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What Is the Green Stuff in Shrimp? What You Need to Know!

Shrimps belong to the class of Malacostraca. They are crustaceans found on coasts and estuaries and may also be found in lakes and rivers. They play an essential role in the food chain as they are a good source of food for many animals like whales and for human consumption.

Shrimps have a long antenna and a narrow muscular abdomen. Their mode of locomotion includes swimming. They swim with the help of swimmerets below their abdomens.

Shrimps are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, protein, and iodine. They have low levels of saturated fats, which increases the ratio of low-density lipoprotein to high-density lipoprotein content and decreases the triglycerides content.

What Is the Green Stuff in Shrimp?

The green stuff in shrimp is the digestive tube. Sometimes you will notice a thin greenish-black thread-like string down its back in raw shrimps. It is not part of the circulatory system. It is the digestive tube (alimentary canal) of the shrimp, which is filled with grit due to which dark green color appears. You can remove the string by deveining the shrimps.

What Is the Green Stuff in Shrimp?
What Is the Green Stuff in Shrimp?

Deveining the Shrimp

You can easily devein large shrimps, but medium and small-sized shrimps are not deveined easily. Large shrimps can easily be deveined through a big knife.

The shrimp’s vein can be eaten as well because it is not harmful to the body. However, packaged deveined shrimps are available at the market.

Is It Important to Devein Shrimps?

The vein does not harm the body if it is ingested. It actually depends on the person that they want to remove it or not. If the digestive tract looks unappealing to you and the vein is visible through the shell and the meat, you may remove it.

You can easily devein a large shrimp using a knife by lifting the vein from the tip of the knife. Whereas deveining the shrimps of smaller sizes is difficult, most chefs do not bother to remove them unless they look unattractive.

Most suppliers provide deveined shrimps. So, if you find it challenging to devein the shrimps, then you may look for these packed deveined shrimps. They are sold whole, or sometimes the meat of shrimps is marketed only.

It is suggested to wash your hands and the container used to carry shrimps with hot water because shrimps contain bacteria that may cause food poisoning.

Shrimps can be deveined if desired, but they are not necessary as they pose no health danger.
Shrimps can be deveined if desired, but they are not necessary as they pose no health danger.

Is It Important to Remove Shells From the Shrimps?

You can leave the shells on the shrimps if you are grilling them. It is important because it preserves the meat from the heat. There is another type of shrimps called peel and eat shrimps, and their name suggests that shells are not removed from them while cooking.

However, there are other types like shrimp cocktail, stir fry shrimp, etc. in which you have to make the effort of removing the shell. So that you can enjoy your food immediately, you can easily remove the shell from the body of the shrimp, but it is challenging to remove it from the tail as you can pull the whole tail out with the shell and the meat in that part will go to waste.

Shells do not need to be removed especially when grilling shrimps.
Shells do not need to be removed especially when grilling shrimps.

Different Types of Shrimps

There are various types of shrimps. They are found mostly in the Atlantic Ocean. The most common types are white, brown, pink, tiger, rock, and spot shrimps, etc.

White Shrimps

White shrimps can be cooked in various ways. You can consume them after boiling, frying, baking, and grilling. They exist in various forms like Gulf white shrimps, Pacific white shrimps, etc. They are about 8 inches long.

They are preferred by the chefs due to their unique flavor, firm texture, appetizing property, and due to the fact that they are also easily cleaned.

Brown Shrimps

Their shells are brown in color. They have a mild salty to mild sweet taste. Their flavor is exceptional as compared to the other shrimps. And they are simply boiled or steamed in order to enjoy their tempting taste.

Pink Shrimps

They are one of the most popular shrimps among seafood lovers. They are mostly small in size. They are usually pink in color when they are raw, but they can also be grey or white in color. And they are most commonly used to give a sweet flavor to the salads.

ink shrimps are the more popular type of shrimp among seafood lovers. They are usually smaller in size and are perfect for salads.
Pink shrimps are the more popular type of shrimp among seafood lovers. They are usually smaller in size and are perfect for salads.

Tiger Shrimps

They have a firm texture. They have stripes like a tiger on their body. And you can cook them in various ways like grilling, steaming, etc.

They are mostly found in the Asian and African continents.

Tiger shrimp have stripes on their bodies. They have a firm texture and hold up well to different cooking methods.
Tiger shrimp have stripes on their bodies. They have a firm texture and hold up well to different cooking methods.

Rock Shrimps

They have a firm texture, and they are sweet in taste. They have a size of approximately 12-inches (30 cm). The shells of these shrimps are hard as a rock. The shells of these shrimps are removed with the help of a particular machine. And their flavor resembles that of the spiny lobsters.

Spot Shrimps

They are known for the scrumptious flavor they add to the cuisine in which they are added. They are similar to lobsters in color and shape. They are very moist, luscious, and tempting. But they need to be handled carefully due to their delicate shell, which can break if you do not handle them appropriately.

Frequently Asked Questions on What is the Green Stuff in Shrimp

What is the Difference Between Shrimps and Prawns?

Shrimps have plate-like gills, whereas prawns have branching gills. Secondly, there are claws on their front two pairs of legs in shrimps, but prawns have claws on the front three sets of legs. Moreover, shrimps carry their eggs with them beneath their bodies, but prawns produce eggs directly into the water.

How to Know That a Raw Shrimp is Stale?

Stale shrimps will have a slimy texture, they will look dull, they will have a sour smell, and you are supposed to throw them away.

Is it Necessary to Remove the White Vein from the Shrimp at the Bottom?

This vein is a blood vessel, but it appears white in color because the blood of shrimps is clear. It does not cause any harm if it is ingested, but you can remove it if it looks less appetizing to you.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.