How to Clean Fresh Shrimp

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Fresh shrimp are a wonderful, versatile seafood that can help you provide filling and scrumptious meals within minutes. Grocery stores, however, will usually charge you extra for fresh shrimp that has been cleaned and deveined. You can save a few dollars over a few pounds of shrimp if you do it yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink with a hot/cold faucet
  • Small garbage bag or grocery bag
  • Fresh shrimp
  • Thin, plastic gloves (optional)
  • Separate bowl for shrimp
  • Colander
  • Shrimp de veiner (optional) or
  • Plastic toothpick
  • Rinse frozen shrimp first in warm (almost hot) water until they dethaw. Do not defrost them in a microwave because you run a risk of cooking them. I

  • Remove the head of the shrimp first. Just get a hold of the middle of the shrimp body, grab a hold of the head and pull apart. Toss the head into the garbage bag as well as anything else you pull off the shrimp. Put every clean shrimp in the colander bowl.

  • Pull the feet of the shrimp off. They look like little pieces of hard grass coming out of the bottom of the shrimp. Pull them off until they are all gone. This will aid you in the next step.

  • Pull off the tail and the outer shell of the shrimp. Sometimes if you pull off the feet of the shrimp, the tail and shell will come off as one piece. Otherwise you will have to peel the shell off yourself. Other people prefer to keep the tail and shell on, depending on what the recipe calls for.

  • Take the vein out of the shrimp. The vein is the thin, little black string that runs the length of the shrimp. You can use a professional shrimp deveiner, but a simple plastic toothpick or thin knife will also do the trick.

  • Rinse the cleaned shrimp under cold water while keeping them in the colander bowl. Rinsing them ensures you get one last inspection for any leftover tail, feet, head or skin pieces before you prep them for cooking. Take the rinsed shrimp and put them in a separate bowl.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pre-cooked shrimp are already pink. If you are a first-time fresh shrimp buyer, don't buy those.

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