Can you eat the veins in shrimp?
May 22, 2023
Is the black line on my shrimp a vein or its poop? Amazingly, this is one of the most searched for queries about shrimp! It’s easy to feel put off eating seafood when you see unfamiliar body parts, so let’s demystify what the different black lines are, and get you back to enjoying delicious shrimp dishes.
There’s a black line on the top of my shrimp – what is it?
The black line on the top of a shrimp is its digestive tract, so yes, that’s poop you can see. It’s safe to eat, but in general people tend to prefer their shrimp deveined, i.e. with the digestive tract removed, because the tract can have a bitter taste and a sandy texture. If this is your preference, you can buy shrimp already deveined, or you can devein it yourself at home, which is easiest to do before you cook it.
How do you devein shrimp?
To remove the vein, first remove the shrimp shell, then make a small cut with a sharp paring knife along the back of the peeled shrimp and use the tip of the knife to scrape out the vein. Then just rinse all your shrimp to remove any left over debris, pat them dry them with a paper towel, and they’re ready to cook.
If you choose to leave the digestive tract in place, or can’t completely devein it, there’s no need to worry – there’s no food safety reason to remove it.
There’s a black line on the bottom of my shrimp – what is it?
The black line on the bottom of the shrimp is actually a bundle of nerves that controls the shrimp’s essential functions in the same way the human brain does. This vein is more prominent in certain types of shrimp, like the White Tiger shrimp. It’s completely safe to eat and doesn’t impact the taste.
Now that you know what’s what on your shrimp, the next step is finding a delicious shrimp recipe! For lots of easy to prepare fish and seafood dishes, head to our recipe finder and be sure to also follow us on Instagram, where we regularly share recipes and tips on preparing seafood.