How to Cook Fish and Seafood - Recipes and Information
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How To Cook Fish & Seafood

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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? One simple 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 too long.

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 for:

- 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 appears.

- 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.

Ocean King Prawns being Cooked onboard the boat

Fresh Green Banana Prawns - look how shiny and glossy they are

Ocean King Prawns being
Cooked onboard the boat

Green Banana Prawns
 - Look how shiny and glossy they are


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