Why Do Prawns Go Mushy?

While prawns may not be everyone’s favorite, they are, without a doubt, a delicacy for some. If you’re a prawn fan, you know they may be a bit pricey, making the disappointment much greater when you discover that they are mushy. You’re left wondering if the prawns were old or if there was something wrong with how you cooked them. So, why do prawns go mushy?

Several factors might cause prawns to become mushy, such as improper freezing. If you froze the prawns properly, but they remain mushy, you may have thawed them improperly. The prawns you purchased might have gone bad without your knowledge, or you may have overcooked them.

If you are experiencing the letdown of mushy prawns, you have come to the right place and are not alone! This article will discuss the causes of prawns going mushy and provide solutions to prevent it from ever happening again.

What Causes Prawns To Go Mushy?

Prawns go mushy due to improper freezing, thawing, or cooking, and if they were already spoiled when you purchased them, the likelihood of you ending up with mushy prawns increases.

It’s happened to most of us; you look forward to making your famous lemon, garlic, and butter-covered prawns only to find that they are mushy and inedible. A significant portion of the issue is, however, outside your control.

Even if you examine your prawns and get rid of the poor ones, there’s no way to “repair” them if they’re even slightly spoiled. The main causes of mushy prawns stem from the tragic trio of improper freezing, defrosting, and cooking (overcooked or undercooked).

Improperly frozen or freezer-burnt prawns are all causes that lead to significant ice crystal formation that mushes up the meat. A beginner might easily mess up the prawn defrosting process by making this rookie mistake.

If prawns are submerged in water for an extended period, they will absorb the water and become overcooked and mushy. This may occur if frozen prawns in a bag are submerged in water for more than 15 minutes. Defrosting prawns in cold water for too long will cause the prawns to absorb the water and get mushy.

Trying to thaw prawns more quickly by leaving them in or washing them under warm or hot water might cause them to overcook and become mushy due to the small amount of flesh they contain.

When the head of the prawns is not removed immediately after harvesting, they might become mushy when you cook them. Digestive enzymes and bacteria in the prawn’s head are released into the body soon after death, making the meat soft and mushy.

How Do You Prevent Prawns From Going Mushy?

Ensuring your prawns do not sit in water for longer than 15 minutes can help prevent them from becoming mushy. When storing prawns in the refrigerator, place them in a colander and allow any excess liquid to drain onto a tray.

This procedure is also beneficial for defrosting prawns overnight. If you don’t like the fishy scent in your refrigerator, you may seal the prawns in a container and discard the water and juices frequently.

If you need to cook prawns quickly and must thaw them, keeping them in their packaging or placing them in a bag and then submerging them in cold water for no longer than 15 minutes will prevent them from becoming mushy. Three ways of defrosting prawns can prevent them from going mushy.

Defrost Prawns In A Holey Bag To Prevent Mushiness

When defrosting prawns, this is the best way. The prawns don’t need to be entirely submerged in water since the perforations in the polybag enable enough water to reach and defrost them.

Instructions

  • First, poke several holes in a plastic bag and then add the frozen prawns.
  • Defrost them fully by submerging the plastic bag in a water basin for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Thaw The Prawns In Cold Brine Water

The cold water helps thaw the prawns uniformly and rapidly, while the salt in the water enhances the prawn’s taste and juiciness.

This approach permits you to keep the frozen prawns in the cold-water brine while you prepare the remainder of the meal. Adjust the salt by adding water if it is too salty and salt if it is not salty enough.

Instructions

  • To 4 cups of cold water, add 2 tbsp of salt. If you have plenty of prawns to thaw, repeat this recipe until you have made enough brine to fully submerge all the prawns.
  • After removing the frozen prawns from the packaging, immerse them in your homemade cold brine for 15–20 minutes (until they’re completely defrosted).
  • Drain the thawed prawns in a colander.

Thaw Prawns In The Refrigerator Overnight

Thawing prawns and other shellfish in this manner is the norm. If you want to ensure your prawns are thawed and ready to cook by the time you need them for a party or know you will have visitors around, this is a fantastic option. The best results are achieved when prawns are allowed to defrost in the fridge for no less than 8 hours.

Instructions

  • Put the frozen prawns in a container that can seal tightly.
  • To defrost them, leave the container inside the fridge for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
  • Before you cook the prawns, give them a quick rinse in cold water.
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Prevent Mushy Prawns By Freezing Them Correctly

Prawns have a 3-month “shelf life” when frozen. If you buy fresh prawns from the market, freeze or eat them as soon as possible. This is because you had no idea when they caught them or how recently they froze them.

Wash The Prawns

Clean the prawns in cold running water as soon as you arrive home. You can choose whether to remove the shells or leave them as is.

Dry The Prawns

Prawns should be dried using paper towels to remove extra moisture before you freeze them.

Place Prawns In Airtight Container

 It would be best if you didn’t freeze prawns in a bag (not even Ziploc bags) because the smell could permeate the rest of your frozen meals. To prevent layers from sticking together, use greaseproof paper to separate them.

Write The Date On The Lid Of The Container

Mark the purchase date, the expiration date, and the date you put the prawns in the freezer on the container.

  • Wash the prawns: Clean them in cold running water as soon as you bring them into the house. You can choose whether to remove the shells or leave them as is.
  • Dry the prawns: Prawns should be dried using paper towels to remove extra moisture before you freeze them.
  • Place them in airtight containers:  It would be best if you didn’t freeze prawns in a bag (not even Ziploc bags) because the smell could permeate the rest of your frozen meals. To prevent layers from sticking together, use greaseproof paper to separate them.
  • Write the date on the container’s lid: Mark the purchase date, the expiration date, and the date you put the prawns in the freezer on the container.

How To Cook Prawns Properly (Without Going Mushy)

Poaching, grilling, tempura, and pan-frying are only a few ways to prepare prawns. Grilling prawns are the most common way to cook them.

You can marinade the prawns in a flavorful sauce before being cooked using this method. Grilling prawns is a fantastic way to prepare them in under 5 minutes. For grilling, choose raw prawns on the larger side as they will hold up better to the heat.

Helpful Tip – Too much heat can make prawns mushy or rubbery, so be sure to remove them from the stovetop as soon as they are done cooking. Prawns are so quick to cook; none of these ways will take more than 5 minutes.

Conclusion

Nothing is more pleasing than enjoying a glass of vino while indulging in a platter of succulent prawns. Therefore, the next time you buy them, ensure they are fresh and follow these guidelines to ensure that your prawns don’t go mushy.

References


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