Storing, Handling & Cooking Tips

SHRIMP

Storing

Freezer: Vacuum-sealed or an airtight container is best practice. Use a bit of sea salt water to prevent freezer burn.
Refrigerator: Store them as cold as possible in the refrigerator on ice that is drained (no shrimp in water). Rinse shrimp off before you start prepping and make sure they don’t sit outside of cold temperatures for long. Cooked shrimp do not need ice and will keep in the refrigerator for much longer.
Cooler: Make sure cooler is well drained. Make sure to have heavy bottom ice before adding shrimp.

Cooking

Prep: Get water to rolling boil and add heavy spice, beer, etc… Rinse or thaw shrimp.  Get colander ready in sink to strain hot shrimp. Shrimp is one of the easiest seafood products to overcook!
Boiling:
 We recommend boiling to steaming for more uniform cooking.  Submerge shrimp in 1-3 minutes (depending on size)  in hot boiling water.  Stir continually for uniform heat distribution. Remove shrimp from heat (shrimp will have just turned from translucent to orange). Smaller shrimp cook faster. Shrimp continue to cook out of water so cool down quickly.
Grilling: 
Tails, heads-on, peeled…any size! 
Grill until they turn pink, remove before the shrimp start to shrivel up.
Frying: 
Use peeled medium shrimp for more tenderness.  Pat shrimp dry before breading.  Very short cook time in hot oil.
Low Country Boil: 
Potatoes, corn, clams, crabs. Simple and delicious. Shrimp always go in last for 2-3 minutes.

SHELLFISH

Storing

Oysters & mud: Oysters survive better the way they come in after harvest.  If you plan on traveling or holding oysters for a a couple days, leaving them in the mud keeps them insulated from temperature fluctuations and we have found them to live longer.  Give them a quick rinse with a garden hose before you eat them.
Picking up at market: We recommend bringing your own cooler.  Put on bottom ice and then a piece of cardboard. Cover the oysters with a cool wet burlap sack or towel.
Shipped to you: Oysters are generally shipped unwashed.  If you need them washed for an event, please indicate in the notes area upon checkout. Be ready to unpack and store your shellfish.
Home: Shellfish should be stored in a cool area around 45 degrees. If ice is used, be sure oysters do not sit in water.  Use a wet burlap sack or rag over top of the shellfish to keep them from drying out.

Cooking

“Consumer Advisory Eating raw oysters, clams or mussels may cause severe illness. People with the following conditions are at especially high risk: liver disease, alcoholism, diabetes, cancer, stomach or blood disorder, or weakened immune system. Ask your doctor if you are unsure of your risk. If you eat raw shellfish and become sick, see a doctor immediately.”

Raw: Shuck open and serve on the half-shell.
Steamed: Make sure oysters are extra clean from mud, aim for a few minutes of steaming and don’t cook the oysters too long for they will dry out. If you cook too short, the oysters won’t open.
Roasted/Grilled: Until they open (put a wet burlap or towel over the oysters on the grill to keep them from drying out)
Baked: Oyster Rockefeller! Baked on the half-shell with cheese, butter, etc.
Fried: Fried oyster Po-Boys, oyster stuffing (use pint oysters)
Spices: Cocktail sauce, lime juice, hot sauce, crackers, butter
Tools: Oyster shucker and gloves
Special Considerations: Always wear gloves for shucking

BLUE CRABS

Masonboro Sound

Storing

Picking up at market: If you are going more than 20 minutes in a non- temperature controlled space (i.e. back of truck), then put a small bag of ice on top of paper or burlap that is on top of crabs
Home: Steam them ASAP! Live Crabs are extremely perishable but when they are steamed they can be saved in the refrigerator for up to a week. While they are alive keep them cool (50-60 degrees F.), moist (burlap or towel) and stress free (limit dumping, shaking, etc.).
Shipped to you: Check this out 
Other things to remember: Cold crabs look dead but when warmed up to room temperature they will re-animate
.

Cooking

Prep: Get water boiling, add heavy spices beer, etc.  Set crabs in ice for a few minutes until they become docile. Wait for rolling steam before adding crabs. Either clean them (pull top shell off, remove gills, rinse) or put them into pot whole layering with heavy spice.    If you are not sure when a crab is cooked, pull a claw out of the steamer and crack it. If it’s firm meat and pulls out smoothly then it’s cooked perfectly. Undercooked meat is jelly-like, overcooked is drier and spongey.  The entire top shell of a blue crab should turn red.  Any signs of green or blue requires more time.
Steamed: Firmer textured meat (15-20 minutes for 1-3 dozen)
Boiled: Softer Textured Meat (+/- 15 minutes)
Fried: Take their top shells off, tenderize with a mallet, bread them and fry
Spices: Old Bay, Florida Seasoning, Swamp Fire, Zattarans, Vinegar, can of beer, Bay Leaves
Tools: Crackers, Mallets

FIN FISH

Storing

Refrigerator: Make sure filets and whole fish are protected from water and air. They should also be kept as cold as possible without freezing in the refrigerator (on ice in a well drained container is best).  We recommend wrapping the fish, airtight, in cellophane and put them on over ice with a drainage system on the bottom. Rinse the fish off before you start prepping/cooking them.
Freezer: Vacuum-sealed is best (an airtight container is good too) and label them for easy identification. Certain types freeze better than others.

Cooking

Overcooking is the number one reason that will make dry and unappealing fish dishes. Always use a fork for a flake test to see when a fish is cooked. If it flakes easily and it’s opaque all the way through then immediately remove it from heat. If you cook it too long, the fish will be rubbery; if you cook too short, the fish will have translucent sections in the middle. In short, do not leave cooking fish unattended!

Spices: Blackening Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Lemon, Lime Juice, Panko Breader, Fish breader, Old Bay, etc.
Tools: Scaler, Knives
Special Considerations: 10 minutes per inch of thickest part of filet at 400-450 degrees. Turn one time halfway through cooking. Add 5 minutes to cook time if there is sauce, foil or garnish. Fish should reach internal temp of 145 degrees.

Another good source is the Whole Foods Seafood Safety Page and this blog post.

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