All kinds of shrimp have always inhabited the seas and oceans of the entire planet. Humans have always eaten them.
Aquaculture has existed in Asia for several centuries. Practiced in an artisanal way in brackish ponds, rice paddies, or on river banks, aquaculture took on an industrial dimension in Indochina in the 1930s with the farming of the Japanese tiger shrimp.
This industry took off in the late 1960s, at the same time as fish farming. What was until that time a rare and expensive product, shrimp have become a popular consumer item in Europe, America, and Japan.
Whatever its species and provenance, a shrimp should have a good sea smell without the slightest trace of ammonia, and it should not be slimy or oxidized. Its carapace should be shiny and flexible, and its flesh firm.
Shrimp sold alive should be moving.
Fresh shrimp are quite rare. They are mainly found near the place where they are landed, or at good fish stores.
Industrially captured shrimp are immediately immersed in a refrigerated bath on board the ship containing sulfites (to prevent the gills from darkening). Then they are sorted, packed into containers and immersed in brine. Then they are strained, frozen, and packed.
Shrimp caught by coastal fishing craft are immediately placed on ice.
Farmed shrimp are sold whole and frozen, raw or cooked, and as raw or cooked, or cooked and frozen tails (shelled).
Imitation shrimp is produced in the United States: the shredded meat is injected under high pressure into a machine that heats it, causing the coagulation of proteins. The large "shrimp" are then breaded and frozen.
Shrimp are also available canned.
Large raw shrimp caught with artisanal methods, particularly gamberoni, can be pan-fried, grilled, and fried.
First they need to be peeled and deveined. A fantail can be left, as can the head, if they are to be served whole.
The coral from the head can be used in a sauce.
They can be served with vegetables, salads, and also pasta and rice (paella). They are easily combined with rabbit and shellfish.
Shrimp (apart from gamberoni) play an important part in Asian cuisine. They are used as a condiment after being pickled in brine, or made into paste or powder.
Fresh shrimp can be kept up to 48 hours in a cool room or refrigerator. Thawed farmed shrimp can be kept under the same conditions.
High in protein and with very little fat, shrimp also contain a lot of cholesterol, but this is found in their heads (which are not normally eaten).
They are a good source of minerals, B group vitamins, and Omega 3.
The varieties found most often in international markets are:
. Gray shrimp, the most common. This small shrimp measures 2–5 cm. Translucent gray when alive, it turns brown when cooked. It is caught in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas.
**. Pink shrimp**
. Common shrimp: measuring 7–12 cm, grayish pink, it turns red when cooked. Caught off the coast of Europe and North Africa.
. Deepwater shrimp: this variety is 5–7 cm long. Pinkish when alive, it turns a grayish pink when cooked. It is caught in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
. Tropical pink shrimp: measuring 9–12 cm, grayish pink tending towards bright pink, this variety lives in the seas off Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand. It is also farmed intensively: this is the variety that is most often marketed as pink shrimp.
**. Southern brown shrimp**: this variety grows to 20 cm. It is caught off the coast of Guyana.
**. Caramote shrimp**: grows up to 18–20 cm, light with pink stripes (males), grayish yellow with blue-green stripes. Its tail is often blue edged in red. Caught off the coasts of the Mediterranean, this variety is also farmed. It is referred to as langostino in Spain.
**. Crayfish** : 10–15 cm in length, this variety lives in tropical fresh and brackish waters. It is especially abundant in Louisiana, but is found everywhere. It is one of the most common species in aquaculture.
**. Tiger shrimp**: growing to 25 cm, this species is more common in warm seas, and is also the most widely farmed variety, particularly in Asia. It is red with light and dark stripes on its body.
**. Jumbo shrimp**: this generic name covers several species of large shrimp, including those of the Aristidae family.But it most often is used for a tropical or tiger shrimp produced by farming in some part of the world: China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Japan, and Madagascar (certain of which have been given Label Rouge status).
. Striped soldier shrimp or gamberoni: 18–25 cm, intense coral red color, this shrimp with the scientific name Plesionika edwardsii lives in the depths (400 m) of the Gulf of Genoa and also in the waters of the West Indies, Réunion, and Mayotte.
All types of shrimp are available throughout the year. The best season for shrimp from the Gulf of Genoa is June through September.
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