Seafood is all edible living things (except fish) that are caught in the sea or ocean. Seafood is divided into shellfish (squid, oysters, mussels, octopuses and others) and crustaceans (shrimp, crayfish, crabs, lobsters and so on). Almost all seafood is frozen on the Russian shelves. Shrimps are most often exported from Southeast Asia, oysters from the Mediterranean coast, and crabs and squids from the Far East. The process of fishing, freezing and transporting seafood is not cheap, so good seafood can not cost a little.
When purchasing frozen seafood, carefully inspect the packaging. It should not be damaged. Rime inside says that the product was thawed and frozen repeatedly - this is bad.
Frozen shrimps are of two types: fresh-frozen (gray) and boiled-frozen (pink). Shrimp can already be peeled or in shells, with or without a head.
There are a lot of shrimp varieties: from small, a couple of centimeters in size, to large - royal ones. The numbers indicated on the packaging (50-70, 90-120) indicate the minimum and maximum number of shrimp in pieces contained in one kilogram.
It is best to buy shell-frozen shrimp. It protects against damage and helps retain moisture. Correct shrimp have a curved shape.
If the product is direct, it means that it was thawed several times or frozen already stale.
In Russia, only one species is commercially mined - the commander's squid. All the rest are brought from abroad, most often from Peru and the Philippines. Frozen squids are usually sold in three forms: carcass, fillet and rings. Small species, including the Russian command squid, are presented in the form of carcasses.
But on the fillet and rings are gigantic species: Filipino and Peruvian.
Fresh squid has a hard skin, which is removed before freezing. In order not to spoil the appearance of meat, manufacturers resort to chemical "dissolution" of the shell. The meat remains attractive, but chemicals can remain on the surface of the squid. Uncleaned squid has a purple-brown skin, which is easily removed at home.
The right color of squid meat is light cream. This means that the squid did not defrost during storage. The carcasses are milky white in color, most likely, have been processed by a chemical composition.
Squids are exclusively marine inhabitants, they are not found in fresh waters. Squid fishing occurs in July-August.
The summer date on the packaging suggests that you most likely will come across a delicious product.
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In Central Russia, mussels are sold canned, chilled and frozen. Chilled mussels are always on the leaves, frozen can be without shells.
When buying mussels in the leaves, make sure that the shells are intact, without chips or other damage.
The ideal size is medium, too small and too large mussels can be tasteless.
Scallops are mollusks that live on wings and live in all oceans. In stores, you can often find frozen scallop meat in a vacuum package - these are small "columns" of cream or milk color. Scallops are frozen immediately after being removed from the shell directly on the sea vessels.
When choosing scallops, pay attention to the country of fishing.
Chinese scallops have a more attractive appearance, they are large, white and the same in size and are inexpensive. Chinese manufacturers grow them using chemicals and heavy metal additives. There is more harm from such mollusks than good. Russian Far Eastern scallops are caught in the sea off the coast of Kamchatka. They are smaller, darker, but much more useful.
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In Russia, octopuses from the Far East and South Asia, as well as Mediterranean, are mainly available. Mini-octopuses are most often of Asian origin. Octopuses are sold freshly frozen and boiled-frozen. If you do not have the skill or desire to cook octopuses yourself, it is better to choose an already cooked product.
Choose an octopus with two rows of suction cups. One row indicates that the meat will be stiff. Frozen octopus after cooking is much milder than fresh - and it’s much easier to find a frozen one in Russian latitudes.
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There are also a lot of varieties of crabs.
The size and color of crustacean meat depends on the species: from snow-white to almost brown. The shops sell live and boiled crabs, as well as chilled and frozen (often in cut form - meat, claws, legs).
The main criterion for choosing a live crab is its activity. If the crab sits in the aquarium in one place and barely moves - refuse the purchase. Cooked crab should have a light sweetish aroma, but not smell like fish.
Fish smell indicates improper storage. The shell of the crab, living and boiled, must be solid, without spots, inclusions and damage.
The main difference between oysters and other seafood is that they are eaten alive. That is why it is important to be able to distinguish quality oysters from spoiled ones. Oysters are stored in a special aquarium or in ice.
The flaps of a live oyster fit snugly together and slam shut when pressed. An already discovered product is easy to verify: oyster should be poured with lemon juice. If the meat starts to move, then the product is lively and of high quality. The fixed oyster has already died; it should not be eaten.
Oysters are a product that requires proper handling.
It is best to eat oysters in specialized fish restaurants to reduce the chance of poisoning.