The Coldwater shrimp is an iconic shellfish that has earned its status due to its versatility. Shrimp have a firm and succulent meat that can be cooked in many different ways. Served hot or cold, shrimp has a salty taste that works with a great variety of flavours.
Coldwater shrimp have a firm, tender and succulent meat with a natural pink colour. This texture lends itself well to just about any method of preparation – boiled, baked, breaded, fried and deep fried, to mention a few. Shrimp are also delicious served cold. Their meat can be quite delicate, so it is important to avoid overcooking. It helps to add the shrimp last when cooking warm shrimp dishes.
Coldwater shrimp have a fresh and salty taste that is slightly sweet. They also have a hint of bitterness that is common for shellfish. This combination makes shrimp compatible with a multitude of spices and flavours. In the Faroe Islands, shrimp is often used in a cold shrimp salad made with leek, lemon juice and mayonnaise.
Coldwater shrimp is exceedingly rich in protein and has a high content of vitamins and minerals.
In Faroese shrimp are called Rækja. The Coldwater shrimp (Pandalus borealis) have a hard outer shell that is red or pinkish in colour. The intensity of their colour varies according to their environment and feeding.
Shrimp often have a U-shape to them and are made up of sections. The head is the largest section and takes up about a third of the whole body. Shrimp have small beady eyes and 4 antennae on the head. They have jointed legs that can grow up to 16 cm long. There is a group of longer legs attached to the head section, followed by the four subsequent sections each with a pair of shorter legs.
Coldwater shrimp are normally around 8-10 cm long when caught but can grow up to 16 cm in length. They have a lifespan of around 8-9 years.
Coldwater shrimp thrive on a soft and muddy seabed. They are most common at depths of around 100-700 metres but can be found as deep as 1400 metres. Shrimp prefer cold waters with temperatures ranging from 0-6 degrees Celsius.
Coldwater shrimp stick to the bottom during the day, resting and mostly immobile, and then float up and down water columns during the night to feed. They mostly eat zooplankton, krill and microscopic worms.
Coldwater shrimp are hermaphroditic. They are born male and turn female at around 3-4 years.
The eggs are fertilised during the autumn and the female carries them under her stomach throughout the winter. The females seek out shallower waters while carrying the eggs. The eggs then hatch during the spring. Newly hatched shrimp float close to the surface for 2-3 months before sinking to the bottom.
The coldwater shrimp can be found all over the Northeast Atlantic, from the Davis Strait and Labrador Sea, past the Faroe Islands and across to the Barents Sea. The Faroe Islands mostly fish for coldwater shrimp in the Barents Sea using bottom trawls.