Can You Freeze Imitation Crab Meat


Are you sure it’s real crab in your sushi rolls? Well, it does taste like crab right? Imitation Crab Meat seems to be an alternative processed food, yet it has the flavor and consistency like the real one. 

See How Many Sushi Rolls You Need To Feed A Crowd

There are some similarities to the process of freezing salmon also.

Just like any other perishable seafood product, Imitation Crab meat should be properly stored to avoid taste deterioration or spoilage, so how long is imitation crab meat good for?

It can be purchased and produced less expensively than real crab meat. 

Restaurants often refer to these as “krab sticks” on their menus to emphasize that it is only a food replica. But what could be so fascinating about this imitation for it to gain popularity and sales on the market?  

Artificial Crab Meat Ingredients

CanI Freeze Imitation Crab Meat?

Freezing imitation crab meat like an ice crystal will slow down its bacterial growth. If you bought a fresh pack it would be necessary to immediately put it in a freezer. But it has a high possibility of having it already frozen. It must be placed in the freezer without opening the packaging. 

Breaking it by portion will avoid sealing and unsealing the pack, which may cause the smell to spread to other foods. It would be better to wrap it with plastic before putting it in a freezer-friendly bag or air-tight container. You may thaw the frozen imitation crab before keeping it in your freezer. 

Will the Freezing of Imitation Crab Meat Affect the Flavor

Due to its need to be kept at a low degree temperature, the accumulated ice crystals may damage the cell structure of the meat causing it to lose flavors. It is not recommended to freeze it again as it will become mushy and doughy. Imitation meat crab has artificial flavors to achieve its real taste and texture. 

Will the Freezing of Imitation Crab Meat Affect the Flavor
Will the Freezing of Imitation Crab Meat Affect the Taste

The fish used is an addition to make it agreeably crab-like. Loosely formed crab sticks found on trays usually take only 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator before they spoil or lose their taste. While the frozen packs must be used and cooked within 6 months. 

How to Safely Thaw Frozen Imitation Crab Meat?

Changing frozen to liquid state or thawing, this process frees the imitated crab from the effect of cold when warmed up. 

Thawing this mock crab-flavored seafood relies on how urgent you need it. The safer way is to remove the packaging or container with the product from the freezer, then let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If you’re in a hurry, for faster defrosting and thawing run it under cold tap water. 

Remember to do not expose it to the wrong temperature for more than 2 hours, it contains fish which is favorable for microorganisms to grow. After thawing, the imitation crab can not be refrozen.

How to Defrost Artificial Crab Meat?
How to Defrost Artificial Crab Meat?

How to Defrost Imitation Crab Meat?

Sudden high temperatures can quickly cause spoilage that will lead to food poisoning. If you do not want your sticks to be drippy, follow these proper ways to defrost them.  

  1. Transfer the needed pieces from the freezer to the fridge. The smooth transition of temperature will keep the food’s taste and shape.
  2. Room temperature is also suitable for defrosting.
  3. Chop the frozen sticks into pieces and dip them in a bowl to melt them faster. 
  4. Steaming is also an option if you need to unfold the sticks for stuffing. 
  5. Put it in a microwave on a “defrost mode”. Be careful to not overdo it.

Never defrost it above the normal temperature, it will have an unpleasant rotten smell. 

How to Tell Imitation Crab Meat Is Bad?

Preservatives and freezing slow down its contamination. After its shelf life, the food will likely be foul and non-consumable. What can be the signs to know if the synthetic crab is no longer edible?

  • Check if it already has a foul smell, sour taste, or slimy facade.
  • Look at the packaging and refer to its expiration date.
  • Give it a sniff and check if it already has a fishy smell.
  • Do not use it anymore if the taste has turned sour.
  • If other parts become solid white
  • Molds are indicators of breakdown.

Take these hints seriously to avoid wasting purchases and intake of bad imitation crab meat.

Common Ingredients In Imitation Crab Meat

Here are the ingredients that help mimic the crab meat: 

  • Fish 

It may not contain any real crab, but it has fish as an ingredient for flavor enhancement. 

  • Surimi 

This gel-like substance has heavily processed mashed-up fish.

  • Pollock

The most common type of fish used. It is less flavorful, making it more convenient for imitation crab.

  • Mackerel 
  • Cod 
  • Barracuda
  • Water

To attain the right texture and keep low cost production. 

  • Sugar 

It helps the product freeze and thaws properly. It adds sweetness. 

  • Starch

Potato, corn, or wheat are best to make it firm and grease-free.   

  • Vegetable Oil 

Makes the texture, color, and shelf life of the sticks on point. Oil can harden the meat when frozen.

  • Protein 

Egg white and soy are the usual proteins used. When refrozen it contributes to possible bacterial growth.  

  • Preservatives/Additives 

Achieves the right texture and taste, but it reduces the nutritional value.