Soak shrimp in milk for up to 30 minutes to remove the taste of iodine but note that changing the taste won’t remove the iodine.
If you don’t know much about iodine, you can be forgiven for thinking it might be negative for the body, but actually, it’s important for your health.
Iodine is an important mineral highly to the thyroid gland. It is needed to produce the thyroid hormone which regulates your metabolism.
Iodine is particularly important for pregnant women because it plays a big role in the brain development of fetuses.
So, we all need to make sure it makes up a part of our diet. That said, iodine should only be consumed in micro amounts—too much can make you sick.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you need to like the taste of iodine or even put up with it. Many people dislike shrimp with an overly strong taste of iodine.
Is There a Lot of Iodine in Shrimp?
Yes. According to an article by Kaitlyn Berkheiser of Healthline, “Three ounces of shrimp contain about 35 mcg of iodine, or 23% of the daily recommended intake.”
23% of your recommended intake is fairly significant, though do note that higher amounts can be found in other seafood.
Some of the highest levels of iodine found in seafood include cod (42-66%) and variants of seaweed—kombu kelp, wakame, and nori.
What Does Iodine Taste Like?
Iodine is typically characterized as having a salty or even brine-like taste.
You will likely associate the taste of iodine with salt as table salt is usually fortified with iodine (sea salt isn’t).
You may notice the smell over the taste which can be sharp and irritating to the nose.
Note that the iodine taste in shrimp is not related to it being spoiled. So, if you taste or smell iodine, it doesn’t mean your food is bad.
What Causes Shrimp to Have an Iodine Taste?
Shrimp absorb iodine when they consume plankton which eats a chemical known as ‘bromophenol.’
Iodine is naturally present in seawater, so the taste of iodine in shrimp is nothing unusual. It is not a byproduct of processed shrimp and should be expected.
How Do You Remove the Iodine Taste in Shrimp?
Sara Moulton, Good Morning America’s kitchen aid, advises to “soak it in milk for about a half hour before cooking.”
This also appears to be a popular method on fishing forums as well. On the Pensacola Fishing Forum, several users mention soaking shrimp in milk.
One user even advised diluting milk with water “50/50.”
And the idea of leaving the shrimp in milk overnight was also suggested, though 30 minutes will probably be sufficient.
Interestingly, while milk may neutralize the taste of iodine, milk is also a top source of iodine, and so by soaking shrimp in milk, you may even be increasing the level of iodine.
Two other methods you can try are soaking shrimp in a brine solution for 15 minutes or soaking in water with a few tablespoons of baking soda.
Also worth noting, freezing shrimp will not reduce the taste of iodine, though it has been noted to work to some degree on fish.
If all else fails, you could also add a variety of other condiments and sauces or cook the shrimp with other foods.
However, this will create an entirely new meal and your shrimp won’t taste just like shrimp.
How Much Iodine Should I Consume per Day?
According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, how much iodine you consume a day depends on your age.
Here’s what they suggest:
- Birth to 6 months—110mcg.
- Infants 7 to 12 months—130mcg.
- Children 1 to 8 years—90mcg.
- Children 9 to 13 years—120mcg.
- Teens 14 to 18 years—150mcg.
- Pregnant teens and women—220mcg.
- Breastfeeding teens and women—290mcg.
‘mcg’ stands for micrograms, which is a millionth of a gram, and a thousandth of a milligram. 150mcg, the recommended daily allowance for adults, would be 0.00015 grams.
Also note that pregnant teens and women, and breastfeeding teens and women need a much higher amount of iodine than adults—almost double.
How to Lower Iodine Levels?
If you’re concerned about consuming too much iodine, you could take note of other foods that are high in iodine and not eat them alongside shrimp.
Aside from seafood, high levels of iodine can be found in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk, as well as eggs.
The most practical way to reduce iodine when eating shrimp is not to use table salt which is high in iodine. Instead, you could skip salt or use sea salt.
Climate Policy Watcher notes that even if you remove the taste of iodine, it will not remove the amount of iodine the body ingests.
How Do You Get Iodine Poisoning?
You can get iodine poisoning by consuming high quantities of iodine. It would have to be a significant amount, though, that depends on your age.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements suggests that people should not exceed these daily upper limits for iodine:
- Children 1 to 3 years—200mcg.
- Children 4 to 8 years—300mcg.
- Children 9 to 13 years—600mcg.
- Teens 14 to 18 years—900mcg.
But they also say that these levels don’t apply to people who take iodine for medical reasons.
Consuming too much iodine can inflame the thyroid gland, the stomach, throat, and mouth.
More severe symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and fever, according to The National Institutes of Health. And too much exposure to iodine can even cause thyroid cancer.
Is also worth noting that people can be allergic to iodine.
Where Is Iodine Found in Shrimp?
Iodine is found in all shrimp, though, Brown shrimp has the highest amount of iodine.
Brown shrimp are mostly found by the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with the highest concentrations found between Texas and Mississippi.
According to Dr. Gourmet, the majority of domestic shrimp in the US is brown shrimp. You could try pink or white shrimp for less iodine.