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adegiulio

Shrimp

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OK, I know this is going to sound strange, but I think shrimp is changing before our eyes. Shrimp nowadays has a totally different texture than I remember. It cooks up still translucent, and the texture seems slightly raw, even though it is fully cooked. It's also missing a lot of flavor, in my opinion. The old shrimp turned opaque when cooked, similar to lobster tail or crawfish, it browned when cooking, and had quite a bit more flavor.

Are shrimp producers fishing different waters? Different species? Am I nuts?

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There's a ton of stuff coming from Bangladesh, Vietnam, and South America now. Very little shrimp comparatively is coming from New England or even Louisiana or Texas.

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And much of it is farm-raised as well. A couple of years ago many of the states and regions formed associations to actively promote their wild-caught shrimp, attempting to educate consumers and thereby save their livelihood, since competing with farm-raised and SE Asian imported product without differentiating themselves was becoming impossible.

Edited to add: I was going to include a link but there are many of these groups and I don't want to promote one or the other but, if you just google "wild shrimp" you'll get about 10 pages of them.


Edited by moosnsqrl (log)

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That doesn't sound strange at all to me. Like they said, it's about getting "wild" shrimp. I ceased to enjoy shrimp like I used to until we switched to the locally caught shrimp here, and I'm thrilled these are so good.

If you don't have access to good shrimp, you might have some luck brining them before cooking.

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That doesn't sound strange at all to me.  Like they said, it's about getting "wild" shrimp.  I ceased to enjoy shrimp like I used to until we switched to the locally caught shrimp here, and I'm thrilled these are so good.

If you don't have access to good shrimp, you might have some luck brining them before cooking.

I hear you. Mom doesn't buy farmed shrimp any more, because there'll be leftovers that remain untouched.

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That doesn't sound strange at all to me.  Like they said, it's about getting "wild" shrimp.  I ceased to enjoy shrimp like I used to until we switched to the locally caught shrimp here, and I'm thrilled these are so good.

If you don't have access to good shrimp, you might have some luck brining them before cooking.

I agree with Susan. Blanching them first improves the texture and flavour enormously. I usually just toss them with some kosher salt, rinse and repeat two more times rather than actually brining them. I think I remember learning this from one of the noted Indian cookbook authors.

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The Gulf of Maine Shrimp thread on the New England forum might have some relevance here.

The difference the in color & flavor of these guys vs. the farmed stuff is just so apparent.

Sadly, they haven't been a big hit yet with the average consumer.

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The Gulf of Maine Shrimp thread on the New England forum might have some relevance here.

The difference the in color & flavor of these guys vs. the farmed stuff is just so apparent.

Sadly, they haven't been a big hit yet with the average consumer.

I can buy "local" seafood but many people cannot--and even if you don't want to buy farmed seafood or fresh water fish, you can't find out if it is or not. I don't think any of fish/seafood in the frozen section of the supermarket I usually go to states if the fish/seafood is farmed or wild caught. And while one of three supermarkets in the town I live in states on the sign/slabels whether or not the fish/seafood in the 'fresh fish/seafood" case is farmed or fresh caught (and sometimes even where the product is from) I don't think at least one of the others does. If you ask, the person behind the counter may or may not know. Because salmon is a 'product' of Oregon, there was a big stink when people found out that farmed salmon were being injected with coloring so they'd look as "good" (or the same) as the wild caught salmon. At least for a while, the food coloring or dye was no longer used.

For years, because I live in a community that at one time derived much of its income from fishing, crabbing, etc., I've bought locally caught fish, crab whenever I can just to support "local" business (although an individual can buy only some stuff directly from the fishermen--not everything they fish for). "Local" is in quotes because while the fishermen may be based here in Oregon, many of them go as far as Alaska to fish. I've gone crabbing a few times but don't enjoy fishing.

But I never thought about what 'farming' shrimp or fish involved--until the tsunami hit Indonesia. One of the articles I read described in considerable detail just how toxic and destructive shrimp and other farming was as done in Indonesian waters. I started looking at labels at the fish counters and if there were no labels, asking the person behind the counter if whatever it was, was farmed or not--if they couldn't tell me, I didn't buy.

A few months ago, a couple opened a new fish market/restaurant that sells local seafood bought directly from the more or less local people who catch it (progress). I've gone once to buy some pacific cod and Oregon shrimp and both looked and tasted good. Sometimes a fisherman who smokes some of his own fish has given me some home smoked salmon or tuna or I've bought some and that--aldersmoked salmon (with various other additions--whatever the person smoking the fish happens to like) is just soooooo good--I don't think farmed salmon could taste as good.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium issues a Seafood Watch guide for the West Coast. It's quite small, you can put it in your pocket or wallet. It has 3 columns, first is "best choices" and on to the 3rd column which is "Avoid" or what not to buy because it's way overfished, or farmed in ways that are environmentally harmful. You can download it at Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. I don't know if there's a similar guide for East Coast or Gulf fisheries.

Perhaps with continued advertising, guides like the Monterey Aquariums, and what seems like growth of a 'buy local foods' movement, more people will become choosier about their fish/seafood purchases.

SH

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As the others have said, it's definitely a farm raised versus wild issue. I find the same problem with fish. The main thing, I believe, is that farm raised crustaceans and fish don't eat the diet they do in the wild and that has a huge impact on the meat. The farm raised creatures get fed the equivalent of Purina shrimp or fish chow. I first noticed this over 20 years ago while trout fishing in South Carolina. We caught a mixture of wild and hatchery raised fish. The wild fish tasted much better.

So, I don't buy farm raised shrimp or fish. We're lucky in that we travel to North and/or South Carolina every year and buy wild shrimp to bring home and freeze. We also have a local seafood store that sells only wild Gulf shrimp.

As mentioned above, you can order wild shrimp on the internet. I think a better (and cheaper) option is to discuss your desire for wild shrimp with a local seafood store or grocery store that sells seafood. They deal with distributors that can get them wild shrimp, many choose not to because the farm raised are a good bt cheaper. Almost all shrimp sold commercially start out frozen unless you're in a local shrimp producing area in season (May - October). They are delivered in 5 pound boxes frozen in a block of ice. If you tell your seafood seller you're willing to buy a 5 pound box, they can probably get it for you. You can defrost just what you need by running a trickle of cold water over one end of the frozen block until the amount you need can be taken off.

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irrigation of shrimp has definatley changed over the years. example... i remember working at this one place where we had a prawn curry dish. i got an order sent back because the lady found a ONE INCH piece of LEAD in one of her prawns. i looked at it thinking to myself "how the hell did that get there. one of the guys in the kitchen told me that they now mix shrimp feed with lead to make them bigger. not sure if this is along the same lines as to what you're talking about but i thought it applied

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The raw feel and translucence is probably a result of the buggers being disinfected and then frozen solid in ice blocks in some processing plant in Bangladesh/Thailand/wherever.

I first encountered this type of shrimp/prawn (as we call them here in Australia because shrimp are only babies to us) when living in the UK. I find that nothing really helps to improve them except for blanching as mentioned earlier. If you grill or bake or saute them, then you're not going to get a good plate no matter what.

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That doesn't sound strange at all to me.  Like they said, it's about getting "wild" shrimp.  I ceased to enjoy shrimp like I used to until we switched to the locally caught shrimp here, and I'm thrilled these are so good.

If you don't have access to good shrimp, you might have some luck brining them before cooking.

Brining does wonders to the texture of farmed shrimp. Firms up the flesh and brings back the crunch or pop in the mouth experience. The flavor of farmed is still milder or bland compared to wild.

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That doesn't sound strange at all to me.  Like they said, it's about getting "wild" shrimp.  I ceased to enjoy shrimp like I used to until we switched to the locally caught shrimp here, and I'm thrilled these are so good.

If you don't have access to good shrimp, you might have some luck brining them before cooking.

Brining does wonders to the texture of farmed shrimp. Firms up the flesh and brings back the crunch or pop in the mouth experience. The flavor of farmed is still milder or bland compared to wild.

Right on!

I have no doubt that wild shrimp are superior but for many of us they also out of reach so it's farmed shrimp or no shrimp and I don't like life without shrimp. Brining makes a huge difference.

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Our local farm market grocery store has been carrying fresh Gulf Shrimp lately. Yesterday we did a simple test. Fresh shrimp vs. the stuff you can buy frozen in bags. Both were served as shrimp cocktail...

The result: it wasn't even close. The fresh Gulf shrimp had the taste and texture I remember all shrimp having years ago. The frozen bugs had that translucent mealy texture and just about zero flavor.

The lesson: From now on its fresh wild shrimp or nothing...

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What was the difference in price? I've had the same experience and notice that the price difference isn't that great.

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What was the difference in price? I've had the same experience and notice that the price difference isn't that great.

This is a good question. What is the difference in price, regionally, for both farm raised and wild shrimp. Where I live a local fish market sells wild 16/20 count for a little less than ten dollars a pound, but I live four hours from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Our local farm market grocery store has been carrying fresh Gulf Shrimp lately. Yesterday we did a simple test. Fresh shrimp vs. the stuff you can buy frozen in bags. Both were served as shrimp cocktail...

The result: it wasn't even close. The fresh Gulf shrimp had the taste and texture I remember all shrimp having years ago. The frozen bugs had that translucent mealy texture and just about zero flavor.

The lesson: From now on its fresh wild shrimp or nothing...

Wouldn't that be more down to the difference between fresh & frozen shrimp than wild vs. farmed?

I think you need to do more taste tests, burdensome though that may be. :biggrin:

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The shrimp they sell at Byerly's in the Twin Cities is flown in frozen from New Zealand daily. Tastes good to me. Only once in awhile they're be a couple that cook up translucent and they smell like they washed up on shore. The rest are always firm, whitish pink, and sweet tasting.

Anybody know if New Zealand shrimp are wild or farmed?

doc

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Our local farm market grocery store has been carrying fresh Gulf Shrimp lately. Yesterday we did a simple test. Fresh shrimp vs. the stuff you can buy frozen in bags. Both were served as shrimp cocktail...

The result: it wasn't even close. The fresh Gulf shrimp had the taste and texture I remember all shrimp having years ago. The frozen bugs had that translucent mealy texture and just about zero flavor.

The lesson: From now on its fresh wild shrimp or nothing...

Wouldn't that be more down to the difference between fresh & frozen shrimp than wild vs. farmed?

I think you need to do more taste tests, burdensome though that may be. :biggrin:

Good point, I suppose it could be one or the other, or a mix of both factors.

Someone else asked about the price. The shrimp were 21-25s and cost 9.99 a pound, very reasonable for the quality. Honestly, they could have been 15.99 and I would still buy them over the frozen farmed stuff...

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We eat lots of shrimp. When we lived in central Arkanasas, I had to settle for frozen shrimp imported from overseas. It was certainly affordable, but not that tasty. Also, I usually eat my shrimp boiled, and these imported shrimp deemed to disintergrate into mush as I peeled them. Now that we are in Louisiana, I can get the delightful gulf shrimp I remember from my youth. At my local Brookshire's, I pay $7.99 lb. for 25-35 count. Very resonable. Now, when peeling my shrimp, I am left with a beautiful, firm pink piece of seafood perfection instead of mush.

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Edited to add:  I was going to include a link but there are many of these groups and I don't want to promote one or the other but, if you just google "wild shrimp" you'll get about 10 pages of them.

Has anyone had any experience ordering wild shrimp online? Anyplace you'd recommend buying from?

Thanks.

- L.

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I still say we need a reciprocal thingie going here.

I pass a truck in Houston 4 days a week selling 25-35 count for $20.00 for 5 pounds. I've been buying from him for years. I have gotten to know the guy personally.

These are wild, and hours off the Gulf boats. Heavenly shrimp. I'm not sure if my sizing is correct, they may be larger than 25-35 count. They look it.

And I KNOW my shrimp. I grew up on the coast. If it ain't still moving, it's too old.

It's cat food or fertilizer.

For another $5.00-$10.00-you get 5 pounds of shrimp you'd need a crane to load, they're so large. And discounts on larger purchases, probably.

I could sometimes drag my carcass to the airport with a styrofoam cooler of these on ice, if another poster was sendng me his/her local delicacy.

Shipping is cheap. Trust me. My seafood shipments from Houston to Michigan relatives are frequent and reasonable.

All I'm saying is that many of us spend way too much ordering online, with appropriate employee/handling charges.

Ask a friend here first.

Anyone game, or is it just me?

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In New Jersey I.....

#1 have never seen fresh shrimp in NJ from anywhere

#2 once saw frozen gulf shrimp but they were preseasoned or cooked

#3 for 5 dollars a pound I might be able to get imported frozen pre cooked salad shrimp, maybe

yesterday I drove to MA for a lobster sandwich

tracey

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Our local farm market grocery store has been carrying fresh Gulf Shrimp lately. Yesterday we did a simple test. Fresh shrimp vs. the stuff you can buy frozen in bags. Both were served as shrimp cocktail...

The result: it wasn't even close. The fresh Gulf shrimp had the taste and texture I remember all shrimp having years ago. The frozen bugs had that translucent mealy texture and just about zero flavor.

The lesson: From now on its fresh wild shrimp or nothing...

I'm not sure what you mean by "fresh" here. The Gulf shrimp was certainly frozen if it made it all the way up north. It might have been frozen onboard the boat.

The only way to get fresh shrimp is to live in an area where day shrimpers work. I'm pretty sure that any boats that stay out longer than a day will be freezing their catch. They may put some on ice the last day, but that would have to be sold in the area.

I paid $4.50 a pound last week for beautiful, head-on fresh shrimp at my local farmers market. The truly fresh shrimp are a wonder, and I bought them directly from the family that caught the shrimp.

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