Freezing foods helps them to last much longer past their usual expiry date. This is a godsend for those of us in today’s busy society, who often find themselves unable to eat everything in our refrigerator or pantry. It’s almost magical really.
However, not absolutely everything can be frozen, and the act of freezing food isn’t always simple or satisfying.
Some foods just won’t take to the freezing process, and others can be outright ruined and spoiled by the process. This can be incredibly annoying, and thus it ends up generating questions and concerns over what can actually be placed in a freezer.
Shrimp is a commonly eaten food across the United States, and thus it is just as commonly placed into the average freezer compartment, to help it last much longer.
But while shrimp can be frozen effectively, can you refreeze shrimp that has already been thawed? Will it spoil the texture or the taste? Or can it just not be done at all?
Why don’t we find out together? Let’s look at finding the definitive answer to this common kitchen woe.
Can You Refreeze Shrimp That Has Been Previously Thawed?
It is perfectly safe to refreeze shrimp that has been allowed to thaw.
This is the case regardless of how or where it has been allowed to thaw. If it has thawed at room temperature on your kitchen counter, or in your refrigerator, then it can still be safely placed inside your freezer.
Of course, shrimp that has been allowed to thaw in the controlled environment of a refrigerator will likely come out of the freezer in better condition and will have a better texture and taste.
Refreezing thawed shrimp won’t cause any effects to you once consumed, and won’t make you ill.
Are There Any Downsides To Refreezing Thawed Shrimp?
There are a few notable downsides to watch out for when refreezing thawed shrimp.
Whenever shrimp is frozen, whether it be the first time or the fourth time, the bonds and cells that make up the shrimp will warp and shift to tighten, hence why frozen food becomes very hard.
When this food is then thawed these bonds loosen, and the food returns to its original form, however, it won’t be exactly like its original form, and the bonds will have likely warped, very slightly.
Every time you choose to refreeze shrimp, the bonds will shift slightly. This effect will begin to stack, so every time you freeze shrimp, the quality of its texture will change.
Part of the joy of eating shrimp is its delectable texture, which can be spoiled by refreezing it too much. Luckily refreezing it just once doesn’t affect the texture too much. So you should aim to only ever refreeze your shrimp once.
Refreezing thawed shrimp will also lead to changes in the taste. When the shrimp are frozen, certain elements inside the shrimp that gives them their characteristic flavor will crystalize.
When those crystals are thawed they can be irreversibly damaged. This means that every time you refreeze thawed shrimp, you are losing another element of its flavor.
What Foods Should You Not Refreeze?
Because of the texture and taste warping effects of refreezing thawed food, there are certain foods that you should generally avoid refreezing once they have thawed.
You should try to avoid refreezing ice cream that has been left to thaw. When the ice cream has completely thawed it will become a creamy and liquid texture.
When you refreeze this creamy concoction, the ice cream will have completely lost its original soft and airy texture. When ice cream is made, there is plenty of air folded into it, which is what makes it easy to scoop, and pleasant to eat.
Refreezing thawed ice cream would lead to a loss of these pockets of air, and will thus lead to a very solid and unsatisfying texture.
You should also avoid refreezing certain meats, as constantly thawing and then refreezing meats such as chicken can lead to some very foul tastes and textures that can completely destroy the usual great tastes of such meats.
However, there are very few foods that are downright unsafe to refreeze. Most people recommend against refreezing thawed food because of the detrimental effects on texture and taste.
What Food Should You Never Freeze?
You should avoid placing certain foods such as eggs into your freezer, even if for the first time. The shells of uncracked eggs will easily shatter in a freezer, which can create a horrible mess.
You can place whisked eggs into the freezer, but any other kind of egg, whether cooked or not, should generally not be placed in the freezer. This is because egg whites tend to take on a very unappealing rubbery texture when frozen and especially when thawed.
You should also make sure not to put products containing eggs into a freezer, as this can cause the egg to separate. This could very well ruin your favorite bottle of mayo.
You should also avoid placing canned drinks or foods in a freezer.
These products are usually filled with carbonated air, which keeps the contents inside preserved. If these carbonated products are frozen, they are very liable to explode, as the air will expand.
This could happen in your freezer, or even worse, in your hands, as you go to open it!
While freezers may be very simple modern conveniences to make our everyday lives easier, there is still a certain method to using them properly, so that you can get the best results every single time.
If you are planning to refreeze any shrimp that has been thawed, you should make sure to only do it one time. This is because the freezing and thawing process can alter the very texture and taste of any food you put through.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You tell If Thawed Shrimp Is Bad?
If you’ve thawed some frozen shrimp, and are unsure whether it is safe to consume, try giving it a quick smell. You’ll be able to tell, right away, if it is bad, as it will have a foul or sour odor.
What Color Is Bad Shrimp?
As with any food, the best way to tell if it has gone bad is to look for discoloration. Cooked shrimp should be slightly pink, while uncooked shrimp should be slightly gray.
If neither one matches your usual mental image of cooked or uncooked shrimp, then you should probably throw it out.
Why Do Restaurants Leave the Tails on Shrimp?
Generally, it is for the sake of presentation. Shrimp looks more appetizing if it has the tails on, as it appears fresher.