- Food and Cooking
Don't Fear the Shrimp's Head
Right off the boat...
Have ever seen a shrimp's head?
Pointy- Hairy-Eyeballs staring up at you. Weird, right? Well maybe. However the heads that you never see are missing for a reason. The heads can tell you how fresh the shrimp is.
You Can't Fake This
Firmly attached shrimp heads signify freshness. That is a fact. Fresh caught shrimp is consistent in color. The head may be a slight bit darker. It doesn't take long for the head to become discolored and loose. Well cared for iced shrimp have about 24 hours before we see signs of deterioration.
Headless Shrimp tell no Tails
Seafood people learned along time ago that if you take the heads off the shrimp then normal buyers can't tell how fresh they are. You can freeze and thaw headless shrimp and most people will never know the difference. Freeze and thaw a shrimp with the head will get you a squishy mushy loose head. Properly cared for heads off shrimp can last up to a week as their flavor decreases day by day.
Like a 'Walking Dead' Zombie-you'll eat the brain.
When you suck the head these delicious juices come from the shrimp's brain. Shrimp are very simple animals but the brain is very tasty despite that fact. There is just more flavor when the shrimp are cooked with the heads on. The reason is that there is no way for the juices to escape. A headless shrimp loses all the delicious juices through the opened end. Heads on shrimp 'seals' in juices and flavor turning good shrimp into a lobster-like morsel.
Buy 'em with heads if you can
Heads on shrimp are generally less expensive per pound than heads on shrimp. That alone is one good reason to buy them. If you plans don't include the shrimp heads for the meal, they are easy to remove at home. Just place the head between your thumb and forefinger and pinch. The head should pop right off.
Gather up your shrimp heads and boil them for 15-20 minutes with an onion for great shrimp stock.