Do you know how to choose shellfish when buying them? Let’s take a look at the subject. Choosing shellfish is really important, especially since they could cause serious illness if they are not fresh. Therefore, make sure that you buy them from a reputable source.
- Mussels and Clams: When buying live mussels or clams, choose those with tightly closed shells. Avoid any that do not close when tapped, and those with broken shells, as they may be dead and could cause food poisoning if eaten.
- Mussels: When buying mussels, avoid those covered with sand, as it will be difficult to remove large amounts of sand.
- Scallops: Buy scallops that are a creamy ivory color. If the coral is attached, it should be bright orange. If they are too white, they may have been soaked in water to increase their weight.
- Lobster: When buying a lobster, choose one that weighs between 1 and 2 lbs (0.5 and 1 kg). Small lobsters may have too little flesh inside, while very large ones can be coarse, chewy, and dry.
Choosing Shellfish: Buying Crab
Choosing Crab: If you like the white meat from the claws, buy a male crab. For the rich pink coral from inside the body shell, choose a female.
Checking the weight: When buying a cooked whole crab, hold it firmly by the claws and shake it gently. The crab should feel heavy for its size. If it feels light or rattles, it is of poor quality and has water inside.
Refrigerating Prawns: Before storing fresh, raw shrimp in the refrigerator, rinse them in cold water and drain well. Use them within two days.
Cleaning Mussels: To clean mussels or clams, place them in cold water with a handful of raw oatmeal or cornmeal. Let them stand for two hours. Mussels and clams will expel dirt as they feed.
Preventing Loss of Juices
Storing Oysters: Store live oysters curved side down to prevent the loss of juices. Arrange them in an open tray, cover them with a damp cloth, and store them in the bottom of the refrigerator. Use them as quickly as possible, within 24 hours of purchase.
Storing Live Shellfish
Keeping Crayfish Alive: If you buy live crayfish, lobsters, or crabs, keep them alive until you are ready to cook them. Place the crayfish in a large and deep bowl in the sink and keep the cold-water tap running continuously into it.
Octopus & Squid
- Checking the Weight: Avoid buying octopus that weighs more than 2 lbs (1 kg) since it is likely to be tough.
- Choosing for freshness: Choose octopus or squid with good color, a slippery appearance, and a fresh, salty smell. Avoid any with broken outer skins or those lying in puddles of ink.
- Saving the ink: If you can, buy squid that has not already been cleaned and still has its ink sac, and clean it at home. Use the ink to add flavor and color to a sauce.
- Cleaning: Clean octopus or squid before storing them. Put in the refrigerator in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
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