p is for pink shrimp and pink salmon

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In this week’s episode, I’m tackling P is for Pink Shrimp and Pink Salmon.

I’ll share the sustainability status, where to buy pink shrimp and salmon, recipe ideas and more. If pink shrimp and salmon were in school, I’d grade them with three A’s for abundance, availability & appetizing.

If pink shrimp and salmon were in school, I’d grade them with three A’s for abundance, availability & appetizing.

Pink shrimp because I lived, played and worked in Florida for twenty-three years, where pink shrimp are synonymous with palm trees and tropical breezes. But pink shrimp is not exclusive to Florida so I’m gonna talk about pink shrimp from Washington, Oregon. And pink Salmon well, because I wrote a cookbook about salmon.

But before I launch into this week’s episode, P is for Pink Shrimp and Pink Salmon, I want to offer a moment of silence for the 43 people who lost their lives in Texas and the over 1,200 people in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal who lost their lives in the worst flood in over forty years in Southern Asia.

Also, I want to offer huge thanks to the volunteers, police, firefighters, media, donors, truck drivers and all the amazing everyday people who are helping during these catastrophic unprecedented events. So it’s worth talk a little about hurricanes and how marine life is affected by storms before I launch into today’s program.

You know of all the things to be afraid of in this big small world we live in, the weather is at the top of the list for me.

Its unpredictability is its greatest strength. Even though scientists can predict with a certain amount of accuracy how fast a hurricane is and where it will land with a few degrees of certainty, there is no way to predict what will happen after the storm has landed.

I know. I have personal experience.

On August 24, 1992, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew flattened S. Florida.

I lived seventy miles south in the Florida Keys.

I was one of the few thousand people who didn’t evacuate. Which sounds crazy saying it now. And especially after what I witnessed.

Initially, the storm was headed toward Fort Lauderdale, far enough away that we wouldn’t be affected in the Middle Keys. Now, it might be worth mentioning that we didn’t have cell phones back then. The Internet was in its infancy.

Why didn’t I leave?

Looking back, I can say for sure, I didn’t want to leave my dachshund, Maxine. The shelters in Miami didn’t allow for pets. And so I thought the day, before I should just drive as far north as I could. FHP told me the traffic had come to standstill twenty miles north and I feared I’d die on the highway. Marathon, where I lived, is one and a half miles wide. The other Keys aren’t much wider. But the reasoning was, if I could get north of Fort Lauderdale, I could hopefully find a hotel.

So I packed my car with a survivors kit—rope, blankets, a pillow, dog food, a few gallons of water, a few sandwiches, some canned tuna, a can opener, sterno, a bottle of tequila—I remembered that last tip from a survival class I took during my freshman year in college. I guess even in 1979, I was preparing for…what? A catastrophic event? Anyway, once the car was packed and I had Maxie in her seat, I turned the key. And nothing. I tried it again. The car battery was dead.

I was alone. Most people I knew had evacuated.

My ex, whom I had recently broken up with was traveling in Argentina. My best friend’s husband and his father were still on the island. I picked up the white princess phone just inside the front door of the house and tried to maintain calm. But I heard a crazy woman screaming into the phone. It was me. Crying, hyperventilating.

We were lucky. We had minimal damage in the Keys—a few roofs blown off, some trees down. The biggest problem? We had no electricity.

A few days after the storm had hit the mainland, I drove a friend north to Homestead Air Force Base.

He was an Air Force Reserves. S. FL looked like an atomic bomb hit the area. F-16 fighter jets were turned upside down. Steel poles were bent at a 45-degree angle.

Weeks went by. We had intermittent electricity for about three weeks. Reports from the mainland indicated there was a terrible stench emanating from Dade County. Dead fish. Maybe bodies? I don’t know. There were a lot of illegal immigrants in Dade county at that time.

So now with the two massive floods going on at the same time, one receding in Texas, the other in Southern Asia, I wonder, what happens below the surface?

What happens to the fish?

Well as it turns out, plenty. Interestingly, sharks and larger marine animals can detect the pressure and aren’t as affected. But smaller fish and shellfish, turtles, and coral reefs are deeply affected. There’s less oxygen in the water, there are changes in the salinity, and of course, the violent pounding surf can destroy plenty.

On land and at sea, fisheries and aquaculture provide important sources of food, nutrition, income, and food security for hundreds of millions of people around the world. When coastal areas are destroyed by storms?

Houston we’ve got a problem.

I’ll be talking more in future podcasts about how weather patterns and natural catastrophes will affect us. And I’m writing about hurricane experiences in S. Florida in my memoir, Hurricanes, Handcuffs, Pepper Spray and Scrambled Eggs, a work in progress. You can find out more on my website maureencberry.com.

P is for Pink Shrimp

You know, when I do book events, the question I’m most often asked is, where do I buy my seafood?

But when I lived in Central Florida, I bought my fish from the distributor, at the docks. When I lived in the Keys, I fished for my dinner or I bought from a local source.

One thing I always ate in when I lived in the Keys?

Yep, pink shrimp.

Well, since I moved to western Kentucky, I buy my fish online or in the freezer aisle at the grocery.

But those pink shrimp? Oh tender and sweet. I think they’re the best of the best.

You can find Pink shrimp in Florida in the Gulf, Washington State, and Oregon.

Pinks are harvested in Mexico, but more on that in a few minutes.

Let’s talk size and cost. Because with shrimp, size does matter. And let’s face it, unless you have an unlimited budget, then the cost of food matters too.

So buying pink shrimp online from the Florida Keys cost between $16 and $20 per pound depending on the size. Plus shipping.  Which is generally around $50. for a 10/15 count (which is considered large). That means you get 10 to 15 shrimps per pound. So, if you eat four ounces of shrimp, which sounds ridiculously skimpy if you are a shrimp fan. And who isn’t? Shrimp is the top consumed seafood in America, you’ll get on average 3 shrimps per person with a 10/15 count. In 21/25’s (which is considered medium) that’s 21-25 shrimp per pound so you’ll get 5 to 6 shrimp per four ounces portion.

On the sustainability scale for pinks from the Gulf?

It’s a mixed bag. For instance, Seafood Watch gives pink shrimp a good alternative rating, while Ocean wise says to avoid and NOAA fisheries give it a 4 out of 4.

Oregon and Washington pinks have had the MSC certification since 2010. That terrific news.

Sigh. I know right? Okay.

I think it goes like this.

If you live in and around Florida, you eat pinks, whites, royal reds and rock shrimp. If you live in and around Washington State and Oregon, you eat pinks. For the rest of the country, we rely on wild American shrimp—whites from Louisiana, browns from Texas for instance.

And if you have the means, you can order any kind of shrimp online from anywhere. So there’s that.

Now, if you get your hands on some pink shrimp, here’s a recipe idea.

Since pink shrimp are so incredibly sweet and tender, you don’t want to do much. A classic chilled shrimp cocktail is best. And instead of a traditional spicy red cocktail sauce, try a Raspberry-Radish dipping sauce.

Five Ingredient Raspberry-Radish Dipping Sauce

  1. 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  2. 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon horseradish
  3. 1 tablespoon balsamic-raspberry vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon citrus juice (lemon, lime, or key lime)
  5. 1 tablespoon sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt

Add all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk, cover and chill until you’re ready to serve. And if you don’t like or want the dairy, just omit it. This sauce rocks either way. I put a link in the show notes with the recipe.

P is for Pink Salmon

Pink salmon, aka humpback or humpy, are the heavy lifters in the Pacific salmon family. They are also the smallest of the Pacific salmon family weighing in at an average four pounds.

Pink salmon have a wide range of habitat—from Puget Sound in Washington State through Alaska, the Pacific Rim, Korea, Japan.

And because the pink salmon industry in Alaska is well managed, the conservation status of pink salmon is not in danger. In fact, the entire global population of pink salmon is not in danger.

Here’s a couple of cool pink salmon facts:

A female can lay between 1,200 to 1,900 eggs during spawn season—June through October.

Pink salmon’s distinct pale pink color comes from the food they eat—plankton, insects, squid krill, and small fish.

Humpy’s are the most numerous of all the salmon and account for most of the canned salmon.

The history of canning pink salmon dates to the late 1800s.

I have a great salmon salad recipe in my cookbook, Salmon From Market To Plate that would work well with pink salmon.

In the book, I toss the flaked salmon with grapes, walnuts, celery, and mayonnaise, but it an adaptable recipe too. So for instance in the Spring, I swap out the grapes for strawberries, add pecans and fresh mint. In the summertime, I swap out the berries for tomatoes, add basil and pistachio. Hmm-mm. It’s a quick, delicious easy meal.

In fact, there are thirty salmon recipes and shopping resources plus much more in my little salmon book. I’m not too shy to say I am proud of this book. I think you’ll like it too.

Buy a copy at maureencberry.com/books or wherever you buy books online. Salmon From Market To Plate is available in print and ebook.

Okay, so that’s a wrap for this episode of GFBO.

Next up, Q is for Queen Scallops and Quotas. 

Subscribe on iTunes to GFBO and don’t miss an episode.

Thanks so much for listening.

I’m Maureen Berry. This is GFBO.

Show Notes

Pink Shrimp

Pink Salmon