I was recently sitting down for dinner with my favorite shrimp recipe and as I was eating, I pushed the shrimp tails to the side of the plate as I always do. I looked at those little tails on the side and my mind went all over the place.
Can you eat shrimp tails? How do they taste? What else can you do with them? I knew there was work to be done.
Want to learn more about whether or not you can eat shrimp tails?
Let’s go to the
Can You Eat Shrimp Tails?
The simple answer is, yes! And they are delicious. Shrimp tails are often used in Thai and Northeastern Chinese cuisines. They add a crunchy texture to dishes and make an interesting appetizer.
Can You Digest Shrimp Tails?
You may be thinking, they are so hard, can you digest them? Shrimp tails are made from the polymer, Chitin. It is the most plentiful organic fiber in the world after wood. It used to be believed that humans could not digest shrimp tails but studies have shown that human gastric juice contains the enzyme chitinase which can degrade chitin. The chitinase breaks down the chitin, making it safe to eat.
What are the Benefits of Chitin?
You can find chitin in the supplement Chitosan. There are studies suggesting that Chitin can lower chole
How to Prepare Shrimp Tails.
Have I piqued your interest? Do you want to eat shrimp tails? Here’s how to prepare them. Coat them in flour, then cornstarch, and deep-fry. Once they are done, sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes. Voila. Deep-fried shrimp tails!
If that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, you can still use shrimp tails in your cooking by making a quick stock. Take about a pound of shrimp tails and shells in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is orange in color. If you don’t have a pound right away you can store them in the freezer in a large Ziploc bag for about three months until you have collected enough to use. The shrimp stock tastes great when used in risotto, gumbo or as a replacement for various stocks. It also freezes well if you don’t intend to use it right away.
Do You Leave Shrimp Tails On or Off When Cooking?
If you don’t intend on eating the shrimp tail, it’s best to look at it as a handle. So leave them on when preparing shrimp appetizers like popcorn shrimp or shrimp cocktail.
When you are cooking a dish that doesn’t include the tails, it’s best to take them off before serving. Just make sure you get all of the meat out. To do this, pinch the shrimp where the tail and the body meet and pull. This should release it all. Just be gentle!
There is no real reason to leave the shrimp tails on when cooking a dish except for aesthetics. Shrimp tails make dishes look more appetizing. The tails add visual interest to a dish. If you are looking for a photo for Instagram, leave them on and snap away. This is also why restaurants leave them on.
What Do You Think?
Will you try shrimp tails? Comment below and let me know. Head over to our Chalkboard page for even more kitchen tips and let’s learn together.