Peeling and Deveining Shrimp Guide
Shrimp stands as one of the most delicious seafood options out there, a fact that is supported by the more than one billion pounds of it that Americans eat annually. Yet, despite its popularity to the point of making up a quarter of the seafood consumed in the US, not everyone knows how to handle the tasty piece of protein.
While it is easy to find peeled and deveined shrimp, it is worth knowing how to do it yourself. After all, some of the tastiest shrimp are cooked with the shell on, so knowing how to handle it at home is a valuable skill. The goal of this article is to introduce you to peeling, deveining, and everything else needed to prepare delicious shrimp.
The Shell of a Shrimp
While you might see the shell as an obstacle, and a time-consuming one at that, it is actually an important part of the shrimp when it comes to cooking. The shell adds a lot of flavor, and even the heads can be used in dishes to punch things up a notch or two. So, while you can get shrimp that has been shelled, it is not always the best choice.
If you decide to buy shrimp with the shell still on, whether it be to save a little money or add more flavor to your shrimp, then you need to know a few things. The first is the preparation options you have when buying shrimp. The second is how to actually peel the shells off, which depends on both the preparation and how you are using them.
The Types of Preparations
When you buy shrimp at a market, you are likely to see several preparations, and most of these have some impact on the shell and what the process of deshelling involves. It is important to understand what you should get and how it impacts the process of shelling your shrimp. Here are some of the preparations that you will find:
If you are the type of person who wants to get the most out of your ingredients, then you should definitely get shrimp with the shell still on. Even if you end up removing the shell before cooking the shrimp, you can use it in other parts of a recipe to infuse flavor. Moreover, the process of shelling and deveining is not as difficult as you might think.
Peeling shrimp is not a difficult task, even if it is a bit tedious. However, there are some things that you can keep in mind to make the process easier and keep shrimp fresh while you peel them.
- If the shrimp you use are frozen, soak them in saltwater before peeling
- Put shrimp in ice water to keep them fresh during the peeling process
- Take your time to avoid damaging the shrimp while peeling
One of the reasons to peel shrimp yourself is to keep them looking pristine. You have control over the process, so you can make sure it is done right. Additionally, you get to use the shells, adding more flavor and being able to peel them whenever you want.
The Steps for Peeling Shrimp
Now that a few tips have been mentioned, it is time to get down to it. Fortunately, peeling shrimp does not have many steps, with the task primarily being time-consuming. Follow these steps for peeling shrimp, and you will find it a very manageable task:
It really is that easy. The only things you really need are patience and time. After you do that, you can focus on deveining if necessary. That being said, there are times when the shell does not come off so easily.
Common Causes of Hard-to-Peel Shrimp
Shrimp does not always peel as easily as you want it to, making what should be a relatively easy task into something excruciating. However, there are a few reasons that are quite common that you should keep in mind:
Of course, shrimp can simply be hard to peel at times. There are various reasons, and while it will likely be one of the above, you might just need to struggle a bit.
Dealing With Hard-to-Peel Shrimp
While peeling shrimp can be difficult at times, there are a few ways to make things easier on yourself. If you are having a hard time peeling the shrimp, consider trying one of these methods:
These might not be the only methods, but they are good things to try when you are having trouble. Additionally, make sure you do not let your shrimp remain too hot after you stop cooking them, or they could overcook and become difficult.
Somewhere along the way, you are going to want to devein your shrimp. The vein is the digestive tract of the shrimp, and although it will not harm you, it is not something that you want to eat. Moreover, it can affect the taste of your shrimp. Luckily, it is another simple task that sounds more complicated than it is.
The Way to Devein a Shrimp
Deveining is an important step if you want the absolute best shrimp. Since it can contain sand, amongst other things, you want to make sure you do away with it entirely. You can accomplish deveining with two simple steps:
In truth, deveining is not a mandatory step. There are plenty of instances where the vein is not removed since it is not harmful in any way. In fact, some cooks will not remove the veins of smaller shrimp unless it seems necessary.
That being said, with deveining being so easy, there is no reason to avoid it. You can even buy a deveining tool that makes quick work of the shell and vein in a single step. Though, things get slightly more troublesome if you decide to devein shrimp while leaving the shells on.
Deveining Shrimp With the Shell On
Easy-peel shrimp are the result of deveining while leaving on the shell. It is a piece of shrimp that has a shell that has been cut down the center. Essentially, it is the exact same process as the one detailed above but with the addition of cutting through the shell. While it takes more effort, it is not any more difficult.
There is one thing that is worth mentioning, though. If you want to keep the shell on but devein shrimp, then you will likely want to avoid a deveining tool. While there are various tools out there, deveining tools often remove the shell and vein simultaneously. Therefore, get your knife ready and prepare to make some precise incisions.
Consider Sun Shrimp to Practice Your Craft
There are a lot of options for shrimp out there, with some of the most convenient being the local fish market or grocery store. However, few options are able to compete with Sun Shrimp when it comes to freshness and convenience.
Sun Shrimp provides incredibly tasty shrimp, but that is not the only reason that you should consider them. They also provide a variety of shrimp, including:
- Whole Sun Shrimp
- Sun Shrimp Tails
- Peeled and Deveined Sun Shrimp
Therefore, whether you want to practice your skills or skip it all entirely, they have what you need. Moreover, since the shrimp sold by Sun Shrimp is either large or jumbo, you do not have to worry about the shrimp being small and difficult to work with. It is the perfect size.
Additionally, Sun Shrimp has unique packaging that eliminates mess and odor, with the vacuum skin packaging both reducing the effort you have to put in and protecting the shrimp from potential damage.
Even the shipping is special. Unlike most of the shrimp you will find, Sun Shrimp is truly fresh. In fact, they ship their shrimp hours after it is harvested, meaning you do not have to guess how long it has been frozen. The shipping can even be expedited, so there is no reason not to give Sun Shrimp a shot today!
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