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How long before I throw out the SHRIMP?

I ordered a 1/2 pound of shrimp from the seafood guy at Whole Foods on Saturday. It's now Tuesday - do I throw it out?

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  1. Was it frozen?

    Use your best judgement. If the shrimp are slimy, mushy or have a distinct "fishy" odor, it's probably best to toss them. Half a pound of shrimp is not worth half a night in agony.

      1. Rinse them off and smell them. If they have been in the fridge and were very fresh when you got them they can hold for up to a week. I've done it myself. If they smell good they are good.

        1. My Mom always said "When in doubt, throw it out". However, my Mom is also the cheapest person on the planet, so she'd advise you to wash it carefully and use good judgement. Your senses will tell you if it's ok.

          1. Smell, smell, smell. Fishy or iodine-y smells mean it's time to toss 'em. Fresh, ocean-y smells means it's time to eat!

            6 Replies
            1. re: ricepad

              What's the difference between "fishy" and "ocean-y"? I bought them fresh and they weren't frozen, and I put them right away in the fridge thinking I would use them by the next day at the latest.

              1. re: waterisgood

                Ocean-y smells fresh and like the ocean, fishy is off and old. They should be fine. I prefer to cook my shrimp the day I buy it but it does not always happen and it has been fine.

                1. re: Candy

                  Smell is one indicator, and color is another good one. Were the shrimp head-on or headless? Headless shrimp will keep several days longer than head-on. Look at the color; they should be grayish (or brownish if they're brown shrimp). If the shrimp look pink, they're past their prime. But hey, you can always use 'em for bait. (I always have a frozen tub of half-spoiled shrimp rolling around in my freezer for use as bait...a habit I really regretted last year after Hurricane Katrina!)

                2. re: waterisgood

                  It's the difference between a fresh sea breeze (ocean-y) and a tidepool (fishy).

                1. You know, in my humble experience, bad shrimp is something that there is NO question about. You will know it when you smell it and there will be no need to ask our opinion. I think, as someone else said, if it was really fresh when you got it [and by the way, I think unless it comes from a live tank, it was frozen and perhaps thawed] then it may be okay.
                  But you will definitely know. And head on shrimp definitely bite the dust much faster than the headless ones.

                  One thing I try to always do with shrimp is to sprinkle them with sea salt before cooking. I think I got that from a Penelope Casas' cookbook. It seems to brighten the flavor & firm them up or something--not sure but I can always tell when I forget.

                  So open the pack and INHALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  1. Certain items should be used the same day as purchased or within 24 hours. Shrimp normally arrive at the market frozen get defrosted and then sold. Rarely do you buy fresh shrimp. So your purchase has gone through (1) being harvested, (2) held for some period of time, (3) frozen and shipped, (4) defrosted, (5)hanging out with other defrosted shrimp in the case, (6) survived the cart, (7) the sheck-out line and (8) the trip home (all of these off-ice) and finally (6) back in the fridge for 2 days.

                    No questions these shrimp should be put down the drain. If you have ever had food poisoning from bad shellfish, you would not question this decision at all. Been there, done that.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jfood

                      ALL shrimp are flash-frozen on the boat before they're even put into the hold.

                    2. If you smell amonia or see white spots... it's time. Once seafood gets to this state I have a more or less permanent aversions to it in the future (ask me about skate wings).

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: mimolette

                          Thanks for asking! Several years ago I saw some skate wings in a seafood market that I liked, so I bought one and brought it home. It did have a bit of an ammonia smell when I opened it up but, hey, I'm sort of a neat freak and ammonia is my friend. So I cooked it in the approved manner, with brown butter and maybe capers, but it was terrible... not in the sense that I couldn't eat it, but as I ate it... I just knew, it was bad, bad, bad. Ugh, ugh, ugh... every time I see a skate wing now I remember that taste. I could have insisted that I smell the skate before buying it but I'd had no problems with the market, I could have stopped going to that market after this but I've had no problems since... I probably should have complained about the skate, but I was younger then and wimped out. To this day I just can't imagine ever eating a skate wing again.

                          1. re: steinpilz

                            Oh, yes -- ammonia is NOT your friend when it's wafting from fish of any kind. Dump it and break out the pasta.

                      1. are these shelled or unshelled... if they are unshelled, i say throw them out (i never purchased unshelled shrimp) but if they are shelled, they are still good, even if part of the head turned slightly orange, they are just a bit tougher, so enjoy them cooked with something else or sauce, as opposed to boiled and shelled in salads.

                        for shrimp, i usually buy it in bulk when it goes on sale at the asian supermarket as i eat tons of shrimp, when i get home i clean them and put them in zip lock sandwich bags and freeze them, i can pull a bag or two out the night before and defrost it in the fridge. sometimes when im craving instant shrimp, just pull them out, put in a bowl of cold water, and they defrost in like 10 minutes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mabziegurl

                          I shrimp all the time. Shrimp stay good for up to 2 months in the freezer if prepared properly. Raw shrimp in the fridge heads on or off will last 4-6 days if prepared properly. If the cat won't eat it , it's bad. Shrimp turn orange from the head down as necrosis sets in.

                          1. re: inwooddan

                            The shrimp are from August 2006.

                            Time to throw them out.

                          2. I would freeze it. Then eat a couple a day. That way it isn't a total loss and you won't get as bad sick just in case they are no good.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: NapkinEd

                              The shrimp in this post are from 2006...
                              Time to throw them out.

                              he he!

                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                ...and the OP appears to have eaten them and died shortly after making the post. I wonder if he turned orange from the head down...

                                1. re: mlou72

                                  nuh-uh, waterisgood is still around -- having posted on nov. 4, 2011. here is a photo: http://www.avesint.com/images/shrimp.jpg