It's the tiny black line that runs down the backside of your shrimp. For those of us who love to eat shrimp that tiny black line is one of the reasons, at least at my house, we don't have shrimp on the menu as much as I would like to have it.

You might wonder, how does the "sand vein" of the shrimp prevent you from enjoying your favorite recipes? Well, it's not the vein itself, it's the time, energy, and sore feet and back that come with peeling the shrimp and removing that little vein that has me verklempt. Like the Coffee Talk lady.

Saturday Night Live via YouTube
Saturday Night Live via YouTube
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Before we decide to devein or not, let's understand what you are looking at. The "sand vein" as we call it at my house is part of the shrimp's digestive tract. And yes, that stuff that you can sometimes see in the larger species is exactly what you think it is. It's shrimp poo, among other materials such as sand and grit that has passed through the animals digestive system.

Now if you were to eat that shrimp raw with the vein intact you could run the risk of digestive issues. That's because shrimp poo, like a lot of poo, contains bacteria. But wait a minute, cooking food to a certain temperature, 165 degrees Farenheight, kills bacteria making food safe to eat.

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Design Insider via YouTube
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So, why do I need to devein a shrimp that I am going to cook properly?

If safety is your only concern, then no, technically your shrimp would be safe to eat after proper cooking. This is with or without the vein intact. Now, aesthetically, nobody wants to serve their family poo of any kind. So, especially on the larger shrimp, for a more pleasing plate, you'll want to pull that vein.

When it comes to deveining a shrimp or a prawn you have two choices. You can do it while the meat is still raw and uncooked.

Or if you've already cooked your shrimp and then decide you want to devein the process might look a little something like this.

So I guess the answer to our query is this. No, you do not have to devein shrimp if you are going to thoroughly cook them before eating. Yes, you do need to devein shrimp if you don't want your family or your guests to be ingesting very small amounts of shrimp poo.

Somehow, I don't think most of us will be flipping a coin to make this decision.

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