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Wednesday's in the Know: Frozen vs. "Fresh" Shrimp

When it comes to shopping for shrimp, there are so many options its hard to know where to begin! With dozens of topics prime for blogging, today I am going to focus around the difference between purchasing frozen or “fresh” shrimp.

“Fresh” vs. Frozen: First of all, “fresh” is surround by quotations because most of all “fresh” shrimp at the market was flash frozen at sea immediately after catching. They were then shipped to a distribution center, packaged and shipped again to our major retail stores. The retail store then thawed them for us – why thank you so much – putting “fresh” on their display making you think that they were fresher than their buddies in the freezer section.

So, which should I buy? To tell you the truth, and of course my personal opinion, shrimp should always be purchased frozen unless you absolutely know the “fresh” shrimp is indeed fresh and was never frozen. Depending on where you are, that should be an indicator in itself. Just ask yourself this question: “I live in <insert city> and am <insert miles> from the coast. Is it possible that fresh shrimp could be caught, processed and sold the same day?” If you live close to the coast, maybe that’s absolutely possible. One of my favorite meals was in Savannah, Georgia where our friend purchased shrimp for the evening’s low country boil right after it was caught. Doesn’t get fresher than that!!! If you aren’t sure, head to the freezer section. Now, before you grab any bag, take a peak inside if there is a window or display area and make sure there is no ice particles on the shrimp. This could mean that the bag at some point started to thaw before it was put back in the freezer. Not a good sign as the shrimp could have been mishandled.

Quickly thawing: Empty shrimp into a bowl and run cold water (not warm) over the top. If you don’t want to waste water, place the shrimp in a bowl with cold water to cover replacing the water with fresh cold water every 10 minutes until the shrimp is no longer frozen. However, if time is not of the essence, the best way to thaw shrimp is by placing it in the fridge first thing in the morning for evening supper. 

Resources and other tips: Visit Serious Eats for more information as well as other great tips when it comes to all things shrimp!

Recipes: I have dozens including Shrimp Spring Rolls, Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp Tacos, and even Shrimp Scampi at thetabletogether.com.

For other terrific tips and hundreds of recipes, visit my website (thetabletogether.com). While there, consider “subscribing” and I will send a new tip or blog post directly to your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday morning!

P.S. Make sure you check out my YouTube channel, The Table Together with Tiffany Lewis, solely dedicated to bringing all of these fantastic tips and recipes to life!

Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!


Tiffany Lewis

Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!