03/21/2012 09:04 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Prepare And Devein Shrimp

Also see: Our 30 Best Shrimp Recipes

Are you one of those people who hates dealing with shrimp? There's no reason to be afraid -- shrimp are easier to work with than you think. All it takes is a little bit of prep, like peeling and deveining, to get them ready for cooking. You'll never be working with more than a couple of pounds at a time anyway. And don't be scared of the vein -- it's just the shrimp's digestive tract, which is basically sand. But if you're still a little leery, there's always the option of pulling on rubber gloves.

See the slideshow for step-by-step deveining instructions and a video.

Here are our tips for buying, cleaning, and preparing shrimp (keep reading after the slideshow).

deveining shrimp

Buying Tips
When you buy your fresh shrimp, get it home as soon as possible and keep it over a bowl of ice in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook with it.

For Frozen Shrimp
If you're using frozen shrimp in the bulk bag, then remove the amount of shrimp you need a day beforehand to allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. For a quicker method, you can place the frozen shrimp in a resealable bag and submerge it in a cold water bath until it's defrosted (it takes about one hour for one pound of shrimp to defrost).

Cleaning Tips
Most shrimp sold in the supermarket is already cleaned and possibly deveined. But now and then you may find shrimp sold uncleaned -- it's also cheaper. Or, if you're making a great seafood soup, you may want to buy the shrimp with the shells and heads still attached, so you can use it for the stock.

Handling Tips
When you're working with shrimp, make sure to keep them cold and put them back in the refrigerator if you're not using them immediately. When deveining, be sure to use your knife carefully or use a deveining tool, like the one here.

How do you prepare shrimp at home? Leave us a comment below.