Have you ever wanted to buy fresh shrimp, but didn't because you thought it would be tricky to clean them? Put your fears at ease because it's really simple to learn how to peel and devein shrimp. Keep reading to find out how it's done.
Since we live in Brunswick, Georgia, we have the privilege of buying locally caught fresh sweet Georgia white shrimp. We always purchase our Georgia shrimp from an excellent local seafood wholesaler, Anchored Shrimp Company. They ship around the country, so even if you don't live in Georgia, you can still get the amazing shrimp from our area. (This isn't a sponsored post; I just love their product.)
- Fresh shrimp: We live where shrimp boats abound, so getting it fresh with the shells on is easy.
- Ice: Cubes of ice are best since they melt slower. You'll want to keep it on ice when you are working to keep it cold.
How to Make
Gather your ingredients: fresh shrimp and ice.
- Keep the shrimp on ice as you're working to keep them cold.
- Start by pulling off the legs. (You don't have to pull off the legs if you don't want to; they usually come off when the shell is peeled off.)
- Slide your thumb under the shell, then remove it.
- To remove the tail, pinch the shell in the middle and gently pull it off.
- Run the blade along the dark vein, then scrape out the vein with the knife blade. Repeat this process with the remaining shrimp; it will go quicker when you've done a few.
- A deveined shrimp should look like this.
- Rinse, drain and freeze the shells in a bag to use in seafood stock for gumbo, clam chowder, or crab soup.
- Once the shrimp are all deveined, rinse under cold running water and place on ice until ready to use.
The process of peeling and deveining is quick, simple, and painless. You'll enjoy eating your fresh shrimp so much more after using this simple technique!
Shrimp have their alimentary canal on their back, which is on the top of this bottom dweller. This canal or digestive track removes the body wastes and sand.
If you are using small or medium size, you don't really need to devein, except for cosmetic purposes. If you are using large or jumbo shrimp, you can taste the grit if you skip this step. Plus, it also looks much better with the vein removed.
Most people don't, as the other nerve on the belly isn't that noticeable and doesn't taste gritty. If this bothers you, or if presentation is extremely important for your recipe, you can remove it using the same procedure.
First, rinse the shrimp in cold water, then pull off the legs. Slide your finger under the shell and pull it off, then pinch off the tails, if desired.
Yes, you can use them to make seafood stock. Just rinse, drain, and freeze for up to 3 months, or use right away.
Use a sharp paring knife to make a deeper slit along the back of the shrimp. This will make it easy to remove the vein, and will also make for a prettier presentation.
Now that you have peeled and deveined the shrimp, you'll want to use them in a good recipe. Try them cold in a salad or in shrimp ceviche, or bread and fry them for a tasty appetizer. Shrimp scampi, gumbo, jambalaya, and shrimp and grits are more great recipes to use shrimp.
If you love seafood, make sure to try our recipe for salmon croquettes.
- Keep shrimp on ice when peeling and deveining.
- Use a sharp paring knife and make a shallow cut along the vein.
- On large or jumbo sized shrimp, you can also use sharp kitchen shears to remove the shell. Make a small cut at one end and remove the shell. This keeps your hands a bit cleaner.
- You can also use a toothpick to remove the vein. Insert the toothpick closer to the tail section to make a small slit and pull out the vein.
- To make the shrimp extra clean after peeling and deveining, place it in a bowl, sprinkle on potato starch, rub it in, then rinse it off.
Recipes that Use Shrimp
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How to Peel and Devein Shrimp
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, roughly 33 large shrimp
- Ice, for keeping the shrimp cold
- Using your fingers, pull off the legs.
- Slide your thumb under the edge of the shell on the head end of the shrimp, then peel off the shell.
- If you want to remove the tail for ease of eating, pinch the tail where it's attached to the shrimp and pull it off. Skip this step if you want to keep the tails on for presentation.
- Rinse and drain the shells, seal in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Use them for homemade seafood stock, which will make gumbo or jambalaya taste amazing.
Cleaning & Deveining
- Look for the vein running along the back (top) of the shrimp. It can appear gray, brown, or even yellowish. Run the tip of a sharp pairing knife along the vein.
- Use the tip of the knife to pull the string-like vein out, then scrape out any remaining particles with the knife blade. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the remaining shrimp, keeping the cleaned shrimp in a pan of ice or in ice water until you're ready to use them.
- Rinse the peeled and deveined shrimp under cold running water.
- Keep the cleaned shrimp on ice and/or refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Keep shrimp on ice or in ice water when peeling and deveining.
- Use a sharp paring knife and make a shallow cut along the vein. Work on a cutting board to keep your counter clean, and use paper towels for cleanup.
- Want to keep your hands a bit cleaner? Use kitchen shears to remove the shell.
- Insert the wooden toothpick closer to the tail section to make a small slit and pull out the vein.
- Sprinkle on potato starch, rub it in then rinse it off to make shrimp extra clean after peeling and deveining.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This post was originally published on July 6, 2018.