Shrimp is incredibly plentiful in Louisiana—in fact, nearly half of all Gulf shrimp caught in the U.S. is caught in Louisiana, and there is plenty of demand to meet our supply.
While six different species are native to Louisiana, more than 90 percent are either white shrimp or brown shrimp.
Market name: White shrimp
Scientific name: Litopenaeus setiferus
Common names: White shrimp, lake shrimp, white prawn
White shrimp have traditionally been considered the premium large shrimp of Louisiana. Their superior size and flavor make them highly valued. White shrimp are slightly more tender than other shrimp, and their shells are slightly softer and easier to peel.
Market name: Brown shrimp
Scientific name: Peneaus aztecus
Other common names: Brazilian shrimp, brown prawn
Brown shrimp provide the bulk of Louisiana’s huge shrimp production volume. Differences between brown shrimp and white shrimp, especially when smaller in size, are very slight, though brown shrimp are typically a bit firmer.
May through July and August through December are when most fishing areas are open to shrimpers. Shrimp freeze extremely well, however, and are available year-round as a result.
Refrigerate shrimp in cling wrap or airtight containers in the coldest part of the refrigerator. For best flavor and quality, use fresh shrimp within two days.
Place frozen shrimp in your freezer immediately after purchase until ready to use. If you’re purchasing raw shrimp for freezing, twist off the heads. Place headless, shell-on shrimp in freezer bags with ice water. Expel air and seal bags. Spread bags out in freezer for quick freezing. Frozen shrimp maintain their quality for 12 months. Thaw frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Cooked shrimp can be refrigerated for three to four days.
Shrimp are usually sold by size, measured in count per pound. For example, “16–20” means that there are 16 to 20 of that specific shrimp variety per pound. One pound of either white or brown shrimp will yield just over three-fifths of a pound once the heads are removed. A pound of shrimp serves three to four people.