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Taste test: popcorn shrimp

Serving size 3.5 ounces 3 ounces 3 ounces
Calories 210 210 230
Fat/Fiber 13g / 0g 10g / 1g 11g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium 3g / 680mg 2g / 480mg 1g / 540mg
Carbs/Protein 26g / 10g 20g / 10g 22g / 10g


Even though we live on the water, it took my children a while to eat anything that came from the sea. That changed when they discovered popcorn shrimp. These days, we usually reserve the fried morsels as a treat. Popcorn shrimp make a great snack for game-watching parties or appetizers for child-friendly gatherings. Taster's Choice judges tried five brands of frozen popcorn shrimp and found a couple they would serve for dinner or parties. All were heated in the oven, according to package directions.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Gorton's 70Oven Crunchy 65SeaPak 57
Judges'

comments
Good shrimp were the stars of this brand. Judges liked the nice-sized pieces and the fresh flavor. The breading was tasty as well. One panelist compared the coating to cornflakes, saying she liked the thickness of the breading, while it didn't overpower the shrimp. "It has just enough salt, too," she added. "Bring on the lemon and the cocktail sauce," said another.Crunchy texture gave these shrimp the edge over some of the competition. Panelists liked the bold, shrimp flavor and the nice chew from the breading. "These are like crunchy bites of heaven," said one judge. Another described the shrimp taste as "pleasant," saying she especially liked the amount of breading on the pieces. "The crumbly coating is heavy, but not overwhelming," she said. A couple said the irregular pieces of shrimp really did remind them of popcorn. "I might even drop these on top of a green salad to spruce it up," said one.Judges liked the unprocessed flavor of the shrimp in SeaPak's entree. The breading was a bit "aggressive" for some panelists, but they favored the overall taste. These shrimp had a slightly saltier taste than some of the others, adding to what judges described as "a more natural" flavor. "These would work well with a heavy cocktail sauce," said one. "They could hold up to a lot of other seasonings."
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$6.49 for a 14-ounce package from Publix.$5.79 for a 20-ounce box from Sweetbay.$6.49 for a 20-ounce package from Sweetbay.


Also Sampled: Publix ($3.99 for a 12-ounce package, 51 points) and Great Value ($3.98 for a 14-ounce package from Walmart, 49 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: popcorn shrimp 10/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 5:30am]

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