Last updated on September 10th, 2022 at 03:28 am
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Seafood is a great source of protein and has many nutrients. Typically, seafood won’t contain as much fat as land meat either.
Octopus is a type of seafood that is enjoyed all across the world and considered a delicacy in many places. This type of seafood comes in many different shapes and sizes.
If you are planning to purchase octopus from the store, you will typically find only small and medium sizes. Most seafood can be frozen but tastes better fresh, but what about octopus?
Can you freeze octopus for a longer shelf life?
Not only can you freeze octopus, but it is also highly recommended. When you freeze octopus meat, the fibers inside the octopus will begin to break down making the octopus meat more tender.
If you do not freeze the octopus meat before cooking, it can be difficult to prepare. The octopus can end up tasting chewy as well.
So freezing octopus is a great way to make it last longer and also to tenderize it.
How Long Can You Freeze Octopus?
Octopus is recommended to be placed in the freezer very shortly after purchase. Octopus does not have a very long shelf life unless frozen.
This is why when you purchase octopus from the store it is typically already frozen. But how long will octopus be good for in the freezer?
Octopus will typically last for about nine months in the freezer. That is assuming you seal it properly so it isn’t exposed to air.
It is best to place the octopus in an air-tight container or a freezer bag. A regular bag will not allow the octopus to last as long due to the cold temperatures.
In a regular bag, the octopus can go bad in just a few months.
How Do You Know If An Octopus Is Bad?
If the octopus meat has been in your freezer for longer than nine months, chances are the octopus is freezer burnt or has even gone bad. No matter how well the octopus was stored in the freezer, it will expire around the nine-month mark.
The meat will begin to lose its texture and taste when stored for too long. Another way octopus goes bad is when it is left to thaw for too long.
If the octopus is left to thaw in the fridge for two days, it will be bad. If you have left it in the fridge or freezer for too long, how do you know for sure the octopus has gone bad?
The best way to know if an octopus has gone bad is by its smell. Octopus meat will typically smell like nothing or seawater. If you smell any other type of odor from the octopus, it has gone bad.
Another way to tell if the meat has gone bad is discoloration. If there is any discoloration the octopus has been spoiled. Additionally, if there is any slime on the octopus after being cooked, it has gone bad.
Can Octopus Be Frozen Twice?
Have you ever pulled out ingredients for a dinner only to change your mind and place everything back in the fridge or freezer? Most things can end up going back into the fridge after being out for a little bit.
What if you had defrosted the octopus meat, can you place it back in the freezer to use another day? Can you refreeze octopus meat?
If the octopus has not completely thawed, you can refreeze it. If it was thawed completely, the octopus can become even softer.
While it may sound great that the meat will be soft, it will also lose its flavor and texture. Yes, you can refreeze octopus, however, it is not really recommended.
Why Is Octopus So Chewy?
Almost everyone has a preference for what type of meat they eat. Some prefer juicy steaks and others love the fresh taste of fish. Whatever meat you prefer typically all depends on taste.
You could have a great cut of meat, but if the meat is not prepared well it can ruin the taste. Octopus is one of those meats that if not prepared properly, can end up tasting chewy.
What makes octopus so chewy and is there a way to prevent it?
Octopus are invertebrates and do not have any hard shell or skin. Much of an octopus’ muscle mass is contained in its eight arms.
An octopus’ muscle mass and tough tissues can make it very difficult to cook. If not prepared properly, the octopus’ muscle and tissue are what can make the meat very chewy.
Most people prefer that their meat not be extremely chewy so proper preparation of the octopus is important to make sure that it doesn’t turn out chewy.
How To Tenderize And Prepare Octopus Meat
Here are a few tips on tenderizing and preparing octopus meat so it won’t be chewy.
Freeze The Meat
If you don’t freeze the octopus meat before preparing, it can be difficult to prepare properly. The meat will be very tough and chewy. Simply freezing the meat for a few days or weeks will soften the octopus up.
Vinegar Brine And Water
This method will soften the octopus, however, it can also end up making the octopus drier too. Since vinegar is an acid, it can end up dehydrating the meat.
Even though your meat may end up becoming dehydrated it will remain soft. Use 2% of vinegar in the brine and soak the octopus for about an hour.
Be sure to cook the octopus on high heat. Do not leave the octopus in the heat for any longer than needed to avoid losing any of the juices.
Salt Brine And Water
This method is very similar to making pickles, except the octopus won’t be fermenting. The salt brine will help to soften the tissues of the octopus.
Some people believe that salt can overpower the taste of the meat. Add only 2% salt to the brine to avoid changing the taste of the meat. Soak the octopus for a minimum of two hours before cooking.
The salt brine will not only tenderize your octopus but can also help eliminate some of the fishiness that happens with seafood.
Use A Pressure Cooker
Since pressure cookers can help tenderize beef and other meats, why not octopus too? Place the octopus in the pressure cooker and then add water. Stop pouring before the octopus is fully covered, this will help keep the taste and moisture of the octopus.
Marinate And Steam
If you already know octopus is on the menu for tomorrow night’s dinner, the best method is to marinate the octopus. You can also thaw out the octopus and marinate it for an hour before cooking as well.
Wrap the octopus and marinate in foil tightly. Be sure there are no leaks in the foil otherwise the marinade will not work.
The marinade itself can work well to tenderize the octopus, but adding the steam will make sure your octopus is very tender. Steam the foil for about an hour before cooking the octopus.