How To Defrost and Thaw Shrimp

Raw Shrimps Uncooked.

Buying frozen shrimp is like planning a week full of meals in advance. Like most seafood, shrimp is freezes well. Best of all, by the shrimp is cooked, you won’t be able to tell if your shrimp was frozen or fresh.

Furthermore, not only are shrimp delicious, but they can cook in minutes. Therefore, it’s no wonder you grabbed a couple of bags of shrimp on your last grocery store run and stored them in the freezer.

If you are purchasing shrimp from the grocery store, it almost always comes frozen. Therefore, you need to know how to defrost shrimp properly before cooking them. However, before we discuss defrosting shrimp, let’s discuss the types of shrimp you can use to make your culinary masterpieces.

Types Of Shrimp

Just like there are several different types of steak, there are multiple types of shrimp. To be specific, you will find 7 different types of shrimp available on the market.

Giant Tiger Prawns

Who doesn’t love prawns? Scientifically known as Penaeus monodon, giant tiger prawns are also known as Asian tiger shrimp or black tiger shrimp.

Giant tiger shrimp have a head and tail like other species of shrimp; however, they also have long whiskers. Giant tiger shrimp may also be mislabeled as wild Haiwaiin blue shrimp in grocery stores.

Farm Whiteleg Shrimp

Farm white leg shrimp is usually found in Thailand or India. White leg shrimp can also be referred to as wild shrimp or gulp shrimp in some regions of the world. White leg shrimp are usually used to make Bronzed Carolina shrimp or gulf shrimp cocktails.

Royal Red Shrimp

Royal red shrimp are like the queen of the shrimp world. After all, royal is in the name, so why would you expect anything less than extravagant shrimp.

As you can imagine, royal red shrimp are expensive. They also boast a flavor and color that is similar to lobster. Unlike other varieties of shrimp, you will only find royal red shrimp in fine dining restaurants or elegant dinner parties.

Branded Coral Shrimp

Although they sound fancy, branded coral shrimp is a colorful species of shrimp that are referred to as cleaner shrimp. Branded coral shrimp cleans fungi as well as other parasites from fish that frequent coral reefs.

Branded shrimp are usually found in aquariums. However, they can also be cooked and eaten.

Ocean Shrimp

Ocean shrimp may also be labeled as Oregon pink or Bay shrimp. Ocean shrimp are sourced from pacific waters. Both Oregon pink and Bay shrimp are smaller than most shrimp.

White, Brown And Pink Shrimp

White, brown, and pink shrimp are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico. These are types of shrimp can almost always be found in your local grocery store. Interestingly enough, white shrimp account for 1/4 of the world’s shrimp, while brown shrimp represent 18% of the world’s shrimp species.

How To Buy Shrimp

There are at least a few different varieties of shrimp available on the market. However, not all shrimp are created equal.

First, purchase untreated shrimp. Unfortunately, some shrimp manufacturers add chemicals or salt when processing frozen shrimp. Make sure you inspect the ingredient list on the back of the package to make sure shrimp is the only ingredient listed.

Purchase IQF shrimp. IQF means individually quick frozen. This will allow you to remove the quantity of shrimp you need from the bag and return it to the freezer.

If the shrimp is not IQF, then the shrimp will be a block of ice, and you cannot a block of ice. The letters IQF will usually be clearly identified on the package.

The bag will also tell whether the shrimp has been peeled deveined, as well as the size of the shrimp. Wild shrimp usually have their shells and tails, which can act as an extra level of protection.

You may want to purchase larger shrimp as smaller shrimp are harder to clean. In addition to this, shrimp shrink once they are cooked, so pay attention to the size of the shrimp when purchasing shrimp.

Do I Have To Defrost Shrimp Before Cooking Them?

Whether or not you have to thaw shrimp before cooking them.For example, if you are making BBQ shrimp, it’s not a good idea to cook the shrimp from frozen as it will create a big mess.

Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to thaw shrimp before cooking them. Like most seafood, shrimp are delicate, so going from extreme cold to a hot cast-iron skillet will alter the shrimp’s texture.

Can I Defrost Shrimp On The Countertop

Whether you are defrosting salmon or steak, defrosting shrimp on the countertop is a hard no. Bacteria multiply at exponential rates if it sits at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you defrost your shrimp on the countertop, you may end up with food poisoning.

How Long Do Frozen Shrimp Last In The Freezer?

On average, frozen shrimp have a shelflife of 3-6 months. However, shrimp’s shelf life can vary based on your fridge’s condition and whether or not you are a victim of excessive power outages.

How To Tell If Shrimp Is Defrosted

Determining whether shrimp are thawed is relatively easy. Shrimp are thawed when they do not feel stiff or frozen in the center and are pliable. Another indicator that shrimp are thawed is when they are no longer white and somewhat opaque.

How To Defrost Shrimp

Essentially, thawing is the process of food transforming from its frozen state into a malleable state. However, thawing shrimp is a little complicated since it is such a delicate food.

How To Defrost Shrimp In The Fridge

Although defrosting shrimp in the fridge is the longest method of thawing shrimp, it is the best and safest way to defrost shrimp. Thawing shrimp in the fridge allows it to gradually defrost while keeping it at a safe temperature.

To thaw your shrimp in the refrigerator, place it into a shallow bowl and place it into the fridge on a flat, lower rack away from other foods. The shrimp will take 12 hours to fully thaw in the fridge. If you do not cook the shrimp right away, they will last 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

How To Defrost Shrimp In Cold Water

To defrost shrimp in cold water, fill a large bowl with cold water. Remove the frozen shrimp from their original packaging and place them into a resealable ziplock bag.

Seal the shrimp and submerge them in the cold water. If the shrimp start to rise to the top of the water, place a heavy plate on top of it to make sure the shrimp remain submerged.

Do not thaw your shrimp in warm or hot water. The shrimp may start to cook and change their texture from firm to mushy.

Allow the shrimp to defrost for 10-20 minutes, then remove them from the resealable bag. Do not let your shrimp sit in the water for more than 20 minutes. They will start to absorb the water and make them chewy once they are cooked.

Place the shrimp onto a paper towel-lined plate and pat it with paper towels to remove the excess water. Cook the shrimp immediately after they have been thawed.

How To Defrost Shrimp Under Running Water

Although this method seems unnecessary since you can defrost shrimp in cold water, thawing shrimp under running water is faster.

To thaw your shrimp under running water, place the shrimp into a colander. Place the shrimp into the sink and run cold tap water over the shrimp for 10-15 minutes, stirring them every 3 minutes.

Strain the shrimp, then place them onto a paper towel-lined plate and pat them dry. Cook the shrimp immediately after they have been thawed.

How To Defrost Shrimp In The Microwave

Although it sounds strange, you can defrost shrimp in the microwave. Thawing shrimp in the microwave is easy and convenient. However, you must be careful when defrosting shrimp in the microwave as it can make them rubbery if they are overcooked.

Place the frozen shrimp into a microwave-safe bowl filled with cold water. The cold water will prevent the shrimp from cooking.

Place the shrimp into the microwave and heat it for 15 seconds. If the shrimp are not thawed, heat it for another 15 seconds until defrosted.

Do not leave the shrimp sitting at room temperature for a long time. Bacteria may start to develop and put you at risk of developing a foodborne illness. Cook the shrimp immediately after they have been defrosted.

Final Thoughts

Shrimp is a frozen food that many people around the world consume. Unlike foods such as Denver steaks or brisket, which can lose quality and flavor when stored in the freezer, shrimp flourish in the freezer.

However, you cannot eat frozen shrimp. To have the best shrimp eating experience, you must know how to defrost shrimp the right way. Luckily, thawing shrimp will not be a problem for you.

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