezer for much longer than that leaves it susceptible to freezer burn even with proper storage.
How to Prevent Freezer Burn
Proper storage and observing the shelf life are, of course, the best ways to prevent freezer burn. However, there are further measures you can take to avoid it. Take the care and preservation of the shrimp into your own hands, and don’t trust the store packaging; this will most likely fail you.
One of the best things you can do, as noted above, is to use a double layer of protection. Wrap your shrimp in foil or plastic wrap to help extend its freezer life. Do this on top of the store-bought wrapper. You can also place it in an airtight container you can trust. The best way to go about it is to remove the shrimp from its original packaging, wrap it in the foil or plastic first, and then put it back in the original packaging. You can also entirely skip the original packaging and use your own.
After wrapping the shrimp in the first layer, you can place it into a freezer-safe storage container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Whichever one you go for has to be well-sealed. The proper sealing is what prevents the dry air from getting to the shrimp and causing freezer burn. You want to double-seal your shrimp with the two layers to improve your chances of protecting the shrimp.
Another thing you can do is vacuum seal the shrimp. You can do this even after double-sealing your shrimp to ensure it is effectively protected. No measures are too much when it comes to preventing freezer burn. Also, make sure you date your packaging to keep track of the shrimp. You don’t want it to go past its recommended shelf life and put it at more risk of getting the burn.
1. What is the white stuff on frozen shrimp?
Most times, the white stuff on the shrimp is a layer of ice that forms on the shrimp. This is because the shrimp are exposed to cold temperatures for long periods. The ice does not mean that the shrimp is freezer burnt and can actually be an additional source of juiciness. It could also mean that it has freezer burn, but without the other signs, chances are it is just an ice layer.
2. Is freezer-burned food safe to eat?
Freezer-burned food is mainly safe to eat. You can check to see if most of the food is affected, but the food is just fine most of the time. You will need to take extra measures to ensure that the taste and flavor of the food are not affected.
In the case of bigger portions of food, you can cut off the freezer burn on the affected part to avoid the toughness and the freezer burn flavor. With shrimp, however, it might be too hard because they are small in size.
Highlighted above are a few ways you can prepare it to make it taste great and get rid of the effects of freezer burn. You can experiment with each one of them to see which one you like best.
Think Before You Eat: How Long Does Cooked Shrimp Last In The Fridge?