History of Food

History of Food

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prawns versus Shrimp

Prawns look like Shrimp, Shrimp look like prawns. Prawns and shrimp are used interchangeably in restaurants.  They bear the resemblance of each other in appearance, they have very similar taste, but they are not the same creatures biologically.  Prawns and shrimp:  what is generally referred to shrimp in the United States is referred to prawns in England.  How can we sort it all out?  Well, let's try....

At first look, first taste, it is often difficult to differeniate between the two.  Let's look at the similarities:
  • Appearance - they look like the same creature.
  • Taste - they seem to have the same taste and flavors.
  • They both are decapod crustaceans, which means they both exhibit exoskeletons and feature 10 legs.
  • They are typically found swimming in salt and fresh water sources across the globe, in search of food.
  • Because of this, they are considered scavengers, thus they are NOT kosher
  • They tend to dwell near the ocean floor and come in scores of sizes, from minuscule to large
  • Both are edible crustaceansm but biologically different
  • Both are very high in protein, low in fat, and calories
  • Although shrimps and prawns have a high cholesterol content, they are low in saturated fat, which is the fat that raises cholesterol levels in the body and is bad for you.  For this reason, there is no need to avoid eating shrimps or prawns, as the cholesterol in the food is not the same as the cholesterol in one's blood.
  • Shrimps and prawns do contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but these fatty acids are good for you and help prevent against heart disease, circulatory diseases and many other types of illnesses. 
  • Prawns and shrimps also contains high levels of vitamin B12, zinc, iodine, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and iron and have smaller quantities of calcium, magnesium and sodium. Many of these vitamins are essential for healthy skin, bones and teeth. 

Now on to the differences of Shrimp and Pawns - Biologists distinguish the true shrimp from the true prawn because of the differences in their gill structures.
  • Shrimp have two pairs of claws
  • Pranws have three pairs of claws
  • With the structure of the shrimp, the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments on either side
  • Prawns do not have an even-sized segments on the abdomen
  • The Shrimp abdomen shows a pronounced caridean bend
  • The Prawn has no pronounced bend in the abdomen
  • The term “prawn” is also loosely used to describe any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (such as “king prawns”, yet sometimes known as “jumbo shrimp”)
  • Prawns are larger than shrimp referring to approximately 15 per pound
  • Prawns are like lobsters in that they have two pair of penchers and shrimp do not.


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