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Burning Question: Is It Really Necessary to Devein Shrimp?

If you've peeled your own shrimp (and saved the shells for stock) at home recently, you may have encountered the quandary of whether or not to devein the shrimp. While most recipes call for shrimp to be peeled and deveined (removed of its intestinal tract), there are dissenters, like our very own PartySugar, who has learned from the Spanish that it's completely unnecessary to devein shrimp. So what's the real story?

It depends on the type of shrimp. When cooking with smaller shrimp that have a translucent-hued tract, deveining is unnecessary. Larger shrimp and jumbo prawns often have a dark, sandy intestinal tract. You won't fall ill from eating jumbo prawns if these aren't removed; however, it's recommended that you remove them, not only for cosmetic reasons, but also to avoid affecting the shrimp's clean taste.

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derpderp derpderp 4 years 12 weeks
nope. nope. nope. ALWAYS remove the vein. ALWAYS. It's just basic human courtesy to not ask your guests/patrons to eat poop.
ngocnguyen ngocnguyen 5 years 40 weeks
I devein when it's bigger prawns...kind of grosses me out to leave it. After shelling, just run a toothpick through to open and remove, then wash or wipe it out.
luckykarma luckykarma 6 years 37 weeks
OMG Anonymous, get a grip. Devein your "bivalves and crustaceans" and leave people alone that choose to leave it in. Is it your problem if they want to eat it that way?
Food Food 6 years 49 weeks
Anonymous, ever cut a clam in half? There is definitely some funky intestinal stuff in there.
Food Food 6 years 49 weeks
If you think about, though, you're also eating the tract of oysters, clams, and mussels, because none of those get deveined!
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 6 years 49 weeks
IMO If shrimp is not deveined it's unsightly, unsanitary, and literally distasteful. If in someone served it, I wouldn't be rude & not eat it, but I might make up an excuse that I wasn't hungry, etc. I really don't eat shrimp very much anymore. It's a scavenger. I may let you twist my arm if it's a nice CLEAN shrimp coctail. ;)
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 6 years 49 weeks
Yeah, I just feel kinda squicked out by eating the un-de-veined shrimp.
Dagne Dagne 6 years 49 weeks
I don't know how you can eat shrimp that visibly has that black/gray tract. The sound and sensation from the grittiness upon impact with the molars sends a chill down my spine. Terrible.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years 49 weeks
I've always deveined my shrimp. Something about vein and intenstinal tract makes me squirm. It may be time consuming, but it's for my peace of mind.
partysugar partysugar 6 years 49 weeks
Well, when I lived in Spain nobody worried about deveining the shrimp. And my Spanish boyfriend laughed at me when I told him you couldn't eat that part! So, I've eaten a lot of undevined shrimp since then, and nothing bad has ever happened to me.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 6 years 49 weeks
same as mamasitamali - I got my shrimp - peeled and devined already. Made my life a lot easier. :)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 6 years 49 weeks
I have never deveined. There isnt any need really
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 6 years 49 weeks
I agree with juliefischer!
Smacks83 Smacks83 6 years 49 weeks
"PartySugar, who has learned from the Spanish that it's completely unnecessary to devein shrimp" Can Party explain it? I'm not bashing, just really curious (it would save time not to have to devein).
juliefischer juliefischer 6 years 49 weeks
To me, vein=poop and that grosses me out. I always take out the vein.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 6 years 49 weeks
very interesting! I buy my shrimp deveined already :)