Vigo has already turned on its famous lights, the Lottery announcement 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 shopping as soon as possible. And more this year: inflation seems unstoppable and the prices of everything are rising.
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 of which is reached in the days leading up to the festivities. And the good news is that most of them can be frozen. Now, not just anyway.
When buying seafood we must distinguish well the different families, 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 properly, 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 properly freeze these we must make sure we 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.
Crabs and crabs should always be kept with their legs facing upwards, to avoid that, while they freeze, the broth of the chunk is lost.
These large crustaceans they last optimally three to four weeks in the freezer, without losing a bit of their quality, so they can be bought right now for the main Christmas meals.
Freezing small crustaceans: crayfish, prawns, prawns …
It is the turn of prawns, prawns, crayfish, red prawns … Many turn directly to the classic already cooked frozen prawn, but the truth is that a minimum effort is enough to enjoy a much more palatable product if we cook it ourselves. For it, 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.
Freeze 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. For it we must review the specimens and wash them wellBefore 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 sudden, but in the case of shell shellfish you have to be especially careful, Well, they do not hold anything once defrosted: they should be cooked immediately after defrosting.
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, because it is difficult to know if they are dead or not before putting them in the freezer.
How to defrost
Defrost properly it 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 the seafood that we have previously cooked must be defrosted in the refrigerator, so that the defrosting process proceeds slowly. Ideally, take them out of the freezer a day before consumption, although they will last well in the fridge for two or three days.
Seafood frozen raw can also be thawed in the refrigerator, but in this case there is no margin that is worth it: although crustaceans hold up more than bivalves Ideally, cook them as they have defrosted.
If we are going to cook the seafood, there is no problem in doing it with the product as we remove it from 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 marinera 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, do not forget to visit your fish shop before prices skyrocket.
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