why does lime cook shrimp

The citric acid in the lime breaks down the proteins in the shrimp and prepares the meat for consumption, turning the flesh an opaque pink and destroying harmful bacteria.
why does lime cook shrimp

Gone Fishing

why does lime cook shrimp

First and foremost, ceviche must be made with the absolute freshest seafood available. Fish is traditional, but shrimp, scallops, even squid will work just fine. Just make sure its fresh.

Because seafood lives in, well, the sea, the bacteria and enzymes naturally present in it are used to operating at much much colder temperatures than those in, say, a cow. Because of this, even at regular fridge temperatures, they multiply much faster than bacteria from land-dwelling animals, which is what causes seafood to spoil so much faster than its terrestrial counterparts. With perfect care, fish can be stored for several days before it starts to go over the peak, but still, the fresher the better.

Heres how to buy select the best fresh fish.

  • Go to a trusted source. The best is obviously to catch it yourself, or if youre lucky, have a dad who likes to go fishing for stripers three or four times a week (thanks, Dad). Next best is a dedicated fishmonger. Look for shops that are clean, busy, and scrupulous about their fish. If you see fish hanging out in pools of melted ice, chances are, the fishmonger doesnt care much about freshness. Fish should always be stored on top of and under crushed ice, or in refrigerated display cases on top of ice. If the fish is treated roughly, folded in half, stacked haphazardly, you might want to think twice.
  • Follow your nose. Fresh fish should not have a fishy smell at all, at most giving off a faintly briny, ocean-like aroma. The same rules apply for shrimp, scallops, squid, and other shellfish. If your fishmonger wont let you smell his fish, find a new fishmonger, or eat burgers instead.
  • Look for firm flesh. Fresh fish flesh should have a clean, slightly translucent appearance that doesnt give when you push. If you poke it with your finger and leave a permanent dent, the flesh has most likely started to decompose.
  • Look it in the eye. Fresh fish should have bright, clear, moist looking eyes. Avoid fish with dark eyes or eyes that have a cloudy film over them.
  • Check the gills. They should be bright red and distinct. If they are brownish or have begun to stick together, the fish has been out of the water for far too long.

Virtually any fish will work for ceviche, but I prefer to use semi-firm, white-fleshed ocean fish such as sea bass, striped bass, grouper, or flat fishes like sole or flounder. The key is not to get locked into one fish before you get to the market—whatever is freshest is what you should go with, even if its not what you originally planned. The exception are certain types of fishes in the mackerel family, such as mackerel, sardines, or tuna. Other oily fishes like bluefish or jack dont make the best ceviche either, nor do freshwater fish like trout or catfish.

For ceviche, you dont need skin, so ask your fishmonger to remove it for you, or if youve got the skills, do it yourself at home.

Once You’ve Got It Home

why does lime cook shrimp

Like disagreeing with your wife, the absolute best way to store fish is to not do it at all. Catch it or buy it, then cook it immediately. If youve absolutely got to hold it, you might think that tossing it in the refrigerator is good enough. Think again. At normal fridge temperatures (around 38°F), fish will decompose noticeably even overnight. So how do you keep it even cooler? With ice.

Heres what you do: Line a shallow plastic tray or a plate with a couple of frozen ice packs or a layer of ice cubes, then place a layer of plastic wrap directly over them to cover. Lay your fish straight onto the plastic in a thin, even layer (be gentle!), cover with another piece of plastic, then top them off with a couple more ice packs. Store this whole get up on the bottom shelf of your fridge, right at the back. This should keep your fish down to at least 32 degrees. Ultra fresh fish can be kept like this for up to two or three days, but any longer is pushing it.

I like to keep my fish on ice the same way while working with it, placing the tray with the ice packs directly on my counter. That way, your fish will stay cold even at room temperature for several hours.

Does raw shrimp cook in lime juice?


Does lime juice cook raw shrimp?

Since lime juice is acidic, it can actually “cook” the shrimp as it does in a dish like ceviche.

Why does lime cook fish?

As the pieces of fish sit in the marinade, the citric acid from the juice slowly causes the flesh’s proteins to denature, in very much the same way that heating will. The result is raw fish with the opaque appearance and firmed texture of cooked fish.

What does lime do to seafood?

The acid in the citrus forms an extremely low pH condition to denature the fish protein networks, much the same as heating would. This results in the seafood becoming opaque and more firm in texture. as one of his favourite dishes. “It’s cooked in lime juice.

Does lime turn shrimp pink?

The citrus from the lime helps to break down the proteins in the shrimp leaving the shrimp safe for consumption. This marinating time turns the flesh to opaque pink and destroys any harmful bacteria.

What does lime do to shrimp?

The citric acid in lime cooks shrimp by breaking down the proteins in the meat. Lime juice kills the bacteria in shrimp and during cooking, the translucent color of shrimp changes to a whitish color, much like the pale pink color of fish changes to white during cooking. Or, how an egg yolk is yellow as an uncooked egg and turns grey after cooking.

What are the side effects of eating shrimp?

Shrimp allergy can be identified from signs and symptoms that appear after consuming shrimp or smelling it, such as itching, the appearance of red plaques on the skin, swelling in the face, especially in the eyes and mouth, and in the throat creating the feeling of a lump in the throat.

How to cook shrimp in lime juice?

For the lemon/lime juice method to work, you must only use fresh, full-strength lime or lemon juice. Soak your shrimp in the fresh lemon or lime juice for 15-30 minutes and allow to “cook”. Watch out for the color of the shrimp which will change to light pink, and the texture will remain firm.

Can you eat raw shrimp with lime?

Raw shrimp can be eaten with lime as a way to add flavor and extra nutrients. Lime is a good source of vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron from food. Adding lime to your raw shrimp also adds a tart flavor that can perk up any dish. So go ahead and give it a try!

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