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Can Humans Eat Cherry Shrimps? [Edible?]

As an arthropod enthusiast, you probably consider eating cherry shrimp a lousy idea. I don’t blame you. After all, they’re visually appealing creatures that will give aquariums more of a lively look. But keeping that role aside, what are the chances of cherry shrimp being edible?

Cherry shrimp are edible for humans. However, their small size makes it hard to eat them in large quantities. Yet, many global cultures include them in their dishes. However, it’s crucial to obtain them from clean and safe environments. Otherwise, this could lead to health risks.

But if they’re safe to eat, is there any benefit in consuming them? And why is eating them discouraged so badly? Well, the answer can reach you only when you start scrolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Cherry shrimp are edible for humans but can’t be consumed in large quantities.
  • They come with nutrients like protein, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, etc.
  • Eating cherry shrimp is highly discouraged as they can lead to health risks and might contain potential contaminants.
red cherry shrimp overview and facts

Nutritional Value Of Cherry Shrimp

Every food that is edible for humans comes with certain nutritional value. The same goes for cherry shrimp as well.

So, when you’re eating 100 grams of cherry shrimp, you might get this kind of nutritional output from that.

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NutritionAmount (Per 100 grams)
Vitamin E2.3mg
Vitamin B123.5μg
Vitamin B60.1mg
Vitamin B32.5mg

This chart might vary as the nutritional value depends on factors like the shrimp’s diet and environment.

Cherry shrimp are sometimes farmed as a specialty food item alongside larger shrimp species. However, their miniature size makes large-scale commercial farming difficult as alluded to in this Wikipedia article on shrimp.

Shrimp Type vs Edibility

Here is the table with shrimp types and their edibility:

Shrimp TypeEdibility
Brown shrimpEatable (Dry and fresh weight values of edible parts of shrimps)
White shrimpEatable
Pink shrimpEatable
Tiger shrimpEatable
Spot prawnEatable
Red cherry shrimpNot eatable (aquarium shrimp)

5 Benefits Of Eating Cherry Shrimp

Like any other shrimp you’re eating, cherry shrimp also comes with a bunch of good sides, such as –

1. Protein

One of the best things about cherry shrimp is they have loads of protein. And yes, they’ve also got lots of essential amino acids covered, which can help in human body growth.

Plus, the kind of protein cherry shrimp comes with can help repair and build tissue, support muscle development, and develop the immunity system.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Have you ever heard of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)? Well, these are omega-3 fatty acids that cherry shrimp are full of. These fatty acids can assist cardiovascular health and reduce heart disease risk. Besides, they support brain function, too.

3. Vitamins And Minerals

Cherry shrimp contain many essential minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin B12. This vitamin is not only crucial for nerve function but also helpful in red blood cell formation. On the other hand, minerals, especially phosphorus, keep bone health on point, and iodine helps with thyroid function.

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4. Low Calorie And Fat

Another good side of cherry shrimp is they’re low in calories and fat. So, consuming them is surely not going to increase your weight or level of calorie intake. It means they can be considered a lean source of protein.

5. Low Mercury Content

Compared to many other seafood, cherry shrimp have a lower mercury level. So, they’re good enough as a safer food choice, even for children and pregnant women.

Why Is Eating Cherry Shrimp A Bad Idea?

Okay, now you know that they’re safe to eat. But eating them is still a bad idea because they’re –

1. Not Bred For Consumption

Cherry shrimp are seen as aquarium pets more than any edible food.

That’s the purpose of breeding or raising them. The thing is, edible shrimp used in the food industry meet the criteria to be regular food or have certain qualities. Cherry shrimp don’t fit in that role.

2. Limited Size And Yield

Unlike the regular shrimp, the amount of edible meat in cherry shrimp is minimal. It means these shrimp are only good enough to be a part of your dish if you’re okay with keeping your stomach almost empty.

3. Potential Contaminants

You can never drop the possibility of having unhealthy cherry shrimp on your plate. They can accumulate toxins from their environment, just like any other seafood. It can happen to wild shrimp and captive ones, especially when living in water treated with chemicals.

4. Inadequate Diet Control

There’s no guarantee that the food cherry shrimp consume can always positively impact human health. The thing is, shrimp that are kept in aquariums often eat commercial shrimp foods. These foods are consumable for the shrimp, but no one can ensure whether they’re good for human health.

5. Ethical Concerns

Eating up an aquarium pet like cherry shrimp can raise ethical concerns. And guess what? It might even raise legal concerns, depending on where you live, of course.

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6. Health Risks

Consuming any organism from an aquarium, even cherry shrimp, can pose potential health risks. Yes, I’m talking about diseases and parasites. So, if you’re picking up cherry shrimp from any uncleaned aquarium, you can also get infected.

7. Safer Alternatives

Cherry shrimp are no delicious or safe treat. Instead, it’s better to go for the commercially harvested shrimp that are perfect for human consumption. Plus, they’re safer and tastier alternatives to cherry shrimp.

For humans looking to harvest cherry shrimp as a micro food, it’s best to collect them from a healthy aquarium tank to ensure they are free of diseases, parasites or contaminants that could pose health risks if eaten as discussed on this Consumer Reports page about shrimp safety. Proper cooking is also recommended to kill any potential pathogens.

Can You Eat Cherry Shrimp Raw?

Eating cherry shrimp raw is not a good idea. Cherry shrimp are often kept as pets and their water might have bad stuff like bacteria.

This can make you sick. Shrimp from the store are safer because they are cleaned and checked for safety. But even these shrimp should be cooked to kill any germs. It’s best to cook all shrimp well before eating.

Cherry Shrimps vs Commonly Eaten Shrimps

Cherry shrimp are typically one of the smallest varieties of shrimp eaten. They are usually only about 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in size as adults.

In comparison, wild caught shrimp such as Gulf shrimp or White shrimp tend to be larger, around 15-25 per pound.

In terms of taste, cherry shrimp have a more delicate, subtle flavor than larger shrimp varieties. Their small size means they don’t have as pronounced of a “shrimp” taste. Some describe cherry shrimp as having a sweetness similar to lobster. Larger shrimp varieties tend to have a brinier, stronger seafood taste.

Preparation methods also differ due to size. Cherry shrimp are usually eaten whole, including the shell, since they are small enough. Larger shrimp are often peeled and deveined before cooking. Cherry shrimp can simply be boiled or sautéed quickly since they are so tiny.

Larger shrimp are often grilled, broiled, or used in dishes like shrimp scampi due to their larger size. Cherry shrimp are also commonly kept as freshwater aquarium pets while

Before We Go…

Clearly, you can live without having cherry shrimp on your food list. But how long can your cherry shrimp survive without having a bite? Well, you better know it, not only to get them enough food but also to skip overfeeding. But where are you going to get that info? Try clicking here – How Long Can Cherry Shrimp Go Without Food?

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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