North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia’s waters hold an abundance of both white shrimp and brown shrimp. Shrimp congregate in large groups, making them easy to catch by commercial fishermen once they are found. Whether you’re traveling to the coast or a local, all seafood eaters should try the shrimp plucked out of the water within days. While nearly every restaurant offers shrimp on the menu, consider buying it raw and preparing it for yourself. This will save you a good deal of money and allow you to try a variety of recipes. How do you buy fresh shrimp local to you in coastal states?

What To Look For In Fresh Shrimp 

Before you even start sourcing shrimp, understand how to determine if what you’re buying is fresh. No need to waste money on seafood that has begun to age at will not offer the taste, quality, and texture it is known for. 

Never be afraid to ask the seafood clerk or fisherman to give you a closer look. Keep an eye out for these key characteristics.

  • Both shrimp with shells and without shells should not be mushy.
  • When a shrimp is left in the shell, make sure that the coloration is glossy.
  • If you are buying cleaned shrimp, ensure that it has not become dried out, which will feel dry and hard.
  • Most important is the smell. If it doesn’t smell like the sea and takes on an ammonia smell, never buy it. 

Where can fresh shrimp be Purchased? 

The Grocery Store-

It doesn’t matter where you are in the United States; shrimp are typically available. Take your pick of both frozen or fresh. As a general rule of thumb, use the grocery store as your last resource even though they may be the lowest in cost. The reduced price is a clear indication of what you may be buying.

Often the shrimp that are put in the seafood case have been previously frozen. It is also unlikely that the grocery store receives shrimp deliveries from local waters for those situated along the coast. Chances are, the shrimp is imported and thawed. The grocery store should be used as a last resort.

Local fish market-

Most cities and towns will have a local fish market that has seafood delivered daily. Additionally, the store may also own a fishing fleet stocking it with a fresh catch or contract with a shrimping vessel in the area. 

The small mom and pop shops will undoubtedly have the freshest fish and shrimp available because their reputation rides on it. When shrimp is purchased from a local store, you will most often be sent home with a bag of ice. Shrimp should remain ice cold on the ride home and be placed on ice when stored in the fridge to maximize shelflife. 

Store clerks will be helpful and educational. Ask when the shrimp was caught and how many more days it can be kept cold before being used or frozen. 

Fresh shrimp prices are typically very steady in coastal regions. It is not likely to be gouged with high rates.

But shrimp directly from the shrimper-

They don’t come much fresher than this. Many of the shrimpers are extremely friendly and are happy to sell to you straight from the boat at the same cost as the fish market. The drawback is trying to find the resource. 

Social media such as Facebook is a perfect way to seek out private sellers. In Facebook Marketplace, search for “shrimp” in areas along the coast. Most often, one or more suppliers will be in your vicinity. Message them online for the pickup location. Be mindful it’s generally cash only, and bring along a cooler too. 

One drawback is your ability to pick the number of pounds of shrimp to buy. It is common to find that the shrimpers have five-pound bags ready to grab. Split the shrimp with friends and family or section them off in zip lock bags and freeze them for a future meal. 

Conclusion- Buying Fresh Shrimp 

It shouldn’t be much of a problem to overbuy the number of shrimp you need for your upcoming meals. Shrimp can be cooked in a variety of ways. Some of the most popular is Shrimp Scampi, Cocktail Shrimp, Shrimp Kabobs, fish stuffed with shrimp, and more. Finding shrimp at a store won’t be difficult, but it just may not be as flavorful or fresh as it can be. If you are from a landlocked area, consider purchasing freshly caught shrimp and driving them back home. Enjoy what the sea has to offer.