How to Peel and Devein Shrimp

It’s easy to enjoy wonderful shrimp recipes like Orange-Glazed Shrimp at home, but some cooks are intimidated. Likely, all they need to do is learn how to peel and de-vein shrimp. (When you know what the black vein is, you know it has to go!) Peeling shrimp is not difficult, and two methods are below. City Fish Market is the place to buy all the fresh shrimp you want for tempting recipes. Info on the anatomy of shrimp and instructions for peeling and deveining these delicious sea creatures—whether, large, medium, or jumbo shrimp—follow.

fresh and tasty shrimp, farmington ctThe Anatomy of Shrimp

The ocean floor is a shrimp’s natural dwelling place. Shrimp have a hard outer shell constructed of segmented parts, a softer underside, feathery little legs, and a tail. The shrimp’s intestinal tract is, indeed, the black, gritty vein. Remove it to maximize eating enjoyment. The shrimp’s heads are usually already removed when you buy them.

How to Peel Shrimp – Two Methods

First Method

  • Pull off the legs
  • Break open and peel off the underside of the shell. To do this, work your thumbs beneath the shell and then crack it open. You can peel it away from the shrimp as the shell cracks.
  • If removing the tail, at the place where it meets the body of the shrimp, gently pinch and pull it off.

Second Method

You will use kitchen shears with this method.

  • Insert the tip of your shears between the shrimp and the top of its shell. Cut the shell along its length, stopping when you get to the tail.
  • Peel off the shell from both sides and discard or save to make shrimp stock.
  • Where the tail meets the body, pinch and gently pull to remove it.

How to Devein Shrimp

  • Make shallow cuts (score) along the back of the shrimp with a paring knife.
  • The vein looks like a long string. Locate it, though not every shrimp will have one.
  • With the tip of your paring knife, gently pull up the vein, starting near the top and continuing to the bottom. Because it has elasticity, the vein does not usually break. If it does break, pick it up and keep pulling.


Bonus Tip: Keep the Shells!

Tip: Save the shrimp shells and simmer them in water for about 15 minutes for shrimp stock. Shrimp shell broth is extremely beneficial and nutritious, and it is faster to make than bone broth. Shrimp shells have glucosamine, a protein that is found in human joints and connective tissue. The nutrients in shrimp shells can heal immune systems and it is rich in selenium, and helps fight free radicals. Astaxanthin, abundant in shrimp shells, helps to reduce inflammation.

varieties of fresh shrimp, avon ctFresh Shrimp is Abundant at City Fish Market

City Fish Market is a fresh fish market with a wide selection of seafood. We suggest you don’t let yourself be intimidated by a little shrimp. Once you learn how to peel and devein shrimp, it gets easier as you go. Then you can freely take advantage of flavorful shrimp recipes, many of which are on our website. Some recipes suggest keeping the tail on.

Come to City Fish Market and see for yourself how fresh our seafood is. Freshness is the secret to delectable taste. Visit us today at 884 Silas Deane Hwy in Wethersfield, CT, today. You can also call us at 860-522-3129 or fill out our online form.


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