True shrimp are small, swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water.

A number of more or less unrelated crustaceans also have the word "shrimp" in their common name. Examples are the mantis shrimp and the opposum or mysid shrimp, both of which belong to the same class (Malacostraca) as the true shrimp, but constitute two different orders within it, the Stomatopoda and the Mysidacea. Triops longicaudatus or Triops cancriformis are also popular animals in freshwater aquaria, and are often called shrimp, although they belong instead to the Notostraca, a quite unrelated group.

Shrimp are distinguished from the superficially similar prawns by the structure of the gills, and by the fact that female shrimp (as in all other pleocyemates) brood the eggs on their pleopods. There is, however, much confusion between the two, especially among non-specialists, and many shrimp are called "prawns" and many prawns are called "shrimp". This is particularly widespread in culinary contexts. In Southeast Asia, the difference between shrimp and prawns is based on size, with larger shrimp being called prawns.

A number of the larger species, including the shrimp Penaeus setiferus, are caught commercially and used for food. Recipes utilizing shrimp form part of the cuisine of many cultures: examples include jambalaya, okonomiyaki, poon choi, bagoong, Kerala and scampi.

Preparing shrimp for consumption usually involves removing the shell, tail, and "sand vein" (a euphemism for the digestive tract). Removing the "vein" can be referred to as "deveining", though in fact shrimp do not have any real veins; they have an open circulatory system. As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium and protein but low in food energy.

Dried shrimp is commonly used in Asian cuisines while fried shrimp is popular in North America. In Europe shrimp are very popular, forming a necessary ingredient in Spanish paella de marisco, French bouillabaisse, Italian cacciucco, Portuguese caldeirada and many other seafood dishes.

To deshell the shrimp, first hold onto the tail while gently removing the shell around the body. The tail can be detached completely at this point, or left attached for presentation purposes. The "vein" is then removed by making a shallow cut lengthwise down the outer curve of the shrimp's body, allowing one to pick out the dark ribbon-like vein with a pointed utensil. Then rinse the shrimp under cold running water. If the tail has been detached, the vein can be pinched at the tail end and pulled out completely with the fingers. Shrimp is best if cooked very briefly, allowing only enough time for the meat to lose its translucency. It quickly becomes rubbery and unappetizing if overcooked, and the line between cooked and overcooked is very thin.

Bandages made of chitosan from the shells of shrimp are marketed by HemCon Medical Technologies Inc.; they have been shown to reduce blood loss in comparison to gauze dressings and increase survival. They have been sold to the United States Army, who have already used the bandages on the battlefields of Iraq.

Several types of shrimp are kept in home aquaria. Some are purely ornamental, while others are useful in controlling algae and removing debris. Freshwater shrimp commonly available for aquaria include the Japanese marsh shrimp (Caridina japonica, also called "Amano shrimp," as their use in aquaria was pioneered by Takashi Amano), and ghost or glass shrimp (Palaeomonetes sp.). Popular saltwater shrimp include the cleaner shrimp Lysmata amboinensis, the fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) and the Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta).Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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