13 February 2008

Chlorine Curry Shrimp

Last night I made a shrimp curry dish. Lots of spices, coconut milk, that kind of thing. It turned out great except for one thing: the shrimp.

The shrimp smelled and tasted like chlorine. It ruined the whole dish. I ate a few bites and that was all. Later I searched the internets and found a possible answer.

Emeril's site says: If you buy cooked shrimp from the grocery, know this, they likely look pretty because of a preservative chemical that causes the shrimp to be milky white and bright coral but it leaves a heavy chlorine-like taste. The last word is that fresh, unpeeled shrimp are the way to go.

But that's exactly what I did. I bought shrimp from Luken's at Findlay Market and spent about 30 minutes peeling and de-veining them. But they still tasted chlorinated.

Then I read this on a food inspection thread:

Historically in practice, chlorine used to be used in shrimp washing (for the USA) at levels as high as 50ppm for raw material coming in from the ponds, and several washes afterwards decreasing to 20ppm and then even still about 5ppm at the final wash water and maybe even final water put in with the blocks before entering the contact freezer. This goes back almost 15 years ago. Things have changed and some of these levels have fallen but i know some people’s HACCP plans accepted by US buyers have washes at the 20ppm level...

I didn't read the entire thread (it's big) but I think they were talking about procedures used by shrimp farmers in SE Asia. So it's possible that Luken's gets their shrimp from a facility that uses this procedure.

I gave my shrimp a quick rinse but it's possible that a longer washing will rid the chlorine taste. It's also possible it won't. I guess there's only one way to find out.

So if you're thinking about buying shrimp and thinking about buying it from Luken's, be forewarned.


Anonymous said...

I have also been troubled by chlorine shrimp. At first I thought I was nuts, but the second or third time, I came looking. At least I'm not the only one. I will start returning them. Maybe it will help.

christine said...

I'm glad to know that I am not crazy either. I soaked them and washed them repeatedly, and bought them from whole foods.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I bought a bag of frozen shrimp. Once they thawed they smelled of chlorine. However, I rinsed them serveral times and squeezed lots of fresh lemon on them before I cook them in my pasta dish. It's very annoying they come like this. Won't buy them again!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the confirmation! I too thought my taster was off.
Yes, Chlorine in the shrimp. Terrible. I just bought some from Wegmans at $14 per pound. They were previously frozen-no amount of rinsing helped. They completely ruined my scampi.

I am going to complain to the owner. I have a connection. Will keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

So sad, but glad to see the comments, like you it affirms what I knew I was tasting...chlorine. Yuck! Since there seems to be no way to know if the shrimp that you buy will taste like shrimp or chlorine, I may have to give them up. Trying to eat clean and then getting these seems very counterintuitive. We buy frozen as living in Kansas we don't really expect "fresh" shrimp to be fresh.

Anonymous said...

Frozen wild shrimps from Traders Joe are impossible to it - awful smell and chlorine taste.

Geraldine Towers said...

Whole Foods is my choice for fish. The frozen Gulf Shrimp were saturated with a choline substance. Also, they appeared milky white and never turned pink or red whilst cooling.Returning the unused shrimp tomorrow. "Caveat Emptor" (let the buyer beware).

Anonymous said...

Before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico the shrimp were great. We lived in Texas for 38 years and loved going to the coast and cooking up tons of shrimp and enjoying every bite. Now the smell of chlorine is horrible. Even getting shrimp at California coast restaurants they smell and taste of bleach. Why do they treat the shrimp with bleach? So disappointed.