How to Purchase the Freshest Shrimp Before Cooking
Fresh cooked shrimp are actually cooked on board the vessel of
capture the moment they are caught and then refrigerated for maximum
freshness before being delivered to the markets which will be
normally or hopefully within 24hrs of capture.
How do we tell if this cooked shrimp is cooked correctly?
test is to straighten the shrimp out in front of a bright light. On
the top of the shrimp next to the tail there should be a very small
gap between the shell and the meat. The wider the gap, this shows
that it has either been cooked too long or held under refrigeration
When looking at cooked shrimp within a shop display, look for a
shiny clear glossy shell, with long feelers still intact resting on
a bed of ice within a refrigerated display case. If the shrimp has
been handled carefully – the cosmetics are going to be better. If
you are looking at a shrimp that is more opaque and pale in colour
and has a much wider gap as discussed, this means that the shrimp
has been both badly handled and incorrectly refrigerated. To also
tell if a fresh cooked shrimp has been badly handled and incorrectly
refrigerated, they will show signs of black heads and what’s known
as black legs.
Another way to tell if the shrimp has been incorrectly refrigerated
is by placing your thumb and forefinger on the shell of the shrimp
moving it backwards and forward slowly. Once you have done this, if
either one or two of the following things occur, you know to avoid
buying this shrimp - there will either be a gritty, sandy feel
between your fingers, or if you spread those two fingers apart
approximately ¼” you will have a sticky, slimy effect happening.
Fresh Raw Shrimp are caught and immediately after being landed on
boat are placed into a large ice slurry. The shrimp are killed
instantly within this ice slurry, but kept fresh and raw being
preserved at their optimum freshness. They are then delivered to the
markets within 24hrs of capture.
Again when purchasing from your seafood outlet, to know if this
shrimp (in its raw state) is of the highest quality, it will have a
shiny clear glossy shell, with its long feelers and legs still
intact and being placed displayed on a bed of ice within a
refrigerated display case.
To easily determine the age and the
freshness of this raw shrimp there are three simple things to look
- First thing to check for is the gap between the head and the
body. As a yardstick within the seafood industry, is that for every
24hrs that the shrimp is out of the water, the head disengages more
from the body.
- Secondly, the head turns black and the black leg
- Thirdly, the meat within the shell is more dried out, the
shell is pale and opaque and has an overall dried out appearance. In
some cases within a supermarket environment, the retailer will
remove the heads to disguise the age of the shrimp. But the other
two problems will still show, so now you are armed with this
information to avoid being caught out.
Prawns being Cooked onboard the boat
Banana Prawns - Look how shiny and glossy they are