May 21, 2006 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Can I eat this?

I just found some frozen scallops in the back of my refrigerator, and I imagine they have been there for about two years. Is it still good, or should I just toss it?
posted by lilboo to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Toss it.
(I say this as someone who eats a decent share of expired food.)
posted by Airhen at 4:52 PM on May 21, 2006

Well my rule of thumb is if it's frozen it should be fine. Just cook the up and if they smell funky then toss them and order some chinese food to sooth your pain.
posted by Botunda at 4:53 PM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cook them, then decide.
posted by fire&wings at 4:55 PM on May 21, 2006

I suppose the good thing about this question is that you don't have to be in any particular hurry for a satisfactory answer to be found.

Me, I wouldn't eat it. It's most likely safe, but being in your freezer for that long means it has probably lost a good amount of flavor.
posted by invitapriore at 5:03 PM on May 21, 2006

Or the texture will be horrible.
posted by smackfu at 5:18 PM on May 21, 2006

I wouldn't eat it. Freezing doesn't protect food forever, seafood for less than 12 months.
posted by b33j at 5:26 PM on May 21, 2006

I'd toss it. Even if it doesn't make you sick, it's not going to be very tasty. I've found that the longer something is left in the freezer, the less good it tastes when reheated.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:45 PM on May 21, 2006

i found some frozen mussels that were 8 months old. cooked em up and ate a few. I didn't get sick, but they tasted horrible. I threw out the rest.

i vote - cook em up. proceed with caution.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:45 PM on May 21, 2006

I vote "toss them," not because you stand chance of getting sick, but because they are going to be as chewy as shoe leather.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2006

If they've really been in your refrigrator then definitely not as they'll have likley thawed and refrozen a number of times.
posted by fshgrl at 6:14 PM on May 21, 2006

I'd toss them. Think of it this way, what are they worth, maybe $5.00 Now, if you ate them and got sick you'd gladly pay $5.00 for some miracle medicine to make you better. So take the medicine now and buy a new bag.
posted by zgott300 at 6:18 PM on May 21, 2006

I've always found that food in the freezer is okay as long as you know the freezer has been on constantly, but the quality of the food would probably be awful.
posted by tomble at 6:22 PM on May 21, 2006

Despite what some answers have said, there is no reason to assume the food would be dangerous. Indeed b33j provides a link (at odds with her comment) that states specifically:
" Eventually, even well-frozen food will deteriorate and become unpalatable whilst still remaining safe to eat."
So, it may taste a bit average.
fshgrl correctly suggests if it has been thawed and refrozen (any power outages?) it should go, but there is no reason for this to happen if the freezer has operated normally.
posted by bystander at 7:20 PM on May 21, 2006

Part of confusion is that the question mentions them being found in the refridgerator whereas fshgrl's answer supposes a distinction between freezer and refridgerator. I don't know anyone who keeps their fridge cold enough to keep anything frozen, so I think it's safe to assume they were found in the freezer?
posted by juv3nal at 7:58 PM on May 21, 2006

"When in doubt, throw it out."
posted by aberrant at 8:15 PM on May 21, 2006

Scallops are almost always IQF (Individually Quick Frozen), which leads them to have more of a surface area to get freezer burn, which reduces the amount of water on the surface of frozen food. But frozen scallops are very generally "soaked" in a solution of water and STP (Sodium Tripolyhosphate) which causes them to swell with water to 20-40% of their original weight ($$profit!!!!$$$). But the freezer burn would take some of that water back out, so you could wind up with chewy-on-the-outside tender-on-the-inside stuff.
If you are very sure that the freezer was never unplugged or you lost power for a few hours, they're probably not going to kill you. But they are certainly not going to be very tasty.

Eat them if you are broke and starving, otherwise throw them away.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:52 PM on May 21, 2006

Toss it.
posted by ColdChef at 8:53 PM on May 21, 2006

Ya gotta think about it this way :

A new bag of scallops : $9 a pound
Being sick from food poisoning : fluids escaping rapidly through two orifices at once
Cost/benifit analyses : Priceless.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:08 PM on May 21, 2006

Almost all residential freezers are also front-free freezers. They accomplish this by introducing short burst heating cycles to melt the frost but not heat things up enough to melt the frozen food. However, small things, such as IQF scallops, can partially thaw and you'd never know. They're certainly no good anymore.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:23 PM on May 21, 2006

Do they reek of freezer burn?
posted by evil holiday magic at 10:41 PM on May 21, 2006

Not really at odds. I wouldn't eat it because the food is not as tasty as it could be (because freezing doesn't prevent deterioration.) However, the diner probably will not die from this. IANAD or food scientist however.
posted by b33j at 1:42 AM on May 22, 2006

Once I pulled out a package of smoked salmon from the freezer for dinner with a good friend from Milan. Now, nobody likes good food like the Milanese, right? His reaction was "That fish is two years old. You want to eat a fish that died two years ago?"

Point taken.
posted by zaelic at 2:23 AM on May 22, 2006

Here is a Mayo Clinic guide to frozen meat, poultry and seafood use, including frozen storage guidelines. They suggest a 6 month max on frozen seafood.
posted by nanojath at 9:43 AM on May 22, 2006

A new bag of scallops : $9 a pound
Being sick from food poisoning : fluids escaping rapidly through two orifices at once
Cost/benifit analyses : Priceless.

We have a winner!
posted by deborah at 7:28 PM on May 22, 2006

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