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Thaw and Refreeze Frozen Block Shrimp?

Hi,

DH just brought home a block of frozen tiger shrimp...I usually get the stuff in a bag which is individually frozen so that I can take out as much as I need...There's just 3 of us, so I'm wondering if I can thaw this and refreeze in more usuable portions? A big chunk fell off when I opened the box, which I'll use tonight, but using an icepick (which I don't have) to get portions later seems undoable...

It's some really nice, large tiger shrimp, headless with legs and shell still on...

Help?

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  1. I strongly advise against thawing and refreezing. The quality suffers tremendously and they will most likely turn out mushy. Are you sure they won't break apart even if you throw it on the floor a few times? (In a sturdy plastic bag, of course.)

    1. Your home freezer can't re-freeze it fast enough, so the ice crystal that form are large, blowing apart cell walls.. you'll end up with mushy shrimp.

      Make a shrimp mold (Paula Deen had a decent recipe that just needed some more kick).. that will use up a lot.

      1. Thawing/refreezing frozen foods of all kinds (veg, meat, seafood) is perfectly OK. Make sure you thaw overnight in the frig and NOT on the counter at room temp. Then, double wrap the extras, put into a freezer bag, and put it into the freezer on the bottom or sides where it will directly contact the freon lines. I do this professionally on a regular basis. Be warned, however, that each time you do this, even if you do it perfectly, the food will become that much drier, stringyer, tough, and flavorless. From a safety-sani perspective, however, this is perfectly OK.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jerry i h

          Not sure I agree this is a safe method. Especially with something as perishable as shellfish. And I do agree with grant.cook, the shrimp will be mushy.

          Plus shrimp & other shellfish don't need a whole night in the fridge to thaw out. Just cold running water does the trick. I suggest cooking as much as you can, then, possibly freeze the cooked shrimp. Never tried it so, I can't guarantee anything. You may end up with mushy shrimp either way.

          1. re: jerry i h

            I made some shrimp pot stickers last night from previously frozen shrimp. I froze some of the UNcooked leftover dumplings and now I'm wondering if I can eat them.

            If I cook and eat them, will I die? Or is it just a texture thing? There isn't THAT much shrimp in each one and it's chopped up.

          2. I used to process fresh fish for smoking and for sale. Never, ever refreeze fish or shellfish. Bacterial growth is staggering after thawing.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Lenox637

              I guess we can agree to disagree. As long as the consumer holds the shrimp either frozen or in a frig at less than 40 degrees at all times, IMHO thawing and refreezing is OK from a safety standpoint. Seafood is no more prone to 'Bacterial growth is staggering after thawing' than beef, chicken, or peas 'n carrots.

              1. re: jerry i h

                No I really have to strongly disagree. Seafood is ESPECIALLY prone to high rates of bacteria growth, the kind that don't go away when the food is cooked!!! Not like trichinosis or e. coli in beef or pork, that can be killed when heated high enough.

                Same with the vegetables. They themselves do not start breaking down when thawed out like shellfish do.

            2. Can't you thaw the whole block, cook several different recipes, then freeze the cooked food?

              1 Reply
              1. Smash your iceblock on the counter or floor (of course do while it's still in the plastic bag) wherever you see ice. Check after each smash - if any individual shrimp got loose, take them out b/c you don't want to smash them. You'll be able to separate blocks by hand, just be careful not to tear any shrimp. Sometimes your shrimp will all be on one side of the ice block. In that case you may need to shave away at the ice-heavy side with an icepick (or use a sterilized swiss army knife or flathead screwdriver). You can get several nice 1-2 serving size chunks and put into a quart freezer ziplock bag. I like to place the leftover smashed ice into each bag.

                Was thinking of ways to improve this method. Maybe I should keep a bowl of iced water with small ice cubes on the side. After filling the bag with shrimp, fill with iced water & small ice cubes. It sounds good, but not sure if it's advisable... Maybe i'll try with one bag next time.

                1. Ice pick ...........

                  Have Fun!

                  1. I've been able in the past to slightly thaw large quantities of frozen shrimp - up to 5 lbs - just to the point where it's possible to break them up into individual shrimp, or groups of a couple or so, and then portion them into smaller units and return to the freezer. The individual shrimp remain frozen hard as rocks, so I don't think there's any risk in doing it that way.