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heidih

Issue with de-veining shrimp

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I have been in the bad habit of picking up the farm raised shrimp from SE Asia as they are cheap and tasty in well flavored preps. The other day I saw some wild shrimp from Mexico (Sea of Cortez) at my local Vons (Safeway derivative) at $8.99/lb with "the card". When I got them home they smelled good, were firm, but had way way more than a "vein". I picked up some more today and had the same experience. I was thinking all this digestive matter had been maybe purged in the farm raised ones? I just could not see boiling in the shell with no deveining with these. Yet in many restaurants the shrimp are served whole with heads and all. I took a picture and unfortunately did not turn off the flash - but I think you can see what I am talking about. Comments?

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When I couldn't get local Ridgebacks, I'd often pick up wild Mexican shrimp from the fish market in Santa Barbara. They usually had some serious chow "in progress", and I got in the habit of shelling and deveining those varieties even though I prefer to cook shrimp shell on.


 

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I picked up some "wild caught USA" shrimp this week also...also used to bag o'farmed and frozen.

There really was something odd in them, almost like an extra part beyond the poop and intestine. It was another tube but thicker and pink...dont remember ever seeing that before, even in "good shrimp"

tracey


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Ok I'm not crazy...I noticed the same thing earlier this week. Maybe it has something to do with the time of year? Who knows...they tasted good though, so it was worth the extra ick factor.


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I picked up some "wild caught USA" shrimp this week also...also used to bag o'farmed and frozen.

There really was something odd in them, almost like an extra part beyond the poop and intestine. It was another tube but thicker and pink...dont remember ever seeing that before, even in "good shrimp"

tracey

Exactly! As I looked down the open end where the head had been pulled off it was sort of pink, and the thick and sort of gelatinous tube that I posted the poor picture of seemed to be adjacent to the more stringy black or clear "vein". I followed the thick tube all the way down as it did not want to pull out and it went all the way to the tail and got even thicker.

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I've seen the "pink tube" in wild-caught Gulf prawns. Dunno what it is. It looks almost fatty, a yellowish-pink color. At first I cleaned it out, but then the task became onerous so I stopped. The shrimp tasted fine and I'm still here.

Depending on what I'm cooking, or how pressed I am for time, I may or may not devein shrimp. The vein is only the digestive tract, and it contains algae. Yes, it looks gross when you pull it out. But it won't harm you. The only drawback--sometimes the vein will contain grit, and that's unpleasant to chew.

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Why is it necessary to de-vein shrimps?

What do you think you are eating when you eat raw oysters and clams?

dcarch

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Why is it necessary to de-vein shrimps?

What do you think you are eating when you eat raw oysters and clams?

dcarch

Avoiding the grit and getting rid of the 'icky' factor would be my guess.

Chewing on a gritty prawn is not the most pleasant of the things in the world.


James.

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I have been buying wild gulf shrimp for the past couple of years, since they seem to be more available than they used to be here in CA. They have a better texture and taste than the farm raised ones, although as far as I know all of them are frozen and thawed before being sold.

That extra goopy pinkish rope seems to happen among the shrimp I get between 25 and 50 percent of the time. Sometimes one batch will have a lot of it, sometimes not; seems very arbitrary. I don't remember this stuff ever being a part of the farm-raised critters from Mexico or wherever those comes from. And its existence by no means precludes the presence of a dirty vein; it is something else, no? Admittedly I find it repulsive, but the shrimp are often well priced and pretty good, so it's worth the ick factor.

Before the days of pink goop I used to be able to pull out the vein with a tweezers, eliminating the need to slit the shell first if I wanted cooked shell-on shrimp. Now it's pretty much necessary to cut the length of the shell with a scissors in order to get out that goop.

The more I think about this, the more I'm convinced it's time to give the shrimp-cleaning job to my husband. He has a very high tolerance for ick, but as a prep cook, while he is endearingly thorough, he is maddeningly slow. He makes the most lovely quarter cup of finely chopped parsley you've ever seen. In half an hour.

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... its existence by no means precludes the presence of a dirty vein; it is something else, no?

The pink tube shows up with the digestive tract/dark vein that we're familiar with. It shows up above the dark vein, closer to the top of the shrimp (as opposed to its underside with the legs, if I'm making any sense.) So the pink tube is something else.

Pretty sure the orange stuff is roe.

I thought it might be shrimp roe at first, but a search on the web said shrimp roe would be located either at the head-body joint, or by the legs. The pink tube is located elsewhere. Also, it doesn't look like any roe I've seen. No eggs, not a bright color.

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It's the shrimp's nervous system:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventral_nerve_cord

That link describes the ventral nerve cord which is located toward the "belly" side (inner curve) of the body. Looking at THIS image, I think it is the shrimp's circulatory system (heart, dorsal artery). HERE is a clearer illustration. Although it is a crayfish, I am pretty sure the anatomy is close enough.


Edited by Fernwood (log)

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True, but the exact location of the "vein" was not that clear from the various postings (I've never encountered the phenomenon itself). Since there are not too many body length organs in a shrimp, it has to be the digestive tract (ok, that one's out ;), the (female) reproductive system or the nervous system. All the culinary sources seem to only discuss the first and the last of these ("sand vein" and "blood vein").

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Why are you must to known ? I read that and it didn't answer the question, that I can see, but could the additional pinkish-orangeish tube / matter be related to molting cycles ?
Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I just deveined some large, relatively freshly caught prawns this morning and had the same thing. In my experience, it always occurs in high quality product.

Let's just say that finding this means that you've got the equivalent of free range rather than battery prawns. Relax and enjoy the taste. :wink:


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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If I'm being fastidious, which is approximately once every 3 1/2 years, I'll slit the shell and devein. I don't know what the pink tube is, but I leave it if it wants to stay, pull it if it wants to come with the vein (roughly 50-50 in my experience). I've not encountered it in shrimp I've bought off-the-boat in the summer on the Gulf, so I think it's seasonal. I've found it in fresh-frozen "off season" shrimp in the inland markets. I can't tell that it (or the vein, either, if not for the grit)makes any diff in the taste, so I don't worry too awfully much about it. A healthy dash of Louisiana crab/crawfish/shrimp boil covers any adverse taste it may have, and as there is no higher and better use of shrimp than a Cajun boil, I don't worry much about it.


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