person holding a prawns
What You Need To Know About Buying Shrimp With The Heads Attached
By Roger Adler
Buying crustaceans with heads attached is a whole different game than purchasing ones without heads, as they have significant differences in cost, weight, and storage practices. The same goes for shrimp, so if you plan on buying shrimp with the head still on, there are a few things that you should know.
Shrimp heads have unique uses and provide extra nutritional value, but they can also contain up to 80% of the specimen’s bacteria; in addition, they’re vulnerable to spoilage, so it’s better to freeze and store headless shrimp unless you can verify that it is fresh and comes from a shrimp farm. However, head-on shrimp are more economical, costing about $2 less per pound than those without heads.
Buying shrimp with the head on will enhance its flavor and juiciness when cooking, but it will be peskier to peel and weigh 35% more than headless shrimp. You can grill your headed shrimp, fry the heads up by themselves, or freeze them and reserve them for making stock if you don’t want to eat them.