Like poultry and other meats such as beef or veal, seafoods such as shrimp and fish can be cooked directly from their frozen state without posing any health implication to the consumer.
And the impact of this technique to the final texture and taste of the seafood is little to minimal.
Shrimp can be taken from frozen and cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145F in less than 10 minutes depending on the medium which they’re been cooked in and the size of the shrimp in question. When starting from frozen, it is expected that an increment of nearly half the original cooking time is incurred.
Such increment is easily apprehended by the extra work done on the part of the heating medium to melt the ice crystals in the shrimp and bring it to room temperature, before proceeding to cook it to doneness.
And how fast such melting occurs is a factor that depends on the nature of ice crystals present in the shrimp. Whether large or small with the former taking much longer to melt.
You refrigerator typically forms large ice crystals in food items, you shouldn’t be surprised if your shrimp overstay their usual time on the pan or griddle.
Health authorities say it’s a yes!
The United State Department of Agriculture [Food Safety and Inspection Service] USDA stated on a l brief knowledge guide published in their website that shrimps are absolutely safe to cook from frozen without the worry of getting sick from the practice.
And it’s easy to see why because starting from frozen means you’ll leave no chance for any bacteria to thrive and reproduce which greatly minimizes the risks of food poisoning.
And that’s only when you cook the meat to doneness which is sometimes difficult to achieve with frozen foods, although frozen shrimps almost always turn out finely cooked.
Grill marks, charr or Millard reaction are imprinted on the meats which convince consumers that the meat is done whereas it isn’t, states the USDA in their knowledge guide targeted at the safe handling and processing of frozen foods at home.
One should be especially careful to ensure they verify the internal temperature of the food before bringing it down from the heat.
That aside, one bonus of cooking from frozen is that it translates to a much safer thawing alternative than submersion in cold water or microwave thawing which can hold the shrimp for longer in the danger zone and cause bacteria to begin socializing.
Why it may have the extra edge!
When it comes to shrimps, they’re typically small and soft which makes cooking them from frozen an ideal option. It takes less than 6 minutes from the time you put a shrimp on fire to the time it gets done on both sides, and it’ll certainly take only a few more minutes to cook from frozen because shrimps are small, compact and easily softened. Bonus, the small and delicate nature of shrimps means it’s almost next to impossible to overcook them even from frozen!
It’s also important to note that thawing frozen shrimps really isn’t a big deal. And using the water bath technique, you’d probably have them all thawed out by the time you finish preparing the heating medium and chopping up the Italian parsley and garlic! It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to do the cold water thawing.
How to cook frozen shrimp
If you have an instant pot, then it’s very easy to cook shrimps no matter the state you’re starting with. Using the instant pot takes nothing more than 7 minutes to fully cook a raw, shell-less and deveined shrimp, depending on the size with of course larger shrimps taking longer time to cook than smaller shrimps.
Slow cooker is recognized for the tremendous work it does in the flavor and textural department of many meat articles, especially when its poultry or beef.
But when you’re using a slow cooker to cook shrimps, especially the extra large ones, expect to spend nothing less than 3 hours on low or 2 hours on high. One thing is for sure though, the resulting scampi dish would surely reminiscent a taste made in heaven.
In the air fryer, and at 400F and above, frozen shrimps, depending on whether they were precooked or raw should take nothing less than 10 minutes to cook. In specific terms, precooked frozen shrimps that are somewhat large typically take less than 6 minutes to cook to doneness and the raw ones take not up to 10 minutes if they are small.
When cooking in the air fryer, make sure to shake the basket halfway through cooking to ensure even baking on the shrimps.
A less than pound weight frozen shrimp; peeled, deveined and uncooked will take no more than 7 minutes to cook in a toaster oven preheated to 400F and above.
The characteristics of a fully cooked shrimp is that the meat inside is white and the shrimp on the outside adopts an opaque nature. It also bends inwards a little. But for assurance sake, always use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature half way through the shrimp (or at the middle) is 145F.
Roasted or baked large shrimps (deveined, peeled, frozen and uncooked) take no more than 7 minutes to completely cook on a rack positioned 6 inches blow the broiler in an already preheated oven at 400F or more. You should note that the higher the cooking temperature the lower the cooking time.
On the frill, frozen shrimp without shells and not cooked should take nothing less than 4 minutes split in half for both sides for the meat to cook. The grill should be on medium heat to high and the shrimps can be wrapped in foil for the last half of the cooking time to lock in flavor.
How to thaw frozen shrimp the fast way
Frozen shrimps are great from frozen, but you can make them even better by thawing them first using the cold water technique that takes only 20 minutes to perform.
All you have to do is transfer the frozen shrimps in their storage bags inside a an iced water in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
In the end, you’ll have a fully thawed out shrimp that can flex its way into your marinade or seasoning for a reviving crunch!
Aside the water bath technique, you can also use the refrigerator. Place the shrimp in the refrigerator compartment and let thaw overnight or for at least 12 hours.
How to handle shrimp at home for safety!
Follow the precautions to ensure you stay safe while handling your seafoods at home.
1. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling seafoods to avoid germs from transferring from your hands to the frozen food, as well as cross contaminate other foods you might be eating without cooking such as fruits or salads. You should scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap to ensure it’s clean.
2. Use a meat thermometer to verify the internal temperature at the deepest portion of the sea food is 145F or more. Never go below that as you could end up increasing the chances of food poisoning.
Shrimp can be grilled, roasted, baked or poached from its frozen state. Doing so can save you a lot of time when you’re greatly pressed for it. It may also be the safest course of action since it further reduces the risks of food poisoning compared to the cold water bath technique of thawing seafoods prone to harboring pathogenic bacteria.
To use frozen shrimp, follow recipe instruction for thawed shrimps but add as much as 50 percent of the original cooking time to the original cooking time depending ofcourse on the size of the shrimp and whether or not it was peeled.