How To Tell if Shrimp is Bad?

Shrimp is one of the most popular seafood choices for people since it pairs well with so many other fresh ingredients.

If you’re grocery shopping for a nutritious and flavorful option to cook with, reach for shrimp. It’s low in calories, high in protein, and offers a ton of health benefits.

There are a few variables that affect the lifespan of shrimp, including the type of package you buy and whether you cooked them in oil or water.

How to tell if shrimp is bad? The color of a shrimp should be vivid and its aroma should not have an unpleasant fishy or ammonia smell. Bad shrimps often fade in color when they are cooked or raw and textures will be slimy.

In this article, I’ll cover four ways to tell shrimp is bad, how long does shrimp last as well as discuss some simple tips on how to keep it fresh so that you can enjoy it guilt-free.

How To Tell if Shrimp is Bad?

Determining how long shrimp last can be tricky, but there are a few tips that you can use to determine the freshness of your shrimp.

1. Foul Smell

If you notice a foul odor or see any discoloration in the shrimp, it has more than likely gone bad. An ammonia-like smell is one surefire way of knowing that your shrimp isn’t fresh anymore.

Confirm that your shrimp is fresh by smelling it. When selling shrimp, the rule of thumb is to only display the product for one day. If you can still detect a faint seafood scent when you buy it, you should proceed with caution because this could mean that it’s not as fresh as possible.

2. Slimy Texture

Another telltale sign that your shrimp may no longer be good comes with how it feels. If you notice your shrimp looks sticky or has a slimy appearance, chances are it may have gotten old.

Shrimp is very fresh when the juices are squirting out of the meat. Unlike other fish, shrimp go bad quickly once the water content is lost during processing or storage.

If you’re not sure whether your shrimp has gone bad or not, you should do a simple food safety test. Place the shrimp on a plate and see whether it’s watery.

If it is, there’s a good chance that your shrimp no longer tastes fresh since moisture is a sign of rot. Hence, if you notice that your shrimp feel slimy then it’s best to throw them out.

3. Off Color

Sometimes when you notice off-color in your shrimp, it’s a sign that they have spoiled. The flesh of fresh shrimp has a translucent appearance and turns bright red once they are cooked.

If your shrimp looks discolored, you should avoid this product since it will not provide the same level of nutrition or flavor as one with a more vibrant appearance.

4. Changes in Texture

Another common sign of spoilage is a change in texture. If you notice your shrimp become rubbery or lose their firmness, it’s probably time to toss them away.

Shrimp are very fresh when they are soft and have an almost jelly-like interior. Once the product has gone bad, the texture will turn tough and you won’t be able to chew through it as easily.

How Long Does Shrimp Last?

In general, shrimp lasts for about three days in the fridge after purchase. However, there are a few variables that affect the lifespan of shrimp, including how it’s packaged and whether you cook it with oil or water.

1. Packaging

Shrimp, more so than other types of seafood, can go bad very quickly if it’s not stored properly in the store.

Unpackaged shrimp should be kept on ice at all times to ensure that it doesn’t spoil. If you are shopping at a grocery store, look for packages that are extremely cold to the touch.

Additionally, make sure that if you purchase shrimp in a bag that it feels heavy and is tightly sealed. If you notice any gaps or leaks in the package, there’s a good chance your shrimp will last less than three days at home.

2. Cooking with Oil

Another variable that affects how long your shrimp lasts is whether you cook it with oil or not.

Shrimp can last up to five days if cooked in water and three days when cooked in oil so there’s a slight difference depending on how you prepare them.

3. Cooking Temperature

Cooking temperature also affects how long your shrimp lasts. Make sure that your shrimp is thoroughly cooked before you decide to eat it.

Overcooked shrimp has the tendency to become rubbery and tough in texture. You should also avoid washing your shrimp because doing so can lead to bacteria growth. Keep in mind, when you do cook your shrimp, discard any leftover broth since it can harbor harmful bacteria.

4. Cooking Time

Finally, cooking time affects how long you have to consume your shrimp before it goes bad. Shrimp lasts for up to three days in the fridge if cooked within a day of purchasing.

If you want to keep a couple of extra days, steam your shrimp and leave it in the freezer for a couple of hours before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer.

What Color Is Bad Shrimp?

There are a few different colors of bad shrimp depending on how long they have been sitting out. Depending on whether your shrimp is cooked or not, the color change may vary slightly.

Shrimp is well known for its bright red color. Raw shrimp is usually gray or light pink, but once it is cooked the exterior becomes bright red and translucent.

Shrimp color changes from the original translucent white to a milky, dark color.

If you notice discoloration such as green, grayish-black, or dark orange in your shrimp then it most likely has gone bad and should be thrown away immediately.

What Do Black Spots on Shrimp Mean?

Black spot occurs within hours or days after harvesting shrimp and is not a sign of spoilage. The black dots spotted on the back of the shrimp are melanophores, which contain dark pigment.

It is not harmful to cook or eat this type of shrimp. However, there is speculation that the melanophores may contribute to faster spoilage when left out at room temperature.

Once your shrimp is cooked it has no effect on its nutritional value or flavor.

Final Words

In this article, we discussed how shrimp and seafood, in general, have a very short shelf life and what can cause them to spoil. I also covered the different ways in which shrimp can go bad and how to avoid it.

Hope this article was helpful in learning how to keep your shrimp fresh while also expanding your culinary horizons!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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