How to freeze seafood to save on Christmas shopping and make it perfect
Vigo has already turned on its famous lights, the announcement of the Lottery is broadcast daily and company dinners begin to take place. Without realizing it, Christmas hangs over our heads, and with it the responsibility of offering a good feast to our loved ones. But if we want the treat not to come out of the eye, it is best to start buying as soon as possible.
Although most foods are more expensive at Christmas, there is one that takes the cake: seafood.On this day like today you can find crustaceans, bivalves and other marine delicacies at a price up to 40% lower than that reached in the days before the festivities. And the good news is that most of them can be frozen. Now, not just anyway.
When buying shellfish, we must distinguish the different families well, since not all species must follow the same freezing process. This is a complete guide with everything you need to know to freeze and thaw seafood correctly, and enjoy all its flavor at (almost) half the price.
Freezing large crustaceans: crabs, spider crabs, lobsters ...
We start with the kings of seafood, large crustaceans such as spider crabs, lobsters, crabs or sea oxen.
To freeze these properly we must make sure to buy them alive and cook them just before putting them in the freezer. Ideally, kill them before cooking, suffocating them in water, and then cook them, as if we were going to eat them at that time. After cooking - following the recommended times for each animal - we must wrap the shellfish in a cloth soaked with the cooking water, then cover it in plastic wrap or put it in a freezer bag, which guarantees that no air enters.
The spider crabs and crabs should always be kept with the legs facing upwards, to avoid that, while they freeze, the broth of the chub is lost.
These large crustaceans last optimally for three to four weeks in the freezer, without losing an iota of their quality, so they can be bought right away for the main Christmas meals.
Freeze small crustaceans: crayfish, prawns, prawns ...
It is the turn of prawns, prawns, crayfish, shrimp ... Many turn directly to the classic frozen prawn already cooked, but the truth is that a minimum effort is enough to enjoy a much more appetizing product if we cook it ourselves. To do this, it is preferable to freeze these crustaceans raw, something especially important if you plan to cook on the grill. There is only discussion around the Norway lobster, because if it is frozen raw, the head may blacken a bit. In this case, if it is to be eaten cooked, there is no problem in cooking it before and consuming it as is after defrosting.
As always, everything we freeze must be properly sealed with film, freezer bags or, even better, vacuum. These small shellfish withstand freezing very well, and can be perfectly six months without losing qualities.
Freezing bivalves: mussels, clams, cockles ...
All shell shellfish, such as cockles, clams, razor clams, scallops or mussels, must be frozen raw, otherwise they lose properties. You have to be especially careful when selecting these, because if we freeze a bug that is already dead, we can have a serious problem later. To do this, we must review the specimens and wash them well, before freezing them well sealed in film, freezer bag or vacuum.
As we will explain later, the entire freezing process is best done in the fridge, so that the temperature rise is not abrupt, but in the case of shell shellfish you have to be especially careful, as they do not hold anything once defrosted: they must be cooked immediately after thawing.
The bivalves last up to three months in the freezer in perfect condition.
You should never freeze barnacles and oysters
They are the exceptions that confirm the rule, neither barnacles nor oysters freeze properly. There are those who do it, but it is not worth it, because the product loses many of its qualities and in the case of oysters you play it a lot, since it is difficult to know if they are dead or not before putting them in the freezer.
How to defrost
Defrosting correctly is as important or more than freezing. At this point, it is essential to differentiate between the product that has been cooked before freezing and the one that has not.
All seafood that we have previously cooked must be thawed in the refrigerator, so that the defrosting process takes place slowly. Ideally, remove them from the freezer one day before consumption, although they will last well in the fridge for two or three days.
Seafood frozen raw can also be defrosted in the refrigerator, but in this case there is no margin that is worth it: although crustaceans hold up longer than bivalves, the ideal is to cook them as they have thawed.
If we are going to cook the shellfish, there is no problem in doing it with the product as we take it out of the freezer, although a series of guidelines must be followed, which we already explained in this article. You can also cook grilled seafood directly frozen, but the result is not the same, especially visually.
And now, to cook
Once we have the product well thawed, we can use it in any recipe, such as the classic garlic prawns, clams a la marinara or these fantastic mussels with cider. Any of these thirteen Christmas seafood recipes will be a hit.
However, there are those who prefer, not without reason, to enjoy grilled seafood or, simply, well cooked. For this it is very important to respect the cooking times, which vary according to the size of the interfect.
And now that you have all the keys, don't forget to visit your fishmonger before prices skyrocket.
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