I recently had an idea to try and rapidly break down the "rubberizing" connective tissues in octopus using a different method than the tried and true boiling or hammering. It is well known that freezing will cause cell ruptures but ordinary home freezing probably would be too destructive for octopus, so I was thinking about liquid nitrogen since it creates smaller ice crystals due to the rapid temperature change. I have never worked with LN and I would hate to try this as my first experiment with it so I was hoping maybe someone who does use LN may have tried this (or would be willing to try this) to see if it makes the octopus more tender. I am thinking maybe the octopus should be well hydrated before the freeze, and then immediately cooked afterwards to force the cell ruptures.

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    You might be interested to know that Harold McGee dismissed freezing as a tenderization method. You will enjoy this: nytimes.com/2008/03/05/dining/05curious.html?_r=0 I've used his method with success many times.
    – moscafj
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 14:27
  • Thanks @moscafj but I already read that article awhile ago. Harold McGee in that article was talking about normal freezing as far as I can tell, and only stated he "had a hunch" it would be a problem. He also stated many others believe ordinary (or commercial grade) freezing helps. LN is supposed to behave differently than normal freezing due to the speed at which temperatures change.
    – O.M.Y.
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 16:00
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    LN is simply colder, freezing things much more quickly, and producing smaller ice crystals as a result. Your theory is that the freeze-thaw cycle is the mechanism for tenderization. Since LN freezing produces smaller ice crystals, wouldn't that be a disadvantage in this case? It would seem to me then, that the larger ice crystals, produced in a home freezer would have a greater potential effect on a frozen then thawed 'pus. Maybe someone is willing to test test and compare LN frozen/thawed v. home freezer frozen/thawed v, McGee method. If I had access to LN I would do it!
    – moscafj
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 17:02
  • This Cooking.SE answer by @sarge_smith suggests using repeated cycles with a blast chiller does help tenderize beef. Octo is much finer fiber than beef so the smaller crystals are more desirable to prevent destroying the texture.
    – O.M.Y.
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


The most delicious octopus I've ever eaten was tenderized by freezing first for a couple of days and then letting it sit at room temperature for a couple of days. Then it was baked with onion, salt and coconut cream. The smell while it was baking was unbelievably ... organic? Okay, it smelled like boiling jockstraps. I think it wouldn't work for people with delicate stomachs, but for people who still have the gut flora to handle naturally macerated meats, the octopus was soft and tender and the flavor was incredible.

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    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Leaving raw fish at room temperature for a couple of days and then eating it seems like an express ticket to the emergency room, even for those without delicate stomachs. Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 14:12

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