Refrigerating & Handling Shrimp
Fresh Shrimp must stay COLD - keep them Iced Down until processed for cooking or freezing
Cooked shrimp can be stored in a sealed bag no more than three days in the coldest part of your refrigerator
How to shell shrimp
To remove the shell from uncooked shrimp, use a small sharp knife to make a shallow cut down the back (outer curved side) of each shrimp. Use your fingers to pull off the shell and legs, leaving the tail portion attached to the meat.
How to de vein shrimp
The black "vein" that runs along the back of the shrimp is actually its digestive tract. It isn’t necessary to remove the vein, but the shrimp certainly look better and some say they taste better when de veined. You can de vein shrimp while leaving the shell on (the shell adds flavor and can protect the meat if you’re grilling the shrimp.) To make it easier to access the vein of unshelled shrimp, cut down the back (outer curved side) of the shell with a knife or kitchen scissors. Use a small pick (’shrimp pick’), a skewer or your fingers to find the vein, and pull it out. Pull out as much of the vein as possible (working under cold running water will help free the vein). Repeat in several other areas until the vein has been fully removed.
How to butterfly shrimp
First shell the shrimp leaving the tail attached. Next insert a knife or kitchen shears about 3/4 of the way into the shrimp at the head region. Cut almost all the way through the flesh, down the center of the shrimp’s back and to the tail. Use your hands to open the flesh of the shrimp until it lies flat. Remove the vein with your fingers or the tip of a knife. Hold the shrimp under cold running water to rinse thoroughly.
Both cooked and raw shrimp may be frozen, but freezing raw preserves a better flavor.
Raw shrimp can be frozen with shell or without, but should have the heads removed.
Raw frozen shrimp will last six months in the freezer while frozen cooked shrimp should be consumed within two months. Frozen Cooked and uncooked shrimp should ideally be thawed in the refrigerator in advance of need. They can be added frozen to casseroles and baked dishes. If you need to quickly thaw, you may put the shrimp under cold water, not warm. Warm will begin the cooking process.
How Much Shrimp do I need?
Expect the weight of raw shrimp to reduce by half when cooked. Two pounds raw shrimp will yield 1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp. Shrimps are purchased on number per pound basis. Plan on 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person being served , remember this doesn't count towards all the taste testing you'll do while cooking! .
The more number of shrimps per pound the smaller their size is.
Shrimp cooking tips and hints
It's important not to overcook shrimp or it will become dry and rubbery. Cook only until the flesh is opaque. When using a boiling method, the shrimp will turn pink, rise to the top and float when done.
Some recipes will cook the shrimp within the recipe itself. Others will require you cook the shrimp ahead, usually via a simple boiling method and perhaps with a spice mixture.
You can make a wonderful broth by boiling the shells from shrimp with spices, onion, garlic, and perhaps some celery and carrot. Cool and sift through cheesecloth when the desired strength is achieved, and freeze it for later use in soups or chowders.
Use beer for your cooking liquid for shrimp to give a wonderful, slightly sweet flavor.
Discard the shrimp if it smells off or has a strong ammonia odor.
It's easier to peel and de vein raw shrimp rather than cooked shrimp.
Shrimp cooked in the shell has more flavor than shrimp peeled before cooking.
Buy only local Shrimp!
Do you have any idea where most shrimp in supermarkets and restaurants comes from? Probably Thailand, from which the U.S. imported 182,371 metric tons of shrimp in 2008 (and where intensive shrimp cultivation is endangering the mangrove forests and everything that lives in them). Or maybe it’s from Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam, China, Mexico, or Malaysia. We import anywhere from 84,000 to 30,000 metric tons of shrimp from these countries annually.
The energy demands of this shipping distance is one one problem. Another is the environmental degradation that results from such intensive farming in these places. Then there is the problem of contamination. Mega shrimp farms are constantly fighting off bacteria and fungi with antibiotics—including those that are banned in the U.S. Heavy metals and other pollutants are also common contaminants. And do you recall the contamination scandals of recent years, when thousands of pets and Chinese babies died from ingesting melamine? The New York Times reported not too long ago that melamine is commonly used as a binding agent in the food pellets given to shrimp in China (and probably other places as well). During the occasional inspection of shrimp imports by the FDA, contamination is almost sure to be found.
In another recent Times article about seafood from China, the reporter summed up the FDA report with these words: “Of the seafood that was refused at the border, filth was the top reason and salmonella was second, with shrimp accounting for about half of those.” And did you know that the FDA inspects less than 2% of food imports?
Fresh Wild Caught Shrimp VS. Farm Raised
What is the difference between Gulf shrimp and farm raised shrimp in taste comparison? There is no comparison. Gulf Shrimp get their flavor from all of the different things they feed on in the Gulf of Mexico. Many people believe that they have the best flavor of all shrimp. Gulf shrimp are not treated with chemicals like many of the farm raised shrimp.
Where do your Crabs Come From?
Our Gulf Blue Crabs come from the clean warm waters of the gulf of Mexico and the bays around Galveston Texas to make sure you are getting the Highest Quality Clean Gulf Blue Crab Available.
How much Crab do I Need?
An average blue crab weighs about 1/3 pound before preparation. You will have to do a little math to determine how many crabs your should buy. Here's a handy calculator
Number of lbs Crab meat you think you need
Then multiply by rough yield per crab
Number of Individual Crabs To Buy
Apx. Number of Lbs. Of Crab To Buy
Storing and Handling Crabs
Hard blue crabs are always marketed live. Crabs that have died in transit should be immediately discarded since there is no reliable way to determine the degree of spoilage.
Motion and heat are the biggest factors affecting the blue crabs mortality.
The best way to store a hard-shell crab is in a cool, moist environment. It is important to store live crabs at a 50-degree temperature. Holding live crab in a standard refrigerator (36-degrees) will ultimately kill the crab.
Do not plan on holding live crabs more than 2-3 days max.
Crabs use their gills to take oxygen out of the water, much like a fish. However, crabs can survive for long periods out of water. As long as a crab can keep its gills moist, oxygen from the air will diffuse into the moisture, and then into the gills. To keep a crabs gills from drying out, store them in a cool, moist environment. Crabs have articulating plates around their gills that help seal them in and prevent drying out. When you buy (or catch) live crabs, you should place them in a suitable container. A cooler with a layer of ice on the bottom is best. Optimal temperature is 50-degrees. Keep the crabs out of any melted ice water. If the crabs get into this water they'll quickly deplete the water's oxygen and will suffocate (for this same reason you should not keep live crabs in a bucket of water). Be sure to keep the lid cracked so that fresh air can get in. Alternatively, you can store the crabs in a wooden bushel basket, covered with a damp burlap sack, and out of direct sunlight. Before you prepare live crabs, allow them to warm to room temperature. Cold crabs will be slow and lethargic and may appear to be dead. Once they warm up they should become active. Remember to discard any dead crabs. Courtesy of http://www.bluecrab.info
The best pictorial guide I've seen on cleaning crabs can be seen at http://www.bluecrab.info/cbyc.html
Texas Parks & Wildlife presents Texas Crabs
Schools & Universities
Texas A&M University's Sea Grant Program
Texas Parks & Wildlife Recreational Crabbing Regulations
Events & Festivals
Crystal Beach annual Texas Crab Festival