PREPARING & STORING PRAWNS
Here are a number of simple but important “how to” tips so get the most out of your prawns.
Congratulations! You’ve bought home some wild Australian prawns. Not ready to eat them yet? A bucket of prawns goes off in the sun . . . they’re best in the fridge!
Most prawns are snap frozen at sea – just like baby peas are snap frozen to lock them in their prime. Unless you know your prawns have never been frozen, prawns (cooked or raw) can be refrigerated for 2-3 days between 0 and 4ºC.
Leave them in their shells, place them in a single layer on a plate or tray, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the coldest part of the fridge.
If your prawns have never been frozen they can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months at -18ºC or below.
It is slightly easier to peel a cooked prawns than an uncooked one, but following these simple steps should make it fast and fun.
Remove the head. Grab the body of the prawn just below where the head joins the first part of the body. Twist the head off.
Remove the main shell. Hold the body firm and use your thumb to grip the legs and shell around the body of the prawn removing one section at a time. repeat until only 1 or 2 sections remain.
Pop the tail. Squeeze the tail section and the rest of the prawn should pop out. (or leave the tail section in place for impressive presentation)
Start with taking a whole prawn and just peel right through the tail. Just one side, really easy – just as you normally would, but leave the head and the tail intact. Once you’ve taken the shell off the prawn, all you do next is take a sharp knife and just run it around the back. That’ll open it up, and allow you to take the vein out really simply.
What to do with heads & shells?
Prawn heads make a great base for fish stock.
Chooks absolutely love prawn heads but, if you don’t have chooks, prawn shells and heads also make fantastic compost.
If you live in an urban area and don’t have chooks or a compost bin, double wrap your heads and shells in plastic bags, pushing as much air out as you can before tying off and sealing the bag. If it is a few nights until bin night, put them in the freezer rather than leaving them in the bin. Your neighbours will thank you.
Please keep prawn waste out of rivers, canals and other waterways.