How to Clean Shrimp

Shrimp are a satisfying source of lean protein, perfect for all Phases of the South Beach Diet. Plus, they’re a great choice for quick and easy weeknight meals, since raw shrimp cook in mere minutes. Unless you buy your shrimp precleaned or precooked and shelled, you'll need to learn a few DIY tricks. Shrimp can be shelled before cooking or cooked with the shells on, and the deveining process is an optional step. The following is an easy guide for how to do both.

How to Peel Shrimp
If you're going to boil or steam your shrimp, it's best to leave the shell on to retain flavor and moisture. But when you’re baking or sautéing shrimp, peel them. Here’s how:

  1. To peel a shrimp, first pull off the legs.
  2. Once the legs are removed, you can easily peel back and remove the shell and the tail. Some people like to leave the tail on for shrimp cocktail and other dishes.
  3. To make sure you've gotten the entire shell, run the shrimp under water and slide off any bits that remain.
How to Devein Shrimp
The black "vein" along the back of a shrimp is actually its digestive tract. You can eat this part, but many cooks choose to remove it after the shell is removed so that the finished dish looks more appealing.
  1. To begin, after peeling, hold the shrimp in one hand with the tail end facing you and the curved side up.
  2. Take a small paring knife or deveining tool and make a shallow cut down the curved back of the shrimp. This will expose the digestive tract, or "vein."
  3. To remove it, you can use either a toothpick or the knife tip, or you can run the shrimp under cold water and remove it with your fingers.


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