If you’ve ever had a less than delicious shrimp cocktail, you know the importance of getting good quality seafood. But does it always have to be fresh?
As it turns out, frozen shrimp is just as delicious (if not better) than the fresh stuff, but there’s one thing you should look for when shopping.
Quality, frozen shrimp will be labeled IQF which stands for individually quick frozen. This means the shrimp were allowed to freeze individually, not in blocks. Fewer ice crystals form and there isn’t as much degradation or textural and flavor change. Essentially, it keeps all the good things you love about shrimp intact.
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But why frozen shrimp—even if it is IQF—over fresh? We have, what might be, some shocking news for you. The vast majority of shrimp caught at sea is frozen right there on the boat and shipped that way to your local grocery store. The “fresh” shrimp you see on display has been thawed in store and placed at your seafood counter. It’s no different than the IQF shrimp you’ll buy in bags.
There are, however, a few instances where you might want to opt for fresh. Those who live near the ocean and have access to fresh-caught shrimp or those with restaurants or grocers nearby with shrimp still live in tanks can opt for fresh. You’ll need to cook them immediately, though. Also, if you’re looking to make shrimp for dinner, and you’re shopping for groceries that morning or afternoon, go ahead and buy fresh and you won’t need to thaw the shrimp yourself.
The next time you’re planning to make a delicious shrimp ceviche or seafood bisque, go ahead and grab the frozen stuff—just look for the IQF label.