Seafood Thawing Guide

frozen salmon fillets

At World Port Seafood, we take great pride in delivering seafood as fresh as they day it was caught. Many of our fish fillets and shellfish are frozen immediately after catch and stay that way through preparation and delivery so that you can experience a taste and texture on par with catching and preparing it fresh from the water.

And because each fish is delivered flash-frozen at temperatures up to 60º below zero and individually vacuum-sealed, we’re often asked how to defrost salmon, or how to thaw shrimp, or if you can cook tilapia from frozen. Those are great questions! Read on an follow the World Port Seafood How to Thaw Seafood guide, and cook confidently!

Cooking from Frozen

It goes without saying, cooking fish and shellfish from frozen is the epitome of at-home seafood convenience. And you’ll be happy to know World Port Seafood offers a variety of seafood that cooks to exquisite results right from the freezer. Although, there are some minor caveats for getting the best results, and it all begins with how you want to cook the item more so than the item itself.

In short, make sure the whole of your frozen entrée is cooking simultaneously. So methods such as baking, broiling, boiling, or even sous vide are suggested. In cases where each individual item is smaller than say a 6 oz. fish fillet or fish steak, such as our (delicious) Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp, you can even choose to steam or poach. If you do choose to pan sauté or grill, make sure to keep your pan or grill covered while cooking to trap the heat inside.

Naturally, no matter the method, you’ll need a slightly longer cooking time when cooking from frozen – anywhere between an extra 2 – 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the item and method you choose. Here are cook times for some of our customer favorites to give you an idea.


Why is Thawing Important?

Fish are largely made up of water, 60% to 80% depending on the species. Since many World Port Seafood selections are frozen only a few hours after harvest, this allows us to preserve a great deal of the fishes’ moisture within the meat. Naturally, on the other hand, if a fish dries out, the meat’s structure will change along with it. Unappetizing to say the least.

Now, during any freezing process, the water in and around your meat will become ice, and it’s these ice crystals that have the most impact on the meat. The slower the freeze, like in your home freezer, the more time allow large ice crystals to form. World Port Seafood’s flash-freezing is so quick only minute ice crystals form in and around the meat allowing for the natural structure of the cells, thereby the meat, to stay better intact affording you truest texture and taste.


Best Thawing

At World Port Seafood, we believe that the more gradually you can let your seafood thaw, the better the results. Remember those teensy ice crystals? They’re just as important in thawing as they were in freezing. A slower thaw helps them convert back into moisture and sink back into the meat, infusing it with the most juiciness your fish can muster. So for best results, take as many fish fillets or seafood steaks from your freezer that you want to serve, and place them in your refrigerator overnight. But if you forgot to plan ahead, there is a secondary option we can recommend.

how to thaw frozen fish

Fast Thawing

If have you have an hour or so before you need to start cooking dinner, place your seafood selections in a large bowl or your sink and cover them with cold water. Cold as you can get. After 30 minutes sidle-up to your selections and give them a poke (gently!). If the centers are still frozen, change out the water to maintain the ice-cold temperature and go busy yourself for another 30 minutes. Keep checking them every 30 minutes until the center isn’t frozen.

Bad Thawing

Now, you might be tempted to speed up the process by replacing the cold water with hot water. It’s a logical conclusion, for sure, but let’s just say that peanut butter and jelly would turn out better. For one, hot water will thaw the edges of your meal well before your center creating an unbalanced (read: yucky) taste when cooked. For two, you didn’t provide enough time for those little ice crystals to return to their meaty home, infusing it with the indulgent juiciness it needs to cook better and taste great. For three, warm water can turn your meat into a breeding ground for bacteria to form that our fisheries went to great efforts to prevent.

Now that your seafood is thawed, ready your complements and get ready for compliments because it’s time to cook. And don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you think. Check the World Port Seafood Cooking Guide for confidence every step of the way.

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