How to prepare prawns

fresh prawns australia

Aussie summer isn't complete without a generous serving of seafood, especially the versatile prawn. Make sure you get it perfect this year with our top tips for buying, storing and preparing prawns.

Prawn dishes are a staple when the warmer months hit, but are your meals living up to their true potential?

Getting it right all comes down to the groundwork, from selecting it from the fishmongers to preparing them for your recipe.

Here, we take you through the process, step-by-step, for your best seafood recipes yet!

How to buy the freshest prawns

When buying fresh seafood, and especially uncooked prawns, there are a few things to consider:

  • Look for uncooked prawns that are free of discolouration and reject any that are showing signs of blackness.

  • Of all the ingredients, seafood is the most perishable, so plan your shopping well. Pre-order everything and arranhe to pick it up on Christmas Eve, or at the earliest, two days prior.

  • On the day of purchase, take a chiller bag, then aim to have your seafood under proper refrigeration as soon as possible.

  • The amount of prawns to buy is dependent on what else you are serving, the time of day and even the weather. Allow about 300g-400g of prawns per person for a main course, as you will lose at least half the weight in shells.

How to store fresh prawns properly

If you will be eating your prawns within two days, it is safe to store them in the fridge.

Once bringing them home, place prawns on a plate or tray, or in a lidded container. Cover with a damp cloth, then plastic wrap or a lid. Place in coldest part of the fridge, which is usually the bottom shelf.

How to freeze fresh prawns

It's important to only freeze prawns if you are sure they have not been frozen before and you can guarantee their freshness.

They are best frozen in a container, for up to two months, rather than a plastic freezer bag as they are sharp.

For uncooked prawns, half-fill a container with prawns, then fill with water and put the container in the freezer, with a label and the date – the ice block will insulate the prawns.

How to prepare prawns

To prepare fresh prawns, twist or cut behind the head to remove it. Peel away the shell starting from the legs. You can leave the last segment of shell on to ensure the tail remains intact.

To devein prawns, make a small cut in the centre back. Insert a skewer or toothpick through the skin and under the vein, then lift. Or, run a small knife down the back to expose the vein and pull it out that way.

To serve, you can butterfly prawns, following the easy step-by-step video below.

This story originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. To stay up-to-date with our food experts, you can subscribe to the magazine online via magshop or follow Fran on Facebook.

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