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Tips for Buying, Preparing and Serving Fresh Shrimp

Updated on December 30, 2010

Fresh Shrimp

Fresh brown shrimp from North Carolina.
Fresh brown shrimp from North Carolina.

How Much Shrimp to Serve Per Person?

One pound of heads-on shrimp will net around 12 oz. of heads-off shrimp. Peeling and removing the tails will net about 8-9 oz. of usable meat. Serving sizes per person will vary widely depending on how shrimp is served.

When serving traditional steamed shrimp (headless, in shell),  plan on serving 3/4 - 1 pound per person. For seafood feasts and big appetites, more shrimp may be required. If excess amounts of shrimp are steamed, the leftovers can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Main courses such as grilled or fried shrimp will call for larger amounts of shrimp meat while dishes such as scampi, shrimp salads, chowders and soups usually require less shrimp.

Types of Shrimp

Shrimp is the most popular seafood eaten in the USA. Wild shrimp of the southern USA include white shrimp, brown shrimp, royal red shrimp, and rock shrimp. Shrimp are classified as shellfish.

Steamed Shrimp
Steamed Shrimp

Sizes of Warm Water Shrimp

Warm water shrimp may be sold by count per pound or market name.

* Shrimp counts are expressed as a range. For example, 8/10 means that 1 pound of product will contain between 8-10 shrimp. The smaller the size, the higher the counts.

* Shrimp sizes are sometimes marketed by names rather than numbers, such as "colossal," "jumbos," and "extra large." These market terms tend to have a wider range of variance than the shrimp count system.

The following is a rough estimate of the number of shrimp per pound for each market name:

Jumbo - 8 to 10
Large - 10 to 25
Medium - 26 to 40
Small - 41 to 60

Favorite Shrimp Dish Poll

What is your favorite way to enjoy fresh shrimp?

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How To Freeze Shrimp

Vacuum bags are the best option for freezing shrimp. These special bags employ special pumps to remove air from freezer storage bags. Several types of bags and vacuum devices exist, ranging from inexpensive hand pumps to large models for bulk freezing. Removing excess air from packaging reduces freezer burn and improves the flavor of frozen seafood.


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