Shrimp 101

Tomorrow (May 9) is National Shrimp Day, so now’s as good a time as any to read up on the more commonly seen varieties of shrimp here in the U.S.

Here in the U.S. shrimp are the most consumed type of seafood

Nearly 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in America are imported. BUT many grocers sell Gulf shrimp and when given the opportunity, you should support our local fishermen and fisherwomen and purchase Gulf shrimp … fresh or frozen, they are absolutely THE BOMB!

Imported, farmed shrimp can be 10 times worse for the climate than beef ~ SOURCE Oceana.org

SHRIMP not shrimps, not ever—the word “shrimp” itself is both singular and plural so please, don’t ever say “shrimps.” (Lucky you, you get to learn about crustaceans and have a grammar lesson too!) Moving on, there are hundreds of different species of shrimp, both saltwater and freshwater. But the most common varieties throughout the U.S.—ordered in restaurants and cooked at home—are Gulf, rock, pink, black tiger, and Pacific white.

  • Gulf shrimp are found up and down the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, to southern Florida, to the Yucatan. Gulf shrimp are not farmed (yet) and can be nearly 10 inches in length from tail to head. There are brown, pink and white Gulf shrimp.
  • Rock shrimp are much smaller than Gulf shrimp and are best suited for adding to dishes rather than on their own. Great for salads, to top off pizzas, or tossed into pasta.
  • Pink shrimp are found in the north Atlantic, the north Pacific, and in many other waters throughout the continent. Pink shrimp are about half the size of Gulf shrimp and like rock shrimp, are best suited for add ons rather than a main course.
  • Tiger shrimp, aka giant tiger prawns, are the largest of the species and are excellent grilled. Most of the tigers you see in the U.S. (restaurants and grocery stores) come from Asia.
  • Pacific white shrimp are excellent in shrimp cocktail, or cooked “peel and eat” style. Most everyone who’s ever had shrimp, have eaten this variety as it is the most widely harvested variety in the world.

A rose is a rose but is a shrimp a shrimp? A prawn a prawn? And what exactly is scampi? Read more …

A word on deveining
What about those veins that run up and down the shrimp … so yea, some people don’t care. And that’s fine. And many loyal shrimpers say that removing the “vein” isn’t necessary but me, I have to remove both the underside (which is part of the nervous system) and the top (which is the digestive tract). In smaller shrimp, typically people leave the “veins” in because they’re far less noticeable. But in bigger shrimp, though it is more of an aesthetic thing and really not necessary, most people want it removed because, well, it’s waste (insert poop emoji). As for flavor, some say when left in, it gives the shrimp a grittier texture and a slight muddy flavor … I really can’t say for sure. All I know is ever since I left my mermaid tail behind and became a real person, I have to have both of them removed 😉

Peel-and-eat shrimp are not deveined as the shell isn’t removed until you peel it off

Coming up NEXT on the blog … pan-seared grouper. Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews | @shaunanosler

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox