How to buy fresh prawns

Obviously freshest is always best (straight from the fisherman’s boat!) but many of us purchase prawns sold in seafood markets and supermarkets, where prawns have been frozen and then re-thawed for sale.
Here are some easy tips on how to choose them fresh:
  1. Buy prawns with firm complete shells and firmly attached heads.
  2. The eyes should not be shrunken inwards or missing.
  3. Fresh prawns should smell slightly salty, like sea water. Avoid ones that smell of ammonia as an "off" smell is caused by bacteria and can cause food poisoning.
  4. There should be no discolouration across the head and body of the prawn.No black spots on shell.
  5. Flesh should be translucent (white and slightly transparent) or bluish grey in colour and shiny. Avoid pink meat as prawns only turn coral/pink once cooked. 
  6. Steer clear of prawns that have been shelled as they end up being rubbery and tough. Cooking them in their shells helps to retain the flavour and juices.
Storage hints:
  1. Once purchased, store in freezer as soon as possible. 
  2. Raw prawns can be frozen in an airtight container with shell or without, but the heads should be removed.
  3. To store prawns whole (without removal of heads/shell) just slip them into a ‘mega’ drink bottle, fill with water, seal and freeze. You can ‘bottle freeze’ them portion wise too for easy access. (250g, 500g etc.)