Shrimp tolerate freezing nicely. It's not as nice as fresh shrimp from the coast, but if you don't live near the coast, you'll get your shrimp the way most of it does: individually fast frozen (IQF) or frozen in blocks. Either way is good. Just make sure they're completely thawed before using.
Freezing doesn't kill all bacteria, so if you plan to refreeze the shrimp, also throw them into the ice bath to cool down again before adding to recipes.
Once defrosted, leave shrimp in the refrigerator until ready to use. Do not expose frozen shrimp to direct heat or they will melt.
Thawing frozen shrimp is much easier than defrosting cooked shrimp, so if you can only have one kind of shrimp, go for it! Thawed frozen shrimp should be added to a cooking liquid during the last few minutes of cooking to avoid losing flavor and color.
You can also boil or steam shrimp instead of frying it. This saves oil and adds another dimension of flavor that fried shrimp just can't offer. Shrimp cook very quickly, so be careful not to over-cook them. They become rubbery when overcooked.
Raw or lightly boiled/steamed shrimp is best eaten within 24 hours of cooking because it becomes mushy after that.
Raw shrimp as picked-out flesh may be frozen. However, freezing fresh shrimp in the shell preserves the flavor and texture better. Fill the shrimp with a strong brine (2 teaspoons salt per quart of water), allowing at least 1/2 inch of head space. Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag or container when frozen.
To use frozen shrimp, thaw them completely before cooking. Do not leave uncooked frozen shrimp in the freezer for too long because they will become tough. Shrimp should be cooked until it turns pink; if it turns white after removing from the oven, it's done.
Shrimp should be stored in the refrigerator; however, if you must store them in the freezer, freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. When frozen, transfer to a zipper-lock bag or other container. Thaw frozen shrimp before using.
To retain taste and texture, good grade shrimp will be flash-frozen shortly after being harvested. Frozen shrimp may and will spoil, especially if they were previously frozen, thawed by the fish counter, and then frozen again when you brought them home. Spoilage bacteria are active throughout this process, so even frozen shrimp will eventually become rotten.
The best way to avoid buying spoiled shrimp is to only buy what you can eat right away. You should also keep an eye on it once you get home, and don't let it thaw out completely before cooking it. The ice that covers most packages of frozen shrimp will protect them while they sit in your freezer until you're ready to use them. As long as there's some ice left on the shrimp, they're okay to eat.
If a lot of your shrimp has turned gray or black, that means it's been in the freezer for too long. Throw it out! Freezing doesn't preserve color, so if it was white to begin with, it'll turn out gray or black once it's defrosted.
Shrimp does go bad if it sits around for too long after it's been defrosted. However, if you freeze it first, that will preserve its quality for a longer period of time. So if you can, try to buy fresh shrimp and freeze it before its gone bad.
Boiling shrimp that are still frozen is the most convenient way to prepare them. The ice will just melt away as the water thaws and cooks the flesh at the same time. Because of their size and structure, frozen shrimp require less cooking time than unfrozen shrimp. Just boil them for about 10 minutes or until they turn pink.
Shrimp can be frozen raw or cooked, in or out of the shell. Freeze shrimp uncooked, with heads removed but shells still attached, for best storage life and quality. Cooked shrimp should be quickly chilled before freezing. Freeze in freezer containers or freezer bags with a 1/4-inch headspace. Make sure to label them properly so you can find them again!
Freezing doesn't change the flavor of shrimp, but it does mean that if they have been treated badly (like many farm-raised shrimp) then they will taste like it! Before cooking, defrost shrimp in the refrigerator overnight or pour boiling water over them for 5 minutes then transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.
Shrimp can also be frozen in their shells, without any additional ingredients. This is useful if you want to save time when cooking them later. Just add 2 minutes to your cooking time for every 10 pounds of shrimp.
If you want to freeze peeled and deveined shrimp, drop them into a bowl of ice water to quick-chill them before sealing them in a freezer bag. This prevents ice crystals from forming inside the bag and causing the shrimp to become mushy when you thaw them later.
Of course, you can also freeze other seafood items such as scallops, squid, and fish. The choice is yours!