Can You Eat Raw Shrimps?
The question whether or not one can eat raw shrimp has been asked many times in various forums. Some say yes, some say no, and others are undecided.
As it is known that shrimp is a delicacy in certain parts of the world, there are several factors which determine if one can eat them. There are three main points:
Do they have shell?
If so, then they cannot be eaten raw. (See point 2.)
Are they fresh or frozen?
Frozen ones will spoil faster than fresh ones, but since most people don’t like eating spoiled food anyway, it doesn’t matter too much.
How old are they?
Fresh shrimp usually have a shelf life of at least two years, while frozen ones only last for around six months.
So how do you decide if you can eat raw shrimp?
Well, first off, it’s best to check the expiration date on your favorite brand. Then, make sure the shrimps were fresh when purchased and haven’t been stored in any kind of cold environment such as freezer or refrigerator.
If you want to be completely sure of their freshness, smell them. They shouldn’t have any strong, foul odor.
If they smell fine, then you can go ahead and eat them raw. If not, cook them. (If you bought frozen shrimp and thawed them out, then they should be cooked regardless of how they smell because they could have gone bad even if you couldn’t smell anything wrong with them.
However, if you’re still a little unsure about whether they’re safe to eat or not after following the steps above, then it’s best not to take chances and cook them anyway.
Why risk getting sick when you don’t have to?
How is Eating Raw Shrimp Different from Eating Other Raw Seafood?
Well, first off, most raw seafood shouldn’t be eaten raw for the simple reason that it’s harder to verify its freshness. Whereas most fresh shrimps are relatively easy to keep fresh on ice, other kinds of seafood such as fish and clams have a tendency to go bad very quickly.
The other major factor is parasites. While some shrimp do carry parasites, most of these can be killed by freezing the shrimp for at least three days, and very few species actually pose a danger to humans when eaten raw.
But with other seafood, it’s a different story. As I said, fish and clams have a tendency to spoil quickly, and in some cases they can also carry parasites which can infect the human body.
So, while eating raw shrimp is relatively safe, it’s always best to buy your shrimp from a reputable dealer and follow the advice above to make sure that you’re eating the safest food possible.
How to Eat Shrimp with Utensils
When eating shrimp, you can use your fingers instead of utensils. However, most people prefer to eat them with a fork and knife.
First, hold the shrimp firmly on its back so you don’t get your hands sticky. Then, use your knife to cut the shell along the middle, being careful not to stab yourself.
If you’re using a real knife and not a spoon, then it should have a serrated edge to make this task easier.
As you cut, the shell should split in half and pull away from the legs. Leave the shell on for now since it acts as a natural fork to keep your shrimp secure.
Next, pick off the head by pinching it with your thumb and forefinger and pulling it off. This is usually the part that has the fewest calories, but you might need to remove any bits of intestine that might be left behind.
Now you can eat the rest!
Eating the Legs
The legs are often the best part of the shrimp and can be eaten dipped in cocktail sauce or lemon juice. You can also suck the meat out of the legs directly.
Although some people don’t like to eat the tail, it’s quite tender and can be easily bitten off and eaten. However, if you’re looking for a little more flavor, then removing the tail is easy.
First, use your knife to split it down the middle by pressing on it and cutting straight down. Most of the time the tail comes off in one piece, but you might need to give it a little help with your fingers.
Once that’s done, you can either suck the meat out directly or dip it in sauce like you would with the legs.
Sources & references used in this article:
Development of a multiplex real-time PCR method for simultaneous detection of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. in raw shrimp by Z Zhang, L Xiao, Y Lou, M Jin, C Liao, PK Malakar… – Food Control, 2015 – Elsevier
Capacitance method to determine the microbiological quality of raw shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) by AM Metcalfe, DL Marshall – Food microbiology, 2004 – Elsevier
Bioaccessibility and antimicrobial properties of a shrimp demineralization extract blended with chitosan as wrapping material in ready-to-eat raw salmon by J Gómez-Estaca, A Alemán, ME López-Caballero… – Food chemistry, 2019 – Elsevier
Prevalence and molecular characterization of Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes isolated from fish, shrimp, and cooked ready-to-eat (RTE) aquatic products in … by E Abdollahzadeh, SM Ojagh, H Hosseini, G Irajian… – LWT, 2016 – Elsevier
Relationship between the risk for a shrimp allergy and freshness or cooking by M Usui, A Harada, S Yasumoto, Y Sugiura… – Bioscience …, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
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