Americans eat about 1.7 billion pounds of the crustacean per year, making it the most popular seafood in the country. It's no wonder we love shrimp: It's quick-cooking, versatile, and low in calories.
Fresh or frozen shrimp are equally good picks. Shrimp are very perishable, so unless you live near the ocean, chances are the shrimp you buy has been frozen at some point -- most boats flash-freeze the shrimp on board.
To thaw frozen shrimp, keep them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or, in a pinch, run them under cold water. Chill fresh shrimp for up to 2 days.
Shrimp still in the shell can be tastier and less expensive. To prep them, use your fingers to peel away the shells, then run a paring knife from head to tail along the backs (shown). If you see a dark vein, use the knife to remove it in one piece.