How Does Lime Cook Shrimp?

Scouring the internet for new shrimp recipes because you have acquired a taste for this delicious delicacy? Or maybe you’ve wondered how exactly does lime cook shrimp when most other foods are cooked overheat.

In the United States, shrimp is the most popular seafood, and it’s not too difficult to see why. Shrimp has long established itself in the culinary world as a classy and exquisite dish; loved not only for its taste but also its versatility.

Shrimp is also packed with healthy nutrients; from providing antioxidants to selenium, shrimp does plenty to protect and heal the body faster.

How Does Lime Cook Shrimp?

A popular question among shrimp lovers is: how does lime cook shrimp? 

Identifying uncooked shrimp is easy; uncooked shrimp has a translucent color with a bluish tint, while properly cooked seafood is a white pinkish color. This color change can be likened to what happens to fruits when they ripen; e.g., unripe and ripe bananas, unripe and ripe oranges.  

There are many ways to cook shrimp, and cooking it with fruit (lemon/lime) might come as a shock to newbies in the kitchen. The science behind how lime cooks shrimp is not complicated and can be explained away with some basic knowledge of how citric acids work.

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.

So, does lime cook shrimp? Yes, this innovative method of cooking shrimp can be likened to how ovens work, although cooking with oven heat yields a much different result than cooking with lemon.

How Long Can You Marinate Shrimp in Lime Juice?

If you are using lime or lemon juice to marinate shrimp, you should not let it sit in the lemon juice for longer than 10-20 minutes. Marinate the shrimp for too long in lemon juice, and it might turn out too sour.

Before marinating shrimp in lime juice, you can add some pepper, salt, garlic, and olive oil to your shrimp. After fully coating the shrimp, allow it to sit in the lime juice for 10 – 20 minutes.

We do not recommend that you leave shrimp to marinate in lime juice overnight. The lime juice will cook your shrimp until the texture changes to rubbery.

How Long to Cook Shrimp in Lemon Juice?

Perhaps you decided to wing cooking your shrimp meal, and you’re left with a plate of seriously overcooked shrimp or rubbery, undercooked shrimp.

The texture of your finished product largely depends on personal preference, but depending on the size of shrimp you’re working with, you can cook your shrimp in lime or lemon juice for anything between 15 minutes to an hour.

We would recommend leaving your small shrimps in a bowl of fresh lime juice for 15 minutes. Less than this and you run the risk of undercooked shrimp. Anything more and your shrimp could be overcooked, tough, and dry.

How to Tell When Shrimp Ceviche Is Done?

Shrimp ceviche is traditionally made by cooking shrimp in lime or lemon juice. Cooking your shrimp with this technique requires accurate timekeeping skills and the right ingredients. 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. Properly cooked shrimp will curl up, giving it a different shape than raw or not well-cooked shrimp.

Does Lime Fully Cook Shrimp?

Once raw shrimp sits in lime juice for at least 15 minutes, it starts to cook. The shrimp will not cook as it will with heat, and it is still technically raw, but lime juice will cause shrimp to undergo denaturation.

The denaturation process requires only something acidic such as lime or lemon juice and answers the question of how does lime cook shrimp.

Read also: What to Put in Ramen Instead of Seasoning

Can you Overcook Shrimp in Lime Juice?

Yes, overcooked shrimp will look very different from shrimp that has been cooked to perfection. Overcooked shrimp curls up into very tight balls, with a different texture.

Make sure you stick to cooking shrimp for the right amount of time; you may follow a recipe that details how to cook shrimp the size of the ones you’re working with.

Is it Safe to eat Shrimp in Lime Juice?

 It is safe to eat shrimp cooked in lime juice. Shrimp ceviche is a highly popularized meal in some countries.

However, lime juice does not completely kill all the harmful bacteria, microorganisms, and parasites in shrimp. Concentrated lime juice does a good job eliminating most of these harmful bacteria, but it is not potent enough to completely kill microorganisms.

Children, pregnant women, and the elderly ought to exercise caution when eating shrimp cooked with lime.

Read also: Why Is My Spaghetti Sauce Watery?

Why is my Shrimp Tough?

Tough or rubbery shrimp is a result of overcooking. Follow a recipe when you cook shrimp for the first time or pay attention to the color changing from translucent to pale pink. The shape of properly cooked shrimp is also very telling; well-cooked shrimp has a curved shape, while overcooked shrimp is tightly curled.  

Shrimp is delicious, but you must be careful to only eat shrimp that have been properly cooked; with lime or with heat. Eating uncooked shrimp can lead to food poisoning, so make sure you examine the color of your shrimp – whether you order a plate at a restaurant, or you try your hand at cooking your shrimp at home.