|Here are a number of simple but important "how to" tips.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU BUY
Like all species of prawns, you should look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells that aren’t slippery to the touch. Check around the joints for discolouration.
|Important note: There is a difference between Endeavour prawns and other species. On some Endeavours you may notice some discolouration about the head - with some heads becoming quite dark. With other species this indicates that the prawn is not fresh, however this discolouration is characteristic of the Endeavour and not necessarily a reflection of their quality.
In order to really tell, the next step is to follow your nose. Have a good smell of the prawns, and you should experience pleasant fresh sea smell. If it starts to smell like iodine or ammonia, you should take care.
Because of the Endeavour’s more intense flavour and sweeter meat, they handle freezing or cooking much better than other species - especially larger ones. Look out for ice crystals in frozen prawns as it can indicate they may have thawed and been refrozen.
For the best experience, buy green (raw) Endeavour Prawns ensuring they have been well handled and are super fresh.
It’s always good to ask where the prawns were caught, not necessarily because Endeavours from any area are particularly more tasty than others - it’s because you can tell by the answer how familiar the retailer or restauranteur is with their supply chain and how much they care about the product’s origin and treatment.
HOW MUCH TO BUY?
Allow approx 300-400g (with shells) per person when buying Endeavour Prawns for groups of 3 or more. Because they are more petite expect about 30-50 Endeavour prawns per kilo. When peeled, you can expect a ratio of about 45% delicious prawn meat to 55% shells and heads. If you have a family member who really loves prawns, or if you are buying for 2, allow 500g (in shell) per person. You will find that because Endeavours are generally less expensive than Tigers or Kings, they are excellent value.
If you are really keen, have an esky or insulated cold pack with you. When you have purchased your Endeavours, ask the merchant for some ice to take with you to keep them cool. Otherwise just make sure you don't leave them outside a cool environment for longer than 2 hours.
As soon as you are home, put the prawns in an airtight container and put them in the bottom of the fridge, preferably still surrounded in ice. It is best to keep raw and cooked food separate. Put your prawns in the lowest and coldest section of your fridge.
Make sure you eat them within a day or two. Don’t store them in the fridge for longer than 3 days without eating.
Put them into a plastic container roughly the same volume as your prawns. Fill the container with water and freeze. Don’t add salt as it can dry out the meat or draw out the flavour.
Endeavour Prawns will last up to 3 months when frozen, but ensure your freezer temperature is low enough. -18 degrees or below is the best temperature.
Peeling Endeavour Prawns
Practice makes perfect, and peeling prawns can be quite speedy when you get into the rhythm with the simple 3 step process outoutlined below.
Of course, the better you are at peeling prawns, the more there will be for you at any occasion where they are served.
Before peeling, grab 3 bowls, a sharp knife, a cutting board and a comfy chair. Fill one bowl with water and a little lemon juice to keep your fingers clean. Keep one bowl for the heads and shells and another for the prawn meat (preferably sitting in ice).
Simple 3-Step Process:
- Remove the head by twisting it off the body.
- Remove the legs from the underside of the body, starting from where the head was. As you peel them upwards, they will take with them the shell that goes around the top of the prawn. Repeat this section by section working your way towards the tail until there is only one section left.
- Hold the tail and pinch your fingers on the last section of shell, and the rest of the prawn should pop out.
Deveining Endeavour Prawns
Deveining green prawns, once you have removed the head you should straighten the prawn and gently pull out the digestive tract. If it breaks, insert a skewer point in and lift out the remaining digestive tract.
To devein cooked prawns, simply run a sharp knife down the back of the prawn from the top to the tail after peeling. You should be able to see the dark vein (it can sometimes be clear), remove it with your fingers or wash under the tap.
Prawn heads make a great base for fish stock, so they are well worth keeping. If you keep chickens you will know that they absolutely love prawn heads. If you don’t have chooks, then prawn shells and heads also make fantastic compost.
If you live in urban areas and don’t have chooks or compost, double wrap them in plastic, pushing as much air out as you can before tying off and sealing the bag before throwing out.
If it is a few nights until bin night, put them in the freezer rather than leaving them in a hot bin. Your neighbours will thank you. Hey, they might even invite you over for being so considerate.