North Carolina Sea Grant
Mariner's Menu

Mariner's Menu

November 12, 2010 | Barry Nash

how to select, handle, clean and store seafood

How can you judge whether the retailer you buy seafood from is reputable?  In part, you can assess your retailer’s commitment to wholesome product by knowing the characteristics that reflect high-quality seafood.

When purchasing raw shrimp, you should look for translucent shells with grayish-green or tan coloration.  Shrimp should have a moist appearance, firm flesh and a mild scent.  Blackened edges or spots on the shell, mushy texture and a strong sour or “fishy” order are clear signs shrimp have excessive age or have been mishandled.

Shucked oysters should have a plump, cream-colored appearance.  They should be free of shell bits and sand and have a mild scent.  The oyster liquor should be clear or slightly opaque.  Avoid oysters that appear shriveled, dark or dry, have a strong “fishy” odor and are contained in cloudy liquid.

Crabmeat should be white with slight red or brown pigments and should have a mild scent.  Avoid product that appears dry or has a strong sour odor.

The flesh of raw fillets should be firm, even elastic when touched.  It should have a translucent color, moist appearance and mild scent.  Fillets that have a mushy texture, appear bruised, have a milky color, dry or brown edges and strong “fishy” order should be avoided.

Contributed by Barry Nash

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