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What Happens If You Eat Shrimp That’s Not De-veined?

When preparing shrimp it is necessary to prepare it correctly. You want to be consuming something that is safe to eat and will taste good once done. When it comes to deveining, however, this is where it becomes difficult. Should we be deveining our shrimp?


To anyone new, preparing your shrimp can be a big task. It is not as simple as cutting your chicken; there is a lot more to consider.

Before indulging in a delicious shrimp lunch, it is important to understand the deveining process. But what is deveining?

When we speak of deveining, we are not talking about an actual shrimp’s vein. What we are talking about is that thin black string which runs along its body. Removing this is called deveining.

So, is deveining really that important?

De-veining shrimps

Does Shrimp Need To Be Deveined?

A shrimp’s “vein” is also recognized as its digestive tract or intestines. This thin string-like feature is where what the shrimp has eaten has been digested, and because of this many choose to remove the vein.

However, this being said, it is not the end of the world if you do not devein your shrimp. Deveining is a tedious task and not a skill that juts anyone can master. It takes precision and a steady hand, so if you do choose to give in and eat your shrimp without deveining then go for it.

However, before deciding this you should first understand what you are consuming and know that avoiding the deveining process will have an inevitable impact on the end product.

How Not Deveining Your Shrimp Changes Its Outcome

Some are surprised to learn that not deveining your shrimp can change the way your shrimp turns out. The major change is its taste.

Compared to a shrimp that has been deveined, you will find that both the taste and texture will be different. Whilst the taste can only be described as unusual and almost mud-like, its texture will be gritty.

Unless this is something you don’t mind, removing the vein will take away these tastes and provide another fresher flavor.

As well as this, not deveining your shrimp can ruin the food for some people once they find out what that “vein” truly is. 

You will notice a black color travelling along the vein and this can put people off for it is the remnants of what the shrimp has consumed. Essentially, this is its excrement. This fact alone is enough to put anyone off.

Is It Dangerous To Consume An Un-deveined Shrimp?

Although its vein is its digestive tract, eating this will not create any health concerns; all this will do will change the taste of your shrimp. However, since this is an intimate part of the shrimp it is understood that this is full of bacteria.

The chances of falling ill from consuming this is still low for when you cook the shrimp you are ridding of that bacteria, making it safe to eat. When cooking, take a thermometer and make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the number it needs to be for it to be considered cooked and safe to eat.

Is Deveining Difficult?

Deveining your shrimp can be tedious and not everyone enjoys doing it, however the level of difficulty changes depending on what kind of shrimp you are preparing.

Generally, small/medium shrimp are difficult to devein for it takes a steady hand and plenty of fiddling. Large shrimp, on the other hand, are much easier to devein.

With that being said, you are more likely to get away with eating a smaller shrimp that has not been deveined than a larger one – this is because you will be able to taste that unusual flavor when you have a larger “vein” to remove.

Shrimp De-veined

How To Devein Shrimp?

So, how is deveining done?

There are two main ways to devein your shrimp, and these ways a split according to its shell. Some prefer to eat a shrimp with its shell whilst others choose to remove it.

All you will need is a sharp knife and the shrimp of your choosing. Simply twist off its head with your hands along with its legs and tail. After this, grab your knife and make a small slit along the back of its back, removing its vein.

If you have a shrimp with its shell on, twist off its head, legs and tail – from here you can gently slide its shell off. You can then go forward and devein your shrimp using a sharp knife.

If You Can’t Devein Your Shrimp

Deveining your shrimp is no easy task, especially if you are working with a small/medium sized crustacean. If this is the case for you then there are other options.

You Can Choose To Leave The Vein In

Many chefs choose this option with small shrimps as it will not impact the shrimp’s taste and is barely noticeable.

You Can Buy Deveined Shrimp

There are plenty of grocery stores out there that sell shrimp which have already been deveined. This saves a lot of stress and energy and makes the preparation process much easier.

Final Thoughts

Deveining your shrimp can be a challenge however not doing so does not mean the end of the world. You are able to eat shrimp without deveining and you will not get ill from doing this, however most people do prefer it being deveined for a few reasons.

The main reason is its taste, for keeping its “vein” in will inevitably alter its flavor as well as adding an unfavorable texture. As well as this, not many like the idea of consuming once knowing this “vein” is a digestive tract and recognizing what that blackness inside it is.

If you do choose to devein, just know that it can be tedious however doing so is simple. All you need is a sharp knife and a steady hand. Once this is done, feel free to enjoy your shrimp.

Jess Smith

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

I learn something new on various blogs everyday. It is always stimulating to see content of other writers and learn a little something from them. Thank you for sharing.

Thursday 21st of April 2022

Great post! Im surely sharing this with my friends! Had fun reading it indeed.