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Ayurvedic Kitchen & Cooking

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Best Shrimp To Buy

Shrimp are usually frozen either in large five pound blocks or by using the IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) method. IQF is our recommendation, because the shrimp sustain less damage and end up higher quality.

best shrimp to buy

It really pays to read the label when it comes to buying seafood, especially shrimp. Taking a few extra seconds in the supermarket aisle to figure out just what exactly is in your food and where it came from can make a huge difference for the environment.

3. Look for Certifications. Look for shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as Wild American Shrimp or the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies that wild fisheries are well-managed and sustainable. Or look for the Best Aquaculture Practices label, which is for farmed (not wild) shrimp, raised without antibiotics and in conditions that exceed local environmental regulations. Plants that process the fish employ safe-packaging practices to reduce risk of foodborne illnesses. Only farms prohibiting practices that harm natural habitats are eligible for the label. The label is regulated through site inspections and audits implemented by the nonprofit Aquaculture Certification Council to ensure that farms and processing plants meet environmental and safety standards.

The quality of frozen shrimp is generally excellent. For superior flavor and texture, buy shrimp frozen and defrost them just before cooking. Within just 24 hours of thawing, the muscle tissue begins to degrade and turn mushy, and the shrimp's flavor becomes less fresh.

Most shrimp are individually quick-frozen (IQF) right on the boat as soon as they are caught to lock in freshness. The process, which is also known as flash freezing, involves spreading the shrimp on a conveyor belt and running them through a blast chiller, which allows them to be frozen individually and rapidly.

These are your all-purpose variety, well-suited for stews, curries, stir fries, and more. Most wild-caught brown shrimp hail from the Gulf of Mexico, although they can also be found off the Atlantic coast up to North Carolina. Grayish-brown in color, they tend to be small to medium-sized, with firm, flavorful meat.

A chef favorite, rock shrimp, which are found a bit farther offshore in the southeastern U.S., have caught on in popularity in recent years. Distinguished by their hard outer shell, they have a full, lobster-like taste and texture.

Found in the cool waters off both the northeastern and northwestern coasts, northern pink shrimp are small (about 50 or more per pound), but they pack in loads of sweet flavor. These are ideal for shrimp-based salads.

A more recent contender in American seafood cases, these shrimp are caught off the coast of Argentina, and are a pink color even when raw. This can make judging doneness by color a bit tricky, but the sweet, tender meat, often compared favorably to lobster (but way cheaper) is worth it.

Shrimp (and all crustaceans) have enzymes in their liver that begin attacking the flesh as soon as the animal is killed, turning it to mush. This process is partly mitigated by removing the upper torso and head (most shrimp sold for consumption is actually just the tail), and is why head-on shrimp spoils especially fast.

Let them thaw in the fridge overnight (preferably in a colander set over a large bowl), or quick thaw in a bowl of cold water about 15 minutes ahead of when you plan on using them. Never re-freeze shrimp.

Additionally, inland shrimp farms are generally set up with circulation systems that can handle waste, whereas coastal operations tend to deal with waste simply by dumping it back into the environment.

Americans love shrimp, consuming about a billion pounds (via South Florida Reporter) of the little Pleocyemata annually, more than any other seafood. Buying shrimp can get confusing, however. What kind of shrimp should you choose? Most important is origin. The tastiest and healthiest shrimp are caught in the wild, not imported from unregulated hotspots like Vietnam, China, and India, where shrimp farms teem with antibiotics and other nasties. Because it is sustainable and harder to catch, clean, wild shrimp is more expensive than farmed shrimp (via Consumer Reports).

There are many shrimp varieties: tiger, rock, and white shrimp among them. But best among the choices you'll find at your local seafood market or grocery store are spot prawns. Despite their name, these brown creatures with distinctive white spots around their heads are indeed a variety of shrimp, and not their larger relative, the prawn. Spot prawns are the largest cold water shrimp sold, and can reach lengths up to 12 inches (via Consumer Reports).

Spot prawns are native to the waters off Alaska, California, and Washington, says another Consumer Reports article, but according to The Atlantic, the best are those caught off the coast of British Columbia. Here, fishermen are known to behead and suck out the meat, sashimi style, during the May-June spot prawn season. Aside from their expense, the problem with British Columbian spot prawns is that they are often sold out to the Canadian market before they ever hit U.S. retailers.

No matter their region of origin, wild-caught spot prawns are delicious. Sometimes referred to as "the lobster of Alaska" because of their superior taste, they are considered the most flavorful, sweetest, most tender shrimp available (via Chef's Resources).

Chefs and sea-foodies will tell you that buying live spot prawns will deliver the best quality and freshest flavor. Of course, this presents a problem if you live inland. But if you know what to look for, spot prawn tails sold on ice can be a good alternative. (Pro tip: Never buy a spot prawn with the head still attached unless it is alive. As soon as this shrimp dies, the brain releases an enzyme that causes the entire prawn to become unpleasantly soft.) When buying tails, look for firm, translucent flesh, and avoid those with black spots. Be sure they smell fresh and have no hint of ammonia. Frozen spot prawn tails are another good (and some say better) choice, says Serious Eats, delivering more consistent quality than those sold on ice.

Spot prawns are more tender than the average shrimp, so be careful not to tear the flesh when you peel them. Keep in mind that spot prawns have small spikes on their shell, which can prick you if you're not careful. They cook quickly and are delicious simply boiled, says VanMag on YouTube, or steamed with garlic and green onions, or served with dipping sauces, suggests Vancouver Foodie, also via YouTube.

WILD-CAUGHT, U.S. SHRIMP: Our wild-caught American shrimp, on the other hand, are shrimp that have been caught on boats by fishers from their natural ocean habitat, in our case: the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic Ocean.

1 . GREAT FLAVOR AND TEXTURE PREFERRED BY CHEFS: Living free in the nutrient-rich Gulf and South Atlantic waters, our shrimp develop a naturally great taste and texture that leading chefs prefer.

4 . FREE FROM VETERINARY DRUGS, INCLUDING ANTIBIOTICS: Most of the imported product is grown in aquaculture ponds that require the introduction of a range of veterinary drugs, including antibiotics, to prevent and treat bacterial conditions. For example, shrimp farms employ chemical agents to control viral, bacterial, fungal and other pathogens, induce plankton growth and inoculate shrimp larvae.

6 . VERY LITTLE IMPORTED SEAFOOD IS TESTED BY THE FDA: In FY 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined only 2.2% of all imported seafood and tested only 0.1% of one million seafood import entry lines for illegal drugs. Of that 0.1%, 12% of shrimp tested positive for illegal drugs [3]. In January 2019 alone the FDA rejected 32 shrimp entry lines from India, 26 of those due to banned antibiotics [4].

Here at Wild American Shrimp, we espouse the quality of wild-caught Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic shrimp over farm-raised shrimp for a variety of reasons. As lovers of shrimp, we want consumers to be supplied with the best shrimp possible, which we believe are the ones that are allowed to grow, eat and be caught in their natural environment: both full of premium taste and free from veterinary drugs and hormones. We believe that our Wild American Shrimp fit all of the above and are the closest you can get to tasting perfect shrimp!

1. For the best possible results, buy fresh shrimp on the day that you plan to grill them. Shrimp thaw quickly and can go bad even more quickly. Make sure that you buy either jumbo or colossal sized shrimp for easier grilling.

2. Shrimp can be grilled with or without their shells. I like to peel the shrimp prior to grilling. Remove all of the shell except for the part that is around the tail of the shrimp. Removing the shell will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat and give the shrimp more taste.

3. Devein the shrimp by using a small, sharp knife to cut down the back of each peeled shrimp. Pull out the back vein while washing the shrimp under cold water. The vein is noticeable in jumbo or colossal shrimp.

6. Now it is time to grill the shrimp. Preheat your grill to 350-450F and set it up for direct cooking. Grill the shrimp over direct, medium heat for 5-7 minutes, turning the shrimp halfway through the process. The outside of the shrimp should turn a nice pink color when it is cooked while the meat inside should be white and opaque. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or else it will become tough.

Count Per Pound: Just like how scallops are sized, shrimp are sold by counts per pound. The smaller the count, the larger the shrimp. For example, our 8-12 count colossal shrimp include about 8 to 12 shrimp per pound.

Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STTP): A chemical used to treat and preserve seafood. It keeps shrimp from darkening and losing moisture. It can leave shrimp with an off taste and mushy texture. 041b061a72


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