Poor thawing practices can cause thawed seafood to:
- lose weight and increase in toughness (as moisture is lost);
- have its quality and shelf life greatly reduced;
- cook unevenly.
The methods used for thawing frozen seafood include:
- Slow thawing in the refrigerator. This is the best and most common method;
- Microwave oven—now being used more frequently;
- Circulating cold water—used when rapid thawing is required.
Once thawed, seafood should be cooked as soon as possible. If it is not required immediately, it should be treated as any other seafood and properly prepared for storing. Label it with the date and time it was removed from the freezer.
Do not refreeze seafood. EXCEPTIONS:
- very small finfish do not need to be thawed before cooking.
- pre-crumbed, battered or sauced seafood products that are specifically intended to be cooked directly from the frozen state should not be thawed because:
- the moisture from thawing can cause the crumbs or batter to become soggy and fall off;
- the soggy crumbs or batter remaining on the seafood will absorb more oil and not provide a crisp, sealed coating.
Slow thawing in the refrigerator
- place in lower part of refrigerator
- use a sealed container
- keep refrigerator closed
- wash when thawed
Microwave oven thawing
Microwave thawing causes water and juices to seep from seafood, and should be used as a last resort. It must be done immediately prior to cooking because hot spots can allow bacteria to grow very quickly. Crocodile flesh should not be thawed in the microwave.
- Partially cover the seafood with cling wrap or a loosely fitting lid.
- Set thawing time to a minimum, check regularly and thaw until slightly icy. it is better to underthaw than overthaw, as overthawed seafood will start to cook.
- Rest the seafood in the microwave oven for one or two minutes after thawing.