Freshwater crustaceans are beneficial to the human body when prepared well before eating. Crawfish is a freshwater crustacean that looks and tastes like a small red lobster and can be made edible after it has been steamed or boiled.
Crawfish has a lot of nutritional value. It contains a substantial amount of vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, iron, protein, and is low in fat.
Crawfish can be used to enhance the sweetness of several dishes and can also serve as finger food or appetizer. The small size of crawfish would make you purchase a large quantity for continuous consumption. Crawfish can lose its flavor and taste if it is not properly stored. What do you do as preservation, for it to retain its low salinity and sweetness?
Can you freeze crawfish? Yes, you can. Crawfish will stay fresh and healthy for consumption in the freezer for up to 3 months if you properly store it. After this freezing period, crawfish will still be safe to eat but its taste, texture, and the savory smell would have deteriorated.
Crawfish can be enjoyed as finger food with cajun seasoning, dipping sauce, or butter. You can also tuck crawfish into local dishes like crawfish bisque and étouffée.
What Kind of Crawfish Freezes Best?
Like other seafood, the quality of crawfish will deteriorate over time in the freezer. This can be a result of freezer burn or how the crawfish was processed and packaged before freezing. Both cooked and uncooked crawfish will withstand the cold temperature of the freezer efficiently.
Although, It is advisable to cook your crawfish before freezing. The heat from cooking crawfish will help preserve its taste, quality and remove toxins that might be present in it. Cooked crawfish last longer in the freezer because almost all the moisture content would have been removed.
Uncooked crawfish also freeze well but will not last long under the cold temperature. It gets freezer burn easily and will only last for about 2-3 weeks in the freezer before the quality starts to deteriorate.
How to Freeze Crawfish
To keep your crawfish tasty and well-salted while freezing, you should store it properly. The procedure for freezing crawfish is very simple and requires you to be extra cautious when doing it. You can freeze your crawfish cooked or uncooked.
Freezing Uncooked Crawfish
To preserve uncooked crawfish by freezing, you would need a large plastic container or bowl, running water, diluted lemon Juice, freezer paper, heavy-duty freezer bags, and a marker.
Step 1: Remove The Dead Crawfish
Place your crawfish in a large plastic container and pour clean water into it. Let your crawfish remain in the clean water for about an hour. Go through the container and dispose of any dead crawfish.
Step 2: Color Preservation
Detach the tail from the body and rinse it under running water for about 2 minutes to remove dirt. Then, you dip rinsed crawfish tail inside diluted lemon juice. This will help your crawfish in retaining its color.
Step 3: Portion Your Crawfish
If you are freezing a large quantity, you should have small separate bags for them. This is to allow you to thaw them faster for consumption. Wrap your crawfish in the freezer paper before placing it in heavy-duty bags for freezing.
Step 4: Storage
Place your crawfish tail in freezer paper before putting it in a heavy-duty freezer bag to increase the chance of you not having air in it. Leave at least an inch of space at the top of your freezer bag before sealing it and press each bag well to expel air.
Step 5: Freezing Your Crawfish
Label each freezer bag to know the content and date of freeze. Place each bag at the back part of your freezer where it will not be punctured. Crawfish will freeze continually at a cold temperature of 0°F.
Freezing Cooked Crawfish
You would need a colander, freezer bag, marker, and a moderate freezer temperature.
Step 1: Clean Your Crawfish
Check if your leftover crawfish has a straight tail before freezing it. If it has a straight tail, you should throw it out as it means that your crawfish has become unfit for consumption.
Place all your crawfish in a colander and allow it to stay for at least 20 minutes. This is to keep your crawfish dry and healthy for freezing.
Step 2: Portioning Your Cooked Crawfish
Place the whole crawfish or crawfish tail of serving-size packages in separate freezer bags. This will help you thaw only the quantity you wish to consume.
Step 3: Storage
Place your crawfish in a freezer bag and make sure you leave an inch of space at the top so you can seal it well. Before sealing it, squeeze each bag well to make it airtight.
Step 4: Freezing
Label each bag to know its content and date of freeze. Allow it to freeze at a regulated temperature of 0°F to keep its quality.
How to Defrost Frozen Crawfish
If you bought frozen crawfish from a local retail store, follow the steps on how to defrost it on the package.
Generally, you can defrost frozen crawfish by leaving it in the refrigerator. Place the entire bag of frozen crawfish in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. This method of thawing might be time-consuming but helps retain the texture and flavor to the maximum.
If you need to thaw your crawfish faster, place the entire bag in a bowl filled with cold water for about 30 minutes.
How to Recognize Spoiled Crawfish
When you leave your crawfish unused and exposed to air for a very long time, it can grow bacteria that lead to its decomposition. When your crawfish decomposes, it gives off an unpleasant rotting smell and has a slimy texture.
Make sure you eat your crawfish before it gets spoiled to avoid food poisoning and stay healthy.