August 26, 2010

How to Devein a Shrimp (in pictures)

When it comes to saving money on groceries, there is no doubt that if you love shrimp, you can save a bundle by purchasing your shrimp raw and not 'cleaned' which means they leave the tail and vein.

When I first started to buy shrimp I was a little intimidated by the thought of having to clean it. I didn't have the knowledge nor the time. And I admit that when I did start to buy it raw and clean it myself I mangled the first few as I didn't know what I was doing and I was trying to figure it out by reading instructions in an old cookbook. (There was no internet!).

Now you can find instructions and movie clips and everything you need to learn how to clean shrimp but I think it still sounds and looks harder than it is. So today I am posting the photos I took when I cleaned the shrimp for the soup recipe I made last month.

You can buy shrimp whole but typically you'll find the heads already removed. Raw shrimp at the most affordable level then, still has a tail and the veins. Many times you leave the tail intact for ease of picking up and eating, giving it a twist in your mouth and pulling it right out but for many recipes you'll want to remove the tail before cooking;

To remove the tail, hold the shrimp in your left hand between thumb and finger, place your right thumb and finger on the tail; grasp it firmly and twist and pull apart in one motion to remove the tail but leave as much of the shrimp meat as you can.

Now hold the shrimp comfortably in your hand, and using a very small, sharp knife, slice along the back side of the shrimp, right down the center.

The dark vein is right there, you can usually flip the tip of the knife under the vein and pull it out in one quick motion. Sometimes it breaks apart, you just pull it out.

Rinse. And use in your recipe.

Many times the difference between a couple pounds of shrimp cleaned and a couple pounds raw can be as much as ten dollars. Well worth the time it takes to clean and devein the shrimp yourself to save on the grocery bill.Print Friendly and PDF