Preparing Shrimp

How to peel and devein shrimp.

When you are looking for a change from the everyday menu, shrimp is the perfect choice. Ranging in size from the very small (popcorn), to the very large (prawn),and are as simple to prepare as they are delicious. As an ingredient in shrimp recipes or served as an appetizer shrimp are so versatile. Preparing shrimp for cooking is quite simple too.
You can cook the shrimp in their shell if you are just looking for a simple steamed shrimp meal. Once the shrimp turns opaque they are done. Peel the shell, dip the shrimp in clarified butter if you wish, and eat, delicious! You can either peel the shells before or after the shrimp are cooked. It is a matter of preference either way.


Washing and peeling raw shrimp (Image: Macshack for

The one thing everyone can agree on is deveining of the shrimp. The vein which carries the shrimp’s digested food out of its body runs from its head, down its back to its tail. The shelling of the shrimp and removal of the vein are both quite simple after rinsing the shrimp pat them down with a paper towel. Hold shrimp firmly in one hand while using the other to peel away the legs. Once the legs are peeled you can slip your thumb up under the side of the shrimp peeling the shell out and away from the shrimp’s body. Do this for each section from where the head was all the way to the tail. Whether the tail stays or goes is entirely dependent on the requirements of the recipe.
Now to devein the shrimp you will need a sharp paring or small knife. Once the shrimp have all been shelled you can begin to devein. Take a shrimp holding it so that the back is facing you make a shallow slice that runs from where the head was to the tail. Once you have made the slice you will see the vein. Use the tip of the knife to lift the vein out of the slice. Even if the vein breaks and spills in the slice just hold the shrimp under running water to rinse away the grit. When you have deveined the rest of the shrimp rinse them in cold running water and pat dry with paper towel.
Now you are ready to prepare any number of delicious shrimp recipes.