If you love seafood, you will probably like prawns. They are versatile and high in nutrients so why not add them to your diet? You can have them as part of a seafood platter or make a traditional prawn cocktail. These are delicious starters for a dinner party. You can also add prawns to curries, paella (see also Can You Freeze Paella?), pasta, risotto, and salads.
When you go out to buy prawns, you can get them in different forms. You can buy them shelled or unshelled. If they’re shelled, they may be cooked or raw. So can you freeze any of these varieties? The simple answer is yes. You can freeze any type of prawns and in this article we will tell you how to freeze prawns and how to defrost them.
How To Freeze Raw Prawns
If you have bought fresh, raw prawns, these are the steps you should follow to freeze them.
1. Wash and peel the prawns
You need to freeze your prawns as quickly as possible to stop bacteria from forming. As soon as you get home, wash them thoroughly under cold water and remove the shells if that’s what you want to do. It doesn’t make any difference if you want to freeze them with or without their shells. If you do remove the shells, give the prawns an extra wash.
2. Dry the prawns
Using a paper towel, dry your prawns. You don’t want to freeze your prawns with extra moisture as ice crystals may form, making the prawns mushy when defrosted.
3. Put the prawns into a container
It is best to put the prawns in an airtight container rather than a freezer bag. This is because prawns, like most seafood, can smell. Containers are more secure and won’t emit too many smells. It is also a good idea to layer the prawns with greaseproof paper in between them to stop them from sticking. Then you can just remove the number of prawns you want for a meal. Alternatively, you can flash freeze the prawns first before the final freeze as this too will stop them from sticking together.
4. Label the container
It is a good idea to put a label on the container with the date you put it in the freezer. Then you won’t keep it in the freezer way past its use-by date.
How To Freeze Cooked Prawns
It is easy to freeze cooked prawns. First, cool them down as you don’t want to put warm prawns in the freezer as they can bring the temperature up and other food may spoil. Once they have cooled, freeze them in the same way as you would freeze raw prawns.
Tips For Freezing Prawns
- Make sure that you wash your prawns so that you can use them straight away when you defrost them.
- Make sure that the freezer temperature is correct. Prawns fare best at a temperature of -0.4 F or below but a lot of freezers aren’t set quite as low. If yours isn’t, turn the temperature down, otherwise your prawns won’t last for as long as they could in the freezer.
- You can de-shell your prawns as we have said, but it is better not to. This is because the outer skin acts as an insulator and the prawns stay fresher. It won’t take that much extra time to take off the shells when you have defrosted the prawns.
For How Long Can You Freeze Prawns?
To be on the safe side, only freeze your prawns for up to three months. Some websites say you can freeze them for longer, but you have no idea how long they have been out of the water.
How Do You Defrost Prawns?
It is safest to defrost prawns slowly in the fridge. They can take up to 24 hours to defrost so take them out of the freezer the night before you want to use them. There is a quicker way to defrost them but we’re not entirely sure that this is the best way to go. Put them in a large bowl and cover them in water. Change the water every fifteen minutes. The danger in doing this is that the prawns sit in thawing juices. These juices heat up to room temperature and then bacteria can breed.
Can You Refreeze Prawns?
It isn’t a good idea to refreeze prawns as they will end up mushy when defrosted. This is the case for both raw and cooked prawns. It is best to defrost just as many prawns as you need for a meal. If you have a lot of prawns to freeze, flash freeze them so that they don’t stick together.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Prawns?
Yes, it is a good idea to freeze prawns so that you can enjoy them for a few months ahead. Just be careful to freeze them in the way we have suggested. Fish and seafood are delicate and can spoil even quicker than meat so be careful (see also Freezing Cooked Seafood). It is interesting to note that some fishermen will freeze prawns straight after they have caught them and have got them to shore. They believe that this locks in the freshness. If you live by the sea and there is a fish market, it is a good idea to go there to buy freshly cooked prawns and then freeze them quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you have found out all there is to know about freezing prawns, but in case you want to know more, we have answered a couple of questions here.
Can you freeze prawn curry or Chinese prawn dishes?
We recommend that you only freeze these dishes if they have been made with raw prawns so that their taste and texture are preserved. You can put them in freezer bags in meal-size portions so that you only defrost what you need.
Can you get food poisoning from defrosted prawns?
You can get food poisoning from all sorts of foods. However, if you defrost your prawns in the fridge and then heat them all the way through, you should be safe.