10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Shrimp
You probably already know that shrimp is delicious and can be prepared just about any way you can imagine. However, there are quite a few interesting facts about shrimp that we bet will be news to you. Check out 10 of these surprising shrimp facts below.
- There are thousands of shrimp species around the world.
There are over 2,000 different shrimp species spread out all over the world and in every known marine niche, from the tropics to the Antarctic Ocean. The most common species found in our region are the Gulf Brown Shrimp, Gulf Pink Shrimp, and Gulf White Shrimp.
- Size varies considerably by species.
Shrimp aren’t always so, well, ‘shrimpy’. While small shrimp are usually around ½ an inch in length (from head to tail), some varieties can grow to be 12 inches or longer. The tiger shrimp, an invasive species in the Gulf, can grow to be roughly the length of an adult’s forearm and has more tail meat than the average lobster.
- Shrimp are excellent swimmers.
One of the fun facts about shrimp that you might not know is that these arthropods are actually quite good at swimming. They can propel themselves backwards quickly by flexing the muscles of their abdomen and tail, or swim forward more slowly using the appendages on the underside of their tail.
- Some shrimp can loudly snap their pincers.
The ocean may look peaceful, but it can get pretty noisy below the surface when there are snapping shrimp around. Certain shrimp species are able to make a snapping sound that is louder than any other marine noise by hitting their large and small pincers together. It’s believed they do this to communicate with other shrimp or temporarily stun their prey.
- Shrimp are omnivorous.
Shrimp typically consume microscopic plant and animal matter by filtering the water around them or sifting through the ocean floor. Certain types of shrimp also catch and eat small fish.
- Shrimp are an important part of their ecosystem.
Shrimp are an important source of food for many crabs, fish, sea urchins, whales, dolphins, and seabirds. Some species of shrimp also have a symbiotic relationship with fish and clean parasites, bacteria, and fungi off their host.
- Shrimp contain a cancer-fighting mineral.
You’ll want to keep this shrimp information in mind: if the small crustacean is a part of your diet, it may reduce your risk of developing cancer. That’s because shrimp contain selenium, an antioxidant mineral that activates enzymes to fight the growth of cancer-causing free radicals.
- You shouldn’t defrost frozen shrimp in the microwave.
While microwaving frozen shrimp might seem like a good shortcut when you need dinner in a hurry, it’s not a good idea. Shrimp cooks very quickly, so it can go from frozen to overcooked before you know it. Try sticking frozen shrimp in your refrigerator 24 hours before you need it, or let the frozen bag sit under a stream of cold water for about 15 minutes if you don’t have that much time.
- In many parts of the world, shrimp are eaten with the heads on.
The alien-like appearance may deter many Americans from cooking and eating this critter whole, but in many regions are the world, the shrimp head is left on. When it’s cooked, the head has a rich flavor and a crunchy texture that some people love.
- Shrimp are low in calories, high in protein.
Here’s some shrimp information for anyone trying to eat healthy: shrimp are a very low-calorie food (a medium cooked shrimp has about 7 calories), which means you can eat quite a few without feeling guilty. Shrimp also have a lot of protein and are particularly good for you when served with healthy carbs, like brown rice or vegetables.
However you like to eat them, we hope these fun facts about shrimp have given you a renewed appreciation for the diverse and versatile crustaceans. Stop by our Gulf Shores or Mobile, AL seafood restaurant to enjoy shrimp, crab, oysters and much more.