Devein Shrimp – Easy How To Cooking Project

Shrimp don’t actually have veins, since their circulatory system is open. But they do have a long line down their back which looks like a vein, which is a bit unsightly. For that reason, and for health issues, learning how to devein shrimp is one of those necessary cooking tips. Sometimes this may have been done for you by the retailer where you purchased them but more often, you will need to do the job yourself.

How to Devein shrimp

There is nothing quite like the look of a plate of grilled shrimp with the back open and the vein removed.  Any good restaurant knows that presentation of shrimp means de-veining them prior to serving. This plate would not look any where near as appealing if the dark vein were showing on the shrimp.Grilled shrimp

Use these tricks to devein shrimp perfectly every time.

There are two “veins.”  One is a white vein which is on the underside of the shrimp.  It is white because a shrimp has clear blood. There is no real food safety reason to remove this one (I don’t) but you may do so if it bothers you.

The main “vein” is the one which runs along the top of the body.  This is the is the alimentary canal, or the “sand vein,” and is where the body wastes such as sand pass through the shrimp.  You remove it, partly because it’s unappetizing, but also so you don’t bite down on the sand and grit.

To devein shrimp, just follow these steps:

  • Peel the shrimp first and keep them in a bolw of icy water. This keeps them fresh while you work on the other shrimp to remove the vein.
  • Use a very sharp paring knife. ( I have also done it with a very sharp pair of kitchen shears.  This method works best with the extra large shrimp.  If you have small ones, the paring knife is better.)
  • Cut a 1/4 inch deep slit down the back of the shrimp.   I start at the fattest part of the shrimp and cut towards the tail.  You don’t have to go all the way to the end. The vein will be easily seen at this stage.
  • Use the tip of your knife to remove the “vein” and then rinse the shrimp in cold water.

This picture shows the shrimp when it was peeled.

de-vein shrimp

This step shows the slit in the shrimp with the vein showing.

de-vein shrimpThis shows the slit cut into the shrimp and the vein removed.

de-vein shrimpThe final picture shows all of the shrimp that I cleaned.  It took me about 3 or 4 minutes tops.  You get better at it as you work your way through them.

cleaned shrimpI used these shrimp in my new Shrimp Alfredo recipe with broccoli.   You can view the recipe here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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