How to devein shrimp

Deveining: Is the removal of the gastrointestinal trackt of a shrimp, a common part of preparing them for human consumption. The digestive tract is a dark band running from the head to the tail of the animal, where the spine would be if they were vertebrates. In females, the reproductive canal is also in the same area. One must first cut a slit in the shell at the back of the shrimp. Special deveining tools are sometimes used but knives, skewers, and even toothpicks can be used to devein. Removing the vein is not essential, as it is not poisonous and is mostly tasteless. Deveining does slightly change the flavour and makes it more consistent. Shrimp also sometimes consume small amounts of sand by accident and the vein thus might be gritty. Shrimp need to be kept cold. While you are working with them, keep them in on ice, or in ice water.

  1. Pull off the head (if it is still attached) and legs.
  2. Starting with the head end, pull off the outer shell. Depending on how you intend to present the shrimp, you can keep the last segment of shell and the tail tip on, for decorative purposes.
  3. Using a small paring knife, cut along the outer edge of the shrimp's back, about 1/4-inch deep.
  4. If you can see it, remove and discard the vein the runs along right under the surface of the back, with your fingers or the tip of your knife. If you can't see the vein, don't bother with it.


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