Just as with any seafood, it is best to purchase shrimp from a store that has a good reputation for having a fresh supply.
Get to know a fishmonger (person who sells the seafood) at the store so that you can have a trusted resource from whom you can purchase your seafood.
When you will be preparing the shrimp should influence your decision as to whether you should buy fresh or frozen shrimp. Frozen shrimp offer the longest shelf life, as they are able to be kept for several weeks, whereas fresh shrimp will only keep for a day or two.
Fresh shrimp should have firm bodies that are still attached to their shells. They should be free of black spots on their shell since this indicates that the flesh has begun to break down. In addition, the shells should not appear yellow or gritty as this may be indicative that sodium bisulfate or another chemical has been used to bleach the shells.
Smell is a good indicator of freshness; good quality shrimp have a slightly saltwater smell. Since a slightly "off" smell cannot be detected through plastic, if you have the option, purchase displayed shrimp as opposed to those that are prepackaged. Once the fishmonger wraps and hands you the shrimp that you have selected, smell them through the paper wrapping and return them if they do not smell right.
When storing any type of seafood, including shrimp, it is important to keep it cold since seafood is very sensitive to temperature. Therefore, after purchasing shrimp or other seafood, make sure to return it to a refrigerator as soon as possible. If the shrimp is going to accompany you during a day full of errands, keep a cooler in the car where you can place the shrimp to make sure it stays cold and does not spoil.
The temperature of most refrigerators is slightly warmer than ideal for storing seafood. Therefore, to ensure maximum freshness and quality, it is important to use special storage methods so as to create the optimal temperature for holding the shrimp. One of the easiest ways to do this is to place the shrimp, which has been well wrapped, in a baking dish filled with ice. The baking dish and shrimp should then be placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, which is its coolest area. Replenish ice one or two times per day. Shrimp can be refrigerated for up to two days although it should be purchased as close to being served as possible
You can extend the shelf life of shrimp by freezing it. To do so, wrap it well in plastic and place it in the coldest part of the freezer where it will keep for about one month.
To defrost shrimp place it in a bowl of cold water or in the refrigerator. Do not thaw the shrimp at room temperature or in a microwave since this can lead to a loss of moisture and nutrients.
Shrimp Salad Sandwich
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen
I pound cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
pinch onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
seasoned salt, to taste
8 slices bread, toasted, use your favorite bread
In bowl, combine shrimp, eggs, celery and mayonnaise, mix well. Add seasonings, to taste and stir to combine. Spread additional mayonnaise on both sides of bread. Heap shrimp salad onto bread. Serve with lettuce and tomatoes, if desired. Enjoy!
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