How to Freeze & Unfreeze Live Crawfish

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Crawfish should be defatted before freezing.
Crawfish should be defatted before freezing. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Called "crawdads," "mudbugs" or "crayfish," crawfish are beloved crustaceans of the U.S. South and West, often associated with the cuisine of Louisiana. The lobster-like creatures reside in freshwater lakes and streams and range from 3 to 8 inches in length. The flesh of crawfish is tender and their shells turn a bright red when cooked. Freeze crawfish either whole or tail-meat only. Store any unused crawfish meat for future use by wrapping it securely before freezing, and consume it within two months.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander
  • Lemon juice
  • Freezer paper
  • Plastic bag
  • Bowl or pan with cover
  • Microwave (optional)

Wash the fat off the crawfish to abet freezing. Rinse under running water in a colander.

Dip the crawfish meat in diluted lemon juice to help maintain its coloration.

Wrap the crawfish in freezer paper and put this package into a plastic bag. Make small multiple bags of crawfish if you have a large quantity. Spread out the packages in the freezer to allow for air circulation. Make sure the temperature in the freezer is about zero degrees.

Defrost the package overnight in the refrigerator, placing the frozen crawfish into a bowl or pan with a cover.

Thaw the crawfish quickly by running cool water over the frozen package while the crawfish are still in the plastic bag, about 30 minutes per pound. Microwave the frozen crawfish for an even faster method, using the defrost setting at three to five minutes per half pound.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leave the frozen crawfish in the plastic wrapping while thawing under running water. Direct contact with the water can result in textural, color and taste changes.

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