Shrimp is a crustacean that can be found both in hot seas and on the French coast. There are various varieties that differ in size and color. Their consumption around the world is very important and they are a dish often served for festive meals.
Characteristics of the shrimp:
- Low in calories;
- Rich in protein;
- Ideal for monitoring your weight;
- Source of omega 3;
- Role on the protection of the cardiovascular system.
What is shrimp?
Shrimp identity card
- Family: Crustaceans;
- Origin: Asia;
- Season: Early August to late October;
- Color: Pink or gray.
Characteristics of shrimp
During their fishing, the shrimp are made up of a rigid shell which protects their body.
Word from the nutritionist
Ally during weight loss, one portion of shrimp corresponds to 150g of peeled shrimp.
Per 100g of cooked prawns:
|Vitamin E||1.5 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1.9 µg|
15 Benefits of shrimp: Why eat it?
- The shrimp is low in fat and rich in protein which makes it an ally of choice for weight loss.
- Shrimp is rich in proteins that contain the nine essential amino acids in our body and play a key role in the formation of digestive enzymes, hormones and tissues, such as the skin and bones.
- Proteins will also help maintain muscle mass in case of weight loss and play on satiety.
- The shrimp contains omega-3. It is now well demonstrated that omega-3s of marine origin (EPA and DHA) contribute to cardiovascular health and are associated with a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
- Astaxanthin is a pigment from the large family of carotenoids. It is responsible for the orange-red color of salmon, shrimp and other crustaceans. It has antioxidant properties that would surpass those of beta-carotene and vitamin E. Thanks to its antioxidant action, it would have protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases.
- Shrimp contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a compound with a chemical structure similar to vitamin K and which acts as a vitamin in the body. It is attributed with antioxidant properties. Some data shows that CoQ10 reduces blood pressure in hypertensive people and that it has a preventive role against cardiovascular diseases. It would also prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”), the latter being considered as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Shrimp are an excellent source of phosphorus. Aside from its essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues. In addition, it helps keep the pH of the blood normal. It is one of the constituents of cell membranes.
- Shrimp are an excellent source of vitamin B12. Also called cobalamin, this vitamin helps in the production of new cells, contributes to the maintenance of nerve cells, makes folic acid active and participates in the metabolism of certain fatty acids and amino acids.
- Shrimp are an excellent source of vitamin B3 for women and a good source for men. Vitamin B3 requirements for men are greater than those for women. Also called niacin, this vitamin participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes especially to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids and alcohol that we ingest. It also plays a role in the DNA formation process.
- The northern shrimp is a good source of copper which is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.
- Shrimp is a good source of selenium. Selenium works in concert with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps convert thyroid hormones to their active form. A 100 g serving of shrimp can meet 70% of our daily selenium needs.
- Northern shrimp is a source of magnesium. Magnesium participates in bone development, protein construction, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.
- Shrimp are a source of iron. Iron is used to transport the oxygen necessary for the production of energy in cells, especially muscle cells. This mineral is essential for the formation of red blood cells, as well as for the production of hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Shrimp are a source of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (production), the storage and the release of insulin.
- Northern shrimp is a source of vitamin E. A major antioxidant, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds the cells of the body, in particular red and white blood cells (cells of the immune system).
Choosing the right shrimp
The shrimp that you harvest yourself and eat the same day are the best. In our markets, we will buy frozen raw shrimp or frozen cooked shrimp, which are generally processed within hours of their capture. Canned shrimp are also processed quickly, but they should be rinsed well to remove their unpleasant taste of metal.
To peel the shrimp, remove the head, then lift the rings from the shell. For a careful presentation, we can keep the range of the tail. To remove the casing, slide the blade of a knife along the dorsal part and lift the casing by delicately scraping the flesh. Once peeled, one kilo of shrimp gives about 500 grams of flesh.
The different varieties of shrimp
There are different varieties of shrimp which are more or less large and whose colors vary from bright pink to gray.
Purchased raw, the shrimp will keep for 24 hours in the refrigerator and cook and can keep for 48 hours. It is possible to freeze shrimp if they were not thawed at the time of sale.
Preparation of the shrimp
How to cook it? How to match it?
The peeled shrimp can be marinated for one hour in an alcohol (cognac, armagnac, Porto), which enhances their flavor. The prawns are cooked in boiling salted water; cooking should be stopped as soon as they change color to prevent the flesh from hardening.
The northern shrimp, which we buy most of the time already cooked, does not support the great heat nor a long cooking. It is enough to immerse it in a hot sauce over low heat, or even off the heat, for its fine flavor to be revealed. Much larger, the tiger prawn is strong enough to withstand the heat of the barbecue.
- Small in size, the northern shrimp is well suited for stuffing cold appetizers such as avocados, tomatoes, zucchini; hot, it will stuff Asian rolls and omelettes.
- To coat a grilled fish, add Nordic shrimp in a white wine béchamel sauce with mushrooms.
- Marinate large shrimps in a spicy sauce before putting them on skewers to barbecue them.
- Thai-style, adding it to a broth seasoned with sliced green onions, cilantro, hot pepper, Asian fish sauce and lemongrass.
- In Creole, by cooking it with garlic, celery, green onion, all seasoned with cayenne pepper and sassafras powder.
- Marseille-style, with dry white wine, anise liqueur and crème fraîche.
- Japanese style, in the form of sushi or sashimi.
- In the South American style, in a ceveiche, marinate it for two hours in lemon or lime juice with a hot pepper, an onion, a tomato and a diced pepper, all seasoned with chopped cilantro leaves. In Ecuador, the ceveiche is served with unsalted popcorn, roasted corn kernels or green plantain chips, while in Peru, it is served with sweet potatoes and corn on the cob.
Oriental specialties: small dried shrimps, powder, paste and shrimp sauce are essential in Asian cuisine. The former are added to stir-fry dishes after they have been rehydrated; the paste and sauce, which are usually made up of salted and fermented shrimp, as well as the powder, serve to enhance the flavor of the dishes to which they are added.
Shrimps are very rich in purines, precursors of uric acid. Thus, people suffering from gout should avoid their consumption in order to prevent the onset of seizures. In people with this condition, there is an abnormally high amount of uric acid in the blood, causing specific symptoms such as joint pain. The purines in certain foods help to further increase the concentration of uric acid in the blood, which is why it is important for people with gout to avoid consumption.
Among food allergens of animal origin, crustaceans and molluscs frequently cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals. Shrimp contains an allergenic protein called tropomyosin, also found in crab and lobster12. This protein could be found in other seafood, hence the possibility of cross-reactions. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends that people with allergies to these foods consult an allergist before introducing new ones into their diet. Note that allergy to a crustacean can ultimately lead to sensitization to certain air allergens, such as dust mites12. The reverse relationship was also observed.
People allergic to sulfites should pay special attention to the labels of shrimp sold in bags or tins, as they are sometimes treated with sodium bisulfite to increase their shelf life. This is the case, among others, for several varieties of farmed shrimp imported from Asia. Look for labels on the labels Sulfiting Agents, Sulfur Acid Metabisulfite, Potassium Bisulfite, Sodium Bisulfite or Sulfur Dioxide. These are all names used to designate sulfites.
Frozen, canned or pre-cooked shrimp can have a very high salt content. For those who must limit their sodium intake, like people with hypertension, it is best to choose fresh, uncooked shrimp.
History of shrimp
The various names which we call the shrimp in French all refer to the goat and the goat to underline, it is said, the fact that it moves while hopping. Indeed, “shrimp”, a term which appeared at the beginning of the 16th century, comes from “chevrette”, while “bouquet” and “boucaud” come from “goat”. As for “salicoque” (almost a synonym), it comes from Latin and means “leaping shell”.
Of Catalan origin, the term gambas indicates large shrimps of the Mediterranean which one makes to grill, then to flame with cognac. As for scampi which, like the Americans, we use to designate the tails of langoustines and the giant shrimps, it is about a faulty form. The term, Italian, designates a dish of langoustines prepared in donuts.
Decapod crustacean (i.e. with five pairs of locomotor legs), long fan-shaped tail, long antennae, semi-transparent, flattened body, and flexible abdomen, shrimp counts about 2,000 species, ranging in size from a few millimeters to over 20 centimeters. The most known and consumed are brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus), common or gray shrimp (Crangon vulgaris), pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum), white shrimp (Pasiphea multidentata) and tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Present in all the oceans of the globe, both on the high seas and near the coasts, as well as in lakes and fresh water streams, it feeds on small marine plants and animals (marine worms, small crustaceans, and even shrimp larvae) and sometimes carrion.
What we designate under the names of “Matane shrimp”, “Sept-Îles shrimp” or “pink shrimp” is in fact the northern shrimp, which includes two species (Pandalus borealis and Pandalus montagui) living in waters cold in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the former accounting for 95% of the catch.
Judging by the discoveries made on a French archaeological site, hominids have been consuming crustaceans and shellfish for at least 300,000 years. However, it would be during the period from -17,000 to -7,000 years that marine products would have assumed great importance in human nutrition and that the various populations of the planet would have learned to exploit this resource.
Although shrimp have been eaten in all regions of the world, except in places that are too isolated, it does not seem that it has ever been a staple food, since it was considered a relatively rare commodity and its price returns have always been quite high, at least until recently. Barely a few decades ago, shrimp was still a delicacy. In Third World countries, most of the production is still fished for export.
A popular meal
Today, all supermarkets offer it, because its price has dropped sharply since there were giant trawlers to fish for it and, at the same time, it is practiced in “shrimp farms”. Today, these farms are found in around fifty tropical and subtropical countries: in 20 years, production has increased ninefold. One in four shrimps, it is estimated, comes from a breeding farm. The popularity of shrimp is so high among North Americans that it has recently taken the place of tuna, hitherto a good first in the seafood category. The Japanese have also developed an immoderate taste for its flesh, and Europeans have never eaten so much.
Ecology and environment
Traditionally, shrimp was caught on the coasts using artisanal nets to which, to remain faithful to the metaphor of the goat, we had given the name of “bichette” or “bouqueton”. Very often, fishing was practiced even on foot.
The sea turtle is one of the species threatened by the involuntary capture of shrimpers. There are many nets to exclude almost 97% of turtles caught accidentally, but under free trade agreements, no country can impose them on owners of foreign-flagged vessels. Thus the United States, which had shown ecological conscience in this file, was threatened with sanctions if it continued to prohibit the sale, on its territory, of shrimps fished by boats not equipped with exclusion nets. Turtles therefore continue to disappear at the rate of around 150,000 per year.
Today, the shrimp is harvested by huge trawlers, real factory boats whose nets rake the seabed. However, shrimp only represents 2% of their total catch, the remaining 98% being made up of what is euphemistically called “bycatch”. It has been said that this is the equivalent, on the seabed, of what clearcutting is on land. As these bycatch has little commercial value, it is thrown back into the sea, but many will not survive. Four hundred marine species, some of which are threatened with extinction, are thus directly affected.
In this context, one might think that aquaculture would be the solution to all the problems, but nothing is perfect. Significant pollution on livestock farm sites as well as in neighboring waters, salinization and therefore sterilization of agricultural land, displacement of coastal populations, destruction of the ecological environment of mangroves, overexploitation of other marine species in order to feed shrimp ( it takes two to four kilos of fish to “make” a kilo of shrimp), exploitation of workers (often women and children), these are some of the evils he is accused of causing.
In addition, intensive farming is a source of bacterial, fungal and viral diseases. Epidemics are not uncommon, sometimes destroying the entire production of a country, as was the case in 1988 in Taiwan and in 1992 and 1993 in China and Thailand. To avoid economic disasters, producers are therefore increasingly using antibiotics, a situation against which however warns the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), aware of the abuse of these drugs in the agricultural industry.