Freeze Shrimp In Water For The Best Possible Results

When it comes to freezing food, many people simply place items in a freezer bag, seal it, and store it in the freezer. Sometimes, items like fresh fruit or portions of meat are frozen individually on a sheet pan before being transferred to a freezer bag. This is a smart approach because it prevents the contents from freezing into a solid mass. Some people even freeze shrimp this way. While this method will certainly get the job done, there's actually a better way to freeze shellfish that helps maintain its optimal flavor.

First, ditch the freezer bags and opt for containers instead. Before sealing them, fill the containers with water. Submerge the shrimp in the water, leaving enough room for the water to expand as it freezes. When you go to defrost the shrimp later, they will taste as fresh and flavorful as the day you froze them. Essentially, what you're doing here is ensuring that the shrimp have no contact with air, which is the ultimate flavor killer for frozen foods.

How to freeze shrimp in water

To freeze shrimp using this method, first remove the heads if they are still attached, but keep the shells and tails intact. Place the shrimp in a quart container and fill it with enough cold water to submerge them. However, be sure to leave sufficient room for the water to expand during freezing, as you don't want the lid to pop off or the container to crack. The reason this method works so well is because it completely protects the shrimp from air exposure, which is responsible for causing freezer burn and altering the food's taste and texture.

Storing your shrimp this way should maintain their flavor and texture for up to six — and if you're lucky, seven — months. When you're ready to use them, remember that you'll have a large block of ice to thaw. Place the container in a large bowl and set it in the refrigerator, giving it plenty of time to melt. With this in mind, it's a good idea to use smaller containers. This ensures both quicker freezing of the shrimp and water as well as less ice to melt when you're ready to defrost.

You can never have too much shrimp

Once the shrimp is thawed, it's best to use it within a day or two to enjoy its optimal flavor. If you cook the shrimp and plan to save it for later, it will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. However, if you need to store it for longer than that, it's advisable to keep it frozen until you're ready for it. Shrimp is one of those versatile ingredients that's great to have stocked in your freezer. It's relatively inexpensive and works well in a variety of quick and delicious dishes, ranging from shrimp cocktail, shrimp cakes, and étouffée to shrimp and grits, coconut shrimp, shrimp tacos, po'boy sandwiches, and so much more.

If you have a preferred seafood purveyor, enjoy catching your own shrimp, or stumble upon a great deal for fresh shrimp somewhere, it's a good idea to stock up and make some freezer space for multiple containers. Given the extended shelf life provided by freezing shrimp in water, there is little chance of it going bad before you have the opportunity to enjoy it all.