A Tribute to Shrimp – The Lowcountry’s Staple Seafood

A Tribute to Shrimp – The Lowcountry’s Staple Seafood

shrimpImage to the left taken from FarmersAlmanac.com

Shrimp. Known by some of us southern folk as skrimp, is one of the Lowcountry’s most prized natural resources. In fact, we love shrimp so much that it is the main staple in most of our famous dishes, including shrimp and grits and Lowcountry boil. Heck, famous Charleston chefs even put it in their mac n’ cheese!

Because of the plentiful shrimp population in the waters off South Carolina’s coast, Charleston has made a name for itself in the shrimping industry. On any given day in Charleston harbor or on Shem Creek, you’ll witness large shrimp trawlers surrounded by huge flocks of seagulls hungry for a bite of what so many restaurants in the Charleston area demand: shrimp.

Out of the more than 1,900 species of shrimp found on planet earth, three of those species are available for commercial fishers to catch in South Carolina waters. The two most common species are the brown shrimp and the white shrimp (kind of like brown eggs vs. white eggs) and the third kind, which is less plentiful, is the pink shrimp. There really is no major difference in flavor and if someone has the ability to detect these differences, they are extremely subtle.

Below are a few fun shrimp facts:

  • All three of these shrimp species usually yield offspring (an act known as spawning) during different times of the year. Females can usually release upwards of 500,000 eggs in one spawning.
  • In terms of life expectancy, the shrimp has a short one, reaching between one and two years old.
  • Shrimp are no couch potatoes! They can swim up to five miles per day.
  • Shrimp are crustaceans and can be found in both saltwater and freshwater.

You’ll find commercial shrimp boats operating during the months of May and June (this is typically the time when eggs have been released by female shrimp). From June through August, shrimp trawlers are out catching brown shrimp. And then from August through October, the shrimpers are catching white shrimp.

As for the best places in Charleston to grab a bowl of signature shrimp and grits there are several:

  • Hominy Grill (downtown Charleston)
  • Old Village Post House (Mount Pleasant)
  • Poogan’s Porch (downtown Charleston)
  • High Thyme (Sullivan’s Island)
  • Sullivan’s (Sullivan’s Island)

And, of course, we can’t forget about the Lowcountry Boil, where the famous Lowcountry shrimp makes an appearance. Click here for a fantastic Lowcountry Boil recipe from Garden & Gun magazine.


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