Crawfish is a freshwater crustacean that’s popular when it comes to seafood boils. Besides the name crawfish, depending on where you’re from, it is also known as crayfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs, or yabbies. Whatever you want to call it, these crustaceans are delicious and packed with nutrition. Like other shellfish, crawfish tend to go bad quickly when they die. You’ll need to store them quickly in the fridge to keep it fresh for a couple of more days. What if you need to store them longer? Will the freezer keep the crawfish fresh?
So, can you freeze crawfish? Crawfish can be frozen in the freezer and they actually freeze very well. The crawfish can be frozen either as a whole or just the tail. Preparing them to be frozen is an important step to preserving their taste and texture.
In this short guide, we’ll through the proper way to freeze crawfish, how to prepare them for the freezer, and how long they’ll last. If these are the information you’re looking for, keep reading.
Can You Freeze Crawfish?
Due to their texture, crawfish can be stored in the freezer. This is great for those who want to store crawfish for longer than a month.
You can freeze crawfish with their entire body or just the tail.
Freezing The Whole Crawfish
Crawfish are usually cooked in a large pot and in large quantities. More than likely, you’ll end up with leftover cooked crawfish.
Cooked crawfish are highly perishable and will spoil quickly, especially in hot weather. Therefore, it should be stored in the fridge or the freezer right away after everyone has finish eating.
It should be stored in the fridge if the crawfish are going to be eaten within a day or so.
Otherwise, to keep them from spoiling, you’ll need to store them in the freezer.
The whole crawfish tend to lose quality quicker than just the tail meat. If you’re planning to freeze the whole crawfish, make sure to consume them within a month.
However, the crawfish is still safe to eat after a month, but the quality of it will deteriorate. It’ll just lose some of its flavors and the texture will change a little.
Freezing Crawfish Tail Meat
The tail meat is the most edible part of the crawfish. This is the section that most people will freeze. Once the crawfish are cooked, the tail meat will become hard and it will easily freeze.
Freezing the tail meat is great for storing in the freezer. These tend to last for 3 months or even longer.
Also, freezing just the tail meat will save space in the freezer as well. For the same sized freezer bag, you can store up to 5 times more than you would be freezing the whole crawfish.
Does Crawfish Freeze Well?
Like other seafood, the texture and flavor of the crawfish will deteriorate over time. This is due to freezer burn when the crawfish is stored for a long time.
Both cooked and uncooked crawfish can be frozen and they freezer very well too. However, it’s recommended to cook crawfish first before storing them. Cooking them beforehand will help preserve their flavor and texture.
On the other hand, for uncooked crawfish, they too can be frozen. However, you’ll most have them frozen for about 2 or 3 weeks before the quality starts deteriorating.
How Long Can You Freeze Crawfish?
Cooked crawfish will stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer. After that, they’ll still be safe to eat, but the quality will start to deteriorate. The longer they stay in the freezer, the more the flavor will become bland.
Three months is usually how long they will retain their freshness in a freezer bag or an airtight container. If you want them to last even longer, the crawfish should be stored in a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum sealing the crawfish will remove all excess air from the bag. The less air that’s in the bag, the lesser the chance the crawfish will get freezer burn. By storing them in a vacuum-sealed bag, the crustaceans will have an extra 4 to 5 months in the freezer.
As for live crawfish, they too can be frozen. However, their shelf life in the freezer is very short. The crawfish will last for about 14 days. Since the crawfish hasn’t been cooked, the flesh will easily get freezer burn. Crawfish that is cooked will last longer since almost all the moisture in the flesh is removed.
Live crawfish should always be stored in a freezer bag to prevent them from getting freezer burn too quickly.
How to Freeze Crawfish
When it comes to crawfish, you can either freeze them while it’s still alive or cooked. However, it’s recommended to cook them first so they’ll stay fresh in the freezer longer. Freezing fresh live crawfish will only keep them fresh up to 14 days in the freezer. If you’re planning to eat them within that time, it should be fine.
Freezing Fresh Live Crawfish
When it comes to freezing fresh crawfish, it’s important to freeze them before they die. Once they die, toxins will start to release from their internal organ, and spread to the meat. When this happens, eating the crawfish could make you sick. Additionally, once the crawfish die, bacteria will start growing on them quickly.
Here’s how to freeze fresh crawfish:
- Place the crawfish in a large container and pour clean water into. Let them sit for about an hour.
- Go through the container and throw away any dead crawfish.
- Separate the body from the tail and place the tail in the colander.
- Rinse the tail under running water for about 20 seconds.
- Dip the crawfish tail in diluted lemon juice. This will help preserve the coloration.
- In a freezer paper, put the tail in there. If you have a large quantity, it’s best to make multiple small bags of them.
- In a heavy-duty freezer bag, place the freezer paper of crawfish tail in there.
- Leave about an inch of space at the top of the bag so you can zip the bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly.
- Label and date the bag.
- Place the bag into the back part of the freezer.
You can freeze live crawfish as a whole, but it will take a while for them to be killed as they are being frozen. Therefore, it’s best to kill them before putting the crawfish in the freezer. They will remain fresh for up to 2 weeks.
Freezing Cooked Crawfish
There are many different ways of cooking crawfish, but we’re not going to be covering it in this article. If you’ve cooked some crawfish already and need to store them for the long-term, freezing them is the best option.
Here is how to freeze cooked crawfish:
- After everyone is done eating, look through the leftovers, and find those that have a straight tail. This is a sign that the crawfish is bad and the meat is spoiled. It’s best to throw it out.
- Place all the crawfish in a colander and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes. You want the crawfish as dry as possible.
- In a freezer bag, place the entire crawfish in there or just the tail meat.
- Leave about an inch of space at the top of the bag so you can seal it.
- Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal the bag tightly.
- Label the bag and place it in the freezer.
They will remain fresh for up to 3 months.
How Do You Defrost Crawfish?
If you bought a crawfish in a frozen package, follow the direction on the package. Due to the ingredients used and how it was cooked, following the direction on the package will ensure the best tasting crawfish.
For all other crawfish that are frozen, the simplest way to defrost them is to transfer the entire package of frozen crawfish to the fridge. Let it sit there overnight to thaw. Doing so will help the crawfish retain their texture and flavor.
If you need them quicker, place the entire package into a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes. Putting frozen crawfish into hot water will cook the crawfish and cause them to lose their flavor. Also, the flesh will become mushy and break apart.
Using Frozen Crawfish
When it comes to crawfish, most people will cook boil crawfish. This is the most popular way to cook crawfish. Besides eating them fresh, crawfish are versatile and can be used as part of many different entrees.
Here are some of the delicious entree you can use crawfish with:
- Crawfish bisque
- Crawfish bread
- Crawfish pasta
- Crawfish pie
- Crawfish etouffee
- Crawfish boil
- Fried Crawfish Po’ boy
- Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese Fritters
- Crawfish Cheesecake
- Crawfish Boudin
- Crawfish Crêpe Cake
- Shrimp and Crawfish Roll
- Crawfish and Corn Chowder
- Crawfish Gumbo
- Crawfish Gratin
- Crawfish Salad Puffs
- Crawfish Quesadillas
- Crawfish Burgers
- Crawfish Macaroni And Cheese
- Crawfish fettuccine
As you can see, there are many entrees you can make with crawfish besides eating them fresh. These crustaceans are perfect for making the above entrees and other foods as well.
How Long Does Crawfish Last?
At room temperature, live crawfish will last for a week or even more if they are stored properly. This means storing them in a cool and damp container. You’ll also need to provide them food as well. Bread and cornmeal are great feeders for crawfish.
Once live crawfish are dead, you should never store them in the fridge or the freezer. It’s best to cook them right away or throw them again.
For cooked crawfish, they should be consumed within 6 hours. After that, the crawfish will start to lose moisture and the flesh will begin to shrink. Also, bacteria will start growing on the crawfish as well.
In the fridge, you can store cooked crawfish for up to a week to retain their freshness. Make sure to put them into a sealable freezer bag or an airtight container. The cool air will help prevent them from spoiling, while the plastic bag or container will prevent air from drying out the flesh.
Do you eat the poop in the crawfish?
The poop is located in the intestine, which lines the back of the tail meat. While most people get disgusted by it, they’ll still eat it though.
Why do crawfish turn black?
Crawfish turn black because they have reached maturity. Therefore, they will no longer need to molt out of their shell anymore and it becomes darker. The shell will be much harder and will tougher to peel.