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Choosing And Buying Gourmet Seafood - Wild American Shrimp

Jan 10, 2008
When selecting items for a seafood feast, wild caught American shrimp are popular among gourmet cooks. Shrimp are not only recognized for outstanding flavor but they can be an important part of a healthy diet.

Wild American shrimp are delicious steamed, boiled, grilled, fried and in recipes such as scampi. They are also popular as an appetizers such as shrimp cocktail, bisques and salads. They also freeze well and can be purchased in large numbers, processed and excess amounts frozen for later meals.

Shrimp tend to be low in fat and calories and have no carbohydrates or trans fatty acids. They contain vitamins B3, B6, B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids and are sources of tryptophan, selenium, protein and minerals including iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper.

American species include white (Litopenaeus setiferus), brown (Farfantepenaeus aztecus), pink (Penaeus duorarum) and royal red (Pleoticus robustus or Hymenopenaeus robustus) rock (Sicyonia brevirostris) and Northern (Pandalus borealis).

Shrimp are sized by "count". The number is the average number of specimens per pound. This applies to both whole and heads-off products. For example, headless shrimp of 16/20 count means there are 16 to 20 headless product per pound. Counts for headless product typically range from 16/20 (large) to 60/70 (small). Pacific pink shrimp are even smaller, having counts of about 100 to 140 whole shrimp per pound.

Wild American shrimp are also a good choice in terms of sustainability. Many of the American fisheries have been recognized for ethical harvesting techniques.

The Wild American Shrimp Certification Program certifies that warm-water, wild caught shrimp from U.S. coastal waters meet a high standard of quality and consistency. Certified Wild American Shrimp receive special labeling. Participation in the certification program is available to harvesters, processors, distributors, retailers, grocers and restaurateurs.

Another American fishery has received international recognition. Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has earned the world's first sustainable shrimp certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which runs the world's leading independent certification program for sustainable fisheries, and independent certifier TAVEL Certification Inc., awarded Oregon pink shrimp its certification on December 6, 2007. The action distinguishes Oregon's pink shrimp trawl fishery as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The Marine Stewardship Council certification also allows Oregon pink shrimp to be sold using the coveted blue MSC eco-label indicating a sustainable fishery.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an organization that works to improve the health of the world's oceans and to help create a sustainable global seafood market. MSC pursues its mission by certifying fisheries that meet its sustainable standards and developing market demand for certified seafood. The MSC model is based on consumers rewarding sustainable fisheries by choosing seafood that originates from certified sustainable fisheries.

Pink shrimp, also known as bay or salad shrimp are small (100-140 whole per lb). They are harvested using advanced trawl methods. Pink MSC certified shrimp are delivered to shore for cooking, peeling and freezing, resulting in an extremely fresh product of excellent quality.

The variety of high quality, healthy and sustainable American shrimp makes them an excellent choice for seafood lovers.
About the Author
The author maintains seafood related websites including Fresh-Seafood, Commercial Fishing and Chincoteague Island Virginia.
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