white spots on frozen shrimp
Food & Drinks

What Are the White Spots on Frozen Shrimp? How to Fix It?

Shrimp is one of the tastiest crustaceans and can be cooked in so many flavorful ways. It’s no surprise then that many of us like to store shrimp in the freezer for those seafood hankerings. But if you’ve found odd white spots on your frozen shrimp, you must’ve been worried about whether it’s safe to eat. Has the shrimp gone bad? Do you have to toss out the entire batch?

Here’s a handy guide on what the white spots on frozen shrimp are and whether they pose any negative health concerns.

What Are the White Spots on Frozen Shrimp?

Frozen Shrimp

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It’s tough to beat a good seafood dish. But it’s also very important to make sure that the seafood is fresh and safe for consumption. So, if you find white spots on your frozen shrimp, your first instinct will probably be to chuck it out and not take any risks.

But, these white spots are not really a cause for concern. Let’s take a look at the two reasons for white spots developing on frozen shrimp.

  • White Spot Syndrome

If you find white spots on the hard shell of shrimps, it may be white spot syndrome (WSS). This is a viral infection that commonly affects shrimps and is lethal. If shrimps are affected by WSS, there is very little possibility of those shrimps reaching the market. So, the white spots on your frozen shrimp are probably not due to WSS.

  • Freezer Burn

If you find white spots on the shrimp meat itself or the edges of your shrimp, they are signs of freezer burn.

These white spots appear when you store your shrimps in your freezer for more than six months. These spots tend to occur due to inappropriate handling, improper sealing, fluctuating temperatures, and over-freezing.

For those interested in understanding more about food storage and common misconceptions, you may find it intriguing to learn about the classification of certain produce, such as the debate on whether potatoes are fruits or vegetables, which can further enhance your knowledge on food handling and preparation.

Is It Safe to Eat Freezer-Burned Shrimp?

Freezer-Burned Shrimp

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Freezer burns on shrimps result from the refrigerator air causing oxidation and dehydration.

Freezer burns don’t automatically spoil your shrimp, so it is still safe for consumption despite having freezer burns. The meat may taste a little funny and it will be tougher than fresh shrimp meat, but there are no health risks involved.

What Does Spoiled Frozen Shrimp Look Like?

Spoiled Frozen Shrimp Look Like

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It’s important to know the different signs of spoiled frozen shrimp as it can potentially lead to food poisoning.

The only way you will know if your frozen shrimp is already spoiled is after you have completely thawed it. You can then look for specific indications to decide whether it’s time to toss your shrimps into the garbage.

  • Shrimp Smell

Shrimp should typically have a slightly salt-water or mild-ocean smell.

If you detect a foul, pungent odor similar to smells of chlorine, ammonia, or iodine, that means it has gone bad.

  • Shrimp Texture

When you touch good shrimp, it should feel wet but not slimy. Sliminess is an indication that bacteria has started developing or that there were too many chemicals used when the shrimp was being processed.

  • Shrimp Appearance

Once the frozen shrimp is thawed, it should look shiny and translucent. If the shells are still intact, the shells should look firm and smooth and should be clinging to the flesh of the shrimp. If the shell is hanging loose, almost detached from the shrimp, it has probably gone bad.

Additionally, since most frozen shrimps have their heads cut off, the exposed meat should be colorless. If it is already pinkish, it is a sign that the fish has begun deteriorating. You can also check if the shrimp has developed black spots on its shell or tail area, which indicates the shrimp is going bad.

The easiest way to check whether your frozen shrimp is good is to check the best-by date or the sell-by date.

How Long Is Frozen Raw Shrimp Good For?

How Long

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Frozen shrimp is 100% perishable, but you can extend its shelf life by months if you store it properly in your freezer.

Store packaging is not always reliable. So, it is best to repackage your shrimps in airtight and well-sealed containers. When you seal and store the shrimps properly, you are afforded six months’ leeway without the risk of freezer burn.

Shrimp can last up to 9 months if it is not disturbed by constantly opening and closing the freezer and if the temperature is not adjusted.

However, it is recommended that you use your frozen shrimp before or around the 6-month mark.

How To Tell If Shrimp Is Freezer-Burned

How To Tell

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One of the obvious signs that your shrimp is freezer-burned is white spots and other white gunk on its sides when it is stored in the refrigerator. Usually, these spots are caused by changing temperatures and over-freezing the shrimps.

Here are some other indicators that your shrimp is freezer-burned:

#1. The shrimps retain the white specks even after cooking.
#2. The shrimps give off an unpleasant smell.
#3. The shrimps have a gritty and stiff consistency.
#4. The shrimps have a rubbery mouthfeel.
#5. The shrimps don’t taste as fresh.

What To Do with Freezer-Burned Shrimp?

While you can still cook and eat freezer-burned shrimps, you should expect them to be relatively dry because of hydration loss. They may also be a little tough to chew.

So, if you want to cook freezer-burned shrimp, opt for recipes that use steam as the cooking method. You may not achieve a result similar to fresh shrimps, but it’s an excellent compromise that will help retain the flavor and texture of shrimp.

Forego dishes that require you to dry the shrimps because you’ll end up with super dry and extremely hard shrimps that will be too frustrating to chew.

Never serve freezer-burned shrimps by themselves. It is best to incorporate them as part of a dish. This way, you can mask the freezer burn, and the other elements of the dish can make up for the texture and mouthfeel.

Featured image source: Pinterest.com

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