What is the Orange Stuff When Cleaning Shrimp? Are They Edible?

What is the Orange Stuff When Cleaning Shrimp? Are They Edible?

Talking about the kinds of seafood, shrimp comes first in mind as one of the most delicious dishes. Their sweet flesh and soft texture are just a treat to eat. However, you must have seen the orange vein that runs along its back, and if so, it must have made you wonder if it is safe to eat or not. 

What is the Orange Stuff When Cleaning Shrimp?

The orange stuff in the shrimp looks like a vein but is actually the shrimp’s digestive tract. However, it is all safe to eat the shrimps without peeling off their digestive tract or cooking them with it. 

This post will discuss everything that you need to know about shrimps. We bet you will become a shrimp cooking expert after reading this post. So, let’s see what’s the orange stuff inside a shrimp before discussing the right cooking method.

What is the Orange Stuff While Cleaning Shrimps?

While cleaning shrimps, you must have seen orange stuff inside it. Some people call it a vein of shrimp, but it’s actually not. This orange stuff is basically the digestive tract of the shrimp that has undigested or digested food that a shrimp has consumed during its lifecycle. Let’s see if it’s safe to eat or not?

Is it Safe to Eat the Orange Vein? 

Yes, it is safe to eat the shrimps without peeling off their digestive tract or cooking them with the orange veins. If you cook them with the orange vein, you may feel a certain change in taste, but it will not cost you your health.

However, if you wish to pull it off, take extreme precautions while taking it out of the shrimp. It may happen that you pull it off, and a few pieces of it stay on the sides of the body and later spoil the taste. That’s why it is always recommended to rinse the shrimp in cold water for a few hours, even after cleaning it.

Here we have a few quick steps that can help you buy cleaner shrimps and how to cook these with or without the digestive tract later on.

1. Always Buy Fresh Shrimp

The first and foremost part before cooking the shrimps is to make sure that they are fresh and crispy or not.

To see this, just smell the shrimps. If they smell just like the ocean having no ammonia smell, then most probably, the shrimps on your table are just fresh and natural. 

If you’ve gotten them from a fish market, then notice while the shopkeeper takes them out from a cooler having ice in it. In order to keep these shrimps fresh, carry a cooler with ice in it and store the shrimps in the cooler until you come back home and start cooking them. 

On the other hand, if you have bought frozen shrimps, make sure they are not those already peeled shrimps.

There are chances that these shrimp may not taste well after cooking. Carefully notice the ice leakage on the frozen packaging of shrimps. These shrimps may have been defrosted and refrozen. Such shrimps are never good to eat. 

It is never a good idea to cook shrimps that are already defrosted.

2. Let’s Prepare Shrimps

Now, we expect you have got the fresh shrimps and are just waiting to prepare them on your table. 

Step 1: If you have frozen shrimps, just put them in cold water with salt added to them for a while. You can also put the shrimps in ice water and leave them until you return from work. Yes, leaving them in iced water will not affect their taste and texture.

Step 2: The next step is to peel the shrimps. As you will peel them one by one, we recommend you keep them back in iced water once all are peeled off. Now take some paper towels and dry them so that you can cook them well.

Step 3: If you steam or boil the shrimps, then never pull out their shells at this stage as they pack in all the taste and flavor of the shrimps. In such a case, just rinse them with water a little longer than before. Also, it’s up to you if you want to pull out the orange vein of the shrimps at this point or not.

Step 4: If your recipe asks you to pull off the heads, you just need to twist and pull the head off gently. Mostly, when you buy shrimps, the shopkeepers already remove the heads.

Step 5: Now, it’s time to pull off the shells. Just hold the shrimp in one hand and pull out the legs from the other hand. Peel off the shell and take it off. 

The shrimps may be very slippery, and you may not be able to peel off easily. In this case, just add some vinegar to iced water, and then you can easily hold it and peel unnecessary things off.

Step 6: If you make shrimps stock as well, we recommend you not discard the legs and shells of the shrimps as they make a tasty shrimps stock, and you can use them in many recipes.

Now it’s time to cut the orange vein.

3. It’s Time to Cut the Orange Vein

Just take out the pocket knife and make a small cut on the back of the shrimps. Make a deeper cut so that you can see the orange vein directly. Some people call this vein a “Sand Track”  as well. Just use a toothpick to pull this vein out when you see the vein. There are deveining tools available in the market to help you take this vein out.

How to Store the Leftover Fresh Shrimps?

Fresh, crispy, and unfrozen shrimps can be easily broken down and must be used within the next two days as they are safer till then. If you are not using them right away, then just store them in a bowl having ice and cover the bowl with wax paper so that air can circulate through it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the orange stuff at the tail end of the shrimp?

This is most probably a female shrimp in your hand, and its legs are orange. This, too, is edible and is very delicious too. 

How to Store Frozen Shrimps?

Frozen shrimps should be stored in tight packaging and in the deep freezer. You can store them for the next six months. They will lose their original texture but will taste good. Remember, when you defrost the shrimps, you must cook them the same day. Refreezing shrimps will end up having a bad and spoiled taste. 

Final Words

Now that you know all about shrimps, we hope you will have a better cooking experience with shrimps next time. Do share your experience with us, and if you’ve found this article helpful, share it with your friends as well.

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