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A shrimp is a crustacean with a long and narrow body. It plays a vital role in the food chain as it is considered to be a significant food source of larger animals that ranges from fish to whales. And now that shrimps are being produced commercially, they also support the economic industry by approximately 50 billion dollars each year. Still, caridean shrimps first appeared in the fossil record of Lower Jurassic more than 190 million years ago. And as of 2018, there are more than 3,500 shrimp species worldwide. Thus, it is no wonder that shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States. In fact, it represents more than 25% of the country’s annual seafood consumption per capita. This figure states that an average American consumes 4 pounds of shrimp each year. That’s one billion pounds annually!

Nevertheless, a shrimp tastes like fish with a texture similar to a chicken’s thigh. It provides a distinct flavor that is difficult to compare on any terrestrial or aquatic animal. But certainly, it can be turned into a delectable dish.

Shrimp Trivia

  • The National Shrimp Scampi Day is celebrated every April 29th.
  • The National Shrimp Day is celebrated every May 9th.
  • Shrimp on average has 10 legs.
  • Every single shrimp is born a male. As they mature, they become females.
  • The pistol shrimp can provide an explosive attack that is hotter than the sun’s surface. It is also loud enough to break a human eardrum.

Shrimp Buying Guide

Market-ready shrimps can be easily grouped into three categories: frozen, fresh, and live. Thus, we’ve compiled some tips that vary depending on its category. Here are as follows:

Frozen Shrimps:

Frozen shrimps are the safest and most convenient option. Thus, here are some things to keep in mind when buying one:

  • Frozen shrimps can be found in the frozen food section of the store. 
  • Look for the ones that are labeled IQF. Individually Quick-Frozen means that the products are less damaged when they are frozen. When fishermen catch shrimps, they freeze it right away, while they’re still on the boat. This process preserves the freshness and flavor of the shrimp. 
  • Consequently, never go for the ones with freezer burns.

Fresh Shrimps:

Fresh shrimps take the highest-risk among the three options. But, it is less time-consuming to prepare, since it’s already thawed out. Thus, here are some things to keep in mind when buying one:

  • Fresh shrimps can be found in the wet market or the seafood section of the store.
  • Most of the time, these shrimps are already frozen and they’re just thawed in the store. This means that the shrimps are losing their freshness every passing hour. Not to mention that some unsold ones go back to the freezer at the end of the day. Thus, unless you’re 100% sure that the “fresh” shrimps are actually fresh-off-the-boat, frozen shrimps are way more better. 
  • Avoid shrimps that smell like ammonia or if the shells are slimy and the shrimps look sloppy.

Live Shrimps:

Well, this is the best choice among the three. Wild-caught shrimp provides a cleaner, sharper, and more shrimp flavor than their famed counterparts. But, if they aren’t wild-caught, it’s okay. For as long as they’re raised responsibly and sustainably, you have nothing to worry about. Now, here’s the only thing to keep in mind when buying live shrimps:

  • You want to buy the ones with shiny shells and bright jet black eyes that show lively movements. Then, look for black spots on its head and body as this is an indication that the meat has started to break down and is not as fresh as you think it is. It’s better to buy the frozen ones if this is the case. 

Shrimps by the Variety:

Moreover, if you are buying shrimps and you found these general labels, it’s good to know where they come from and how are they defined:

  • Cold Water Shrimps – These are the smaller varieties of shrimps that are harvested in the ocean waters of the northeast and northwest regions of Canada and the United States. They are also known as Pandalid shrimps. Pandalus Borealis is a popular species that is pink in color. These are commonly used in soups, chowders, or salads. Nevertheless, coldwater shrimps are only available pre-cooked and peeled.
  • Warm Water Shrimps – These are varieties of shrimps that are farmed and harvested in the tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Penaeusand Litopenaneus is a popular species that can either be white, pink, or brown in color. Some other species include tiger, hopper, and banana shrimp.
  • Wild Shrimps – These are either cold or warm varieties that are harvested from the coastal ocean waters. They are the most preferred varieties when it comes to cooking traditional recipes. Less than 10% of the total shrimp consumption in the United States comes from wild harvests.
  • Farmed Shrimps – These are warm water varieties that are grown in pond systems supplied by formulated feeds. More than 90% of the total shrimp consumption in the United States comes from farmed sources.
  • Domestic Shrimps – These are varieties of shrimps that are harvested along the coasts of the United States.
  • Imported Shrimps – These are farmed shrimps that are grown in Thailand, China, and many other nations, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coasts of Central and South America.

Shrimps by the Color:

Now that you know the different categories and varieties of shrimps, it’s time to learn it’s subvarieties. Thus, it’s easier to distinguish them by their color. Without further ado, below are shrimps that are either farmed or caught wild around the world:

  • Brown Shrimp – Although this shrimp mostly comes from the Gulf of Mexico, they’re found down the Atlantic coast. They tend to be fairly small, with a slightly purple hue on their tail. The flavor isn’t the greatest but they tend to have a distinctive iodine flavor.
  • White Shrimp – This shrimp can be found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast, by the muddy and shallow waters. A significant amount can also be imported from Latin America, especially from Ecuador and Mexico. China and Thailand also produce great amounts.
  • Pink Shrimp – This shrimp is one of the tastiest shrimp you can find. It’s mild and sweet, and it doesn’t have that distinctive ammonia taste that the two mentioned above have. Meanwhile, a pink shrimp can range from white to gray in color. But, you can recognize it by its tail’s dark blue coloring.
  • Tiger Shrimp – This shrimp can be found predominantly in Asia, especially in Thailand, China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It can be distinguished by its large size (up to a foot in length) and brown striping on their bodies. Tiger shrimps are the most commonly farmed shrimps in the world. But regardless if they’re farmed or fresh, they can provide a distinct shrimp flavor. This type of shrimp is the one you mostly see in Asian Markets, where it is sold frozen in 5-lb blocks.
  • Spot Prawn – This shrimp can be found along the Pacific coast from Alaska down to Mexico. It is also a delicacy in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Like tiger shrimp, a spot prawn can also grow up to a foot in length. Spot prawns are noted for their tenderness and sweetness.
  • Rock Shrimp – This shrimp can be found in the deep and cold waters of the Atlantic coast, from Virginia down to the Gulf. Some can also be found on the Pacific coast. It’s noted for its gray, rock-like shell and segmented flesh that resembles a lobster tail. Hence, it is no wonder that this type of shrimp tasted like lobster and it’s firmer than the shrimps – it’s even hard to remove that tough shell without a machine! That’s why it’s usually sold pre-peeled. Nevertheless, rock shrimp tends to be sweeter than the other shrimp varieties. It is a good and cheaper alternative to those recipes that call for lobster.

Shrimp Production & Farming in Texas

Indeed, shrimps are widespread. They can be found near the floor of most estuaries, coasts, rivers, and lakes. Most species are marine, and about a quarter can be found in freshwater. In Texas, freshwater shrimps have been cultured since the early 1970s. The city of Weatherford is home to Aquaculture of Texas, Inc., a hatchery that has been operating since 1987. However, that is the only hatchery in the state. Though, few grow out producers can be found in North Central and Northeast Texas. The reason for that is because tropical animals like shrimps grow better in cooler climates than they do in warmer climates like Texas. Thus, marketing shrimp has always been quite a challenge in the Gulf Coast.

Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:

Generally speaking, pesticides prevent the normal transfer of nerve impulses in the organisms. But in shrimp, these can result in tremors, paralysis, and even death. Thus, the following pesticides can be detrimental to freshwater shrimp: cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, dimethoate, fenarimol, and diuron. The first mentioned is the most toxic while the last one is the least. 

In addition, shrimps can be susceptible to the following herbicides and pesticides:

  • Propiconazole – this pesticide is toxic to both fish and shrimp.
  • Diazinon – this chemical compound can range from moderate to high toxicity, especially to invertebrates.
  • Imidacloprid – this chemical compound is also highly toxic, but on an acute basis to aquatic invertebrates. It can severely affect its growth and movement.
  • Permethrin – this chemical compound is highly effective against all arthropods, including crustaceans.

On another note, you can also buy canned shrimps. Here are the following additives that we found on top brands:

  • Sodium Phosphate – This additive is commonly found in processed and fast foods. It acts as a thickener, stabilizer, and texturizer. Common side effects include headache, vomiting, bloatedness, abdominal pain, reduced urine, and even seizure.
  • Artificial Flavorings – These are usually chemically-formulated products that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. Although they are labeled as such due to its very small quantitative participation, it’s always a better option to stay away from these ingredients. For canned shrimps, some of which come in the following names: disodium guanylate, disodium phosphate, disodium inosinate, disodium succinate, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate, TBHQ, and alike. 
  • Citric Acid – This additive is a natural preservative in foods. It is a weak and organic acid that is found on citrus fruits. Thus, citric acid adds that sour or acidic taste to the product. Although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it may cause muscle cramps, weight gain, stomach pain, and convulsions.
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA – This chemical compound acts as a chelating agent, preservative, and flavoring agent. And although it is generally classified as safe to consume, consumption of great amounts can cause fever, headache, muscle or joint pain, and nausea.
  • Sodium Metabisulfite – This additive is also known as sodium pyrosulfite. It is a chemical compound that acts as a reducing agent and a preservative while improving the antioxidant capacity of the product. Common side effects of this additive include nose, throat, and lung irritation. 


Frozen shrimps usually come in thick bags or 5-lb blocks. However, you can also purchase this on wholesale, wherein it is packaged in large cartons that usually weigh between 15 lbs to 50 lbs. On another note, fresh shrimps are sold by the pound. And, you can also buy shrimps that are packaged in cans.

Enjoying Shrimps

It is believed that shrimps are unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content. In addition, farm-raised shrimps may have some negative effects compared to the wild-caught ones. However, shrimps are generally low in calories. Yet, they’re rich in protein and nutrients that include antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart health. Thus, when consumed in moderation, shrimps can be beneficial to our health. Not to mention that it is flexible too! You can simply grill it by itself, add it to your pasta, stir-fries, and more.


The shelf life of shrimp varies depending on the preparation method, storage, and sell-by-date. All shrimps should be kept in an airtight container right after purchase to inhibit moisture and other contaminants. If you’re not cooking the shrimps within the day, put them in a freezer-safe container and freeze. While it is best to follow the sell-by-date for packaged or frozen shrimps, here are some general guidelines on shrimp’s shelf life:

  • Fresh shrimps that are shelled off can last 1-2 days in the refrigerator and 6-9 months in the freezer.
  • Fresh shrimps with shell on can last 2-3 days in the refrigerator and 9-12 months in the freezer.
  • Cooked shrimps last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and 6-9 months in the freezer.
  • Frozen shrimps last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator and 9-12 months in the freezer.
  • Canned shrimps last for 6-8 months in the counter or pantry and 6-8 months in the refrigerator. If the content is transferred into a non-reactive, airtight, and freezer safe container, it can last for 9-12 months in the freezer.

Make your own Shrimp Scampi:

Shrimp scampi is a delectable and creamy dish that is super easy to make. You may also check out here at our Texas Real Food Promptuary if you want to make a linguine pasta from scratch. Without further ado, below is a quick recipe for shrimp scampi:

Yield: 12 servings


  • 2 16-oz packages linguine pasta
  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. Boil the linguine noodles in salted water until al dente, roughly 6-8 minutes, or depending on the instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Season the shrimps with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté shallots and garlic in melted butter and olive oil. 
  4. Add the seasoned shrimps and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until it is pink in color. Remove the shrimps from the pan and set aside.
  5. Then, pour white wine and lemon juice into the pan and bring it to boil. Scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Lower down the heat to simmer.
  6. Toss cooked linguine and shrimps back to the pan. Add in parsley, then finally season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve warm!



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 99 5%
  • Carbs: 0g 0%
  • Sugar: 0g 0%
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 20.9g 42%
  • Fat: 1.1g 2%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3g 1%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 195mg 65%
  • Sodium 224mg 9%
  • Vitamin C 2.2mg 4%
  • Vitamin A 225IU 4%
  • Calcium 39mg 4%
  • Iron 3.1mg 17%
  • Potassium 182mg 5%
  • Vitamin E 1.4mg 7%
  • Vitamin K 0mcg 0%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg 6%
  • Folate 4mcg 1%
  • Vitamin B12 1.5mcg 25%
  • Magnesium 34mg 8%
  • Phosphorus 137mg 14%
  • Manganese 0mg 2%
  • Copper 0.2mg 10%
  • Zinc 1.6mg 10%

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