If shellfish is in your vocabulary, you are in the right place; shellfish is a top item on the grocery list for the seafood lover. But if you are a true shellfish fan, you should know all the different types of shellfish.
Shellfish take center stage in tons of delectable meals across different cuisines, but that’s not all; shellfish are not only delicious but also offer numerous health benefits. Shellfish are packed with healthy fats, protein, and nutrients such as vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. All in all, shellfish helps in promoting a healthy heart, immune system, and brain.
There are tons of different ways you can enjoy shellfish, and different shellfish types are why we’ll be covering all the different varieties and how to keep them stored so you can get the most out of your shellfish at home.
Types of Shellfish
Though it may sound like a specific kind of fish, shellfish actually means an extensive variety known as spineless invertebrates. These are distinguished for having their skeleton in the exterior of their bodies.
Shellfish have been enjoyed for ages all over the world thanks to their tender texture and fantastic taste. They are found in both saltwater and freshwater. These can be categorized into two main kinds, crustaceans and mollusks.
Check out nine different types of shellfish; you’ve probably eaten more than one.
These are widely regarded as a pricey seafood item and perhaps the most succulent. You’ll find the meat in its claws, legs, and claws. Pair your lobster either warm or chilled with butter for a happy feast.
Lobsters are also considered the most popular type of shellfish; lobsters shed their shells numerous times at the beginning of their life, but it decreases dramatically as they get older. It is believed lobsters can live longer than humans and may weigh up to 40 lbs.
Crayfish or Crawfish
This freshwater fish looks like a lobster, only smaller and with much less meat to eat. These grow up to 6 inches in length and are green, dark brown, or sandy shade. They have bulging eyes, big tongs as front legs, and a sharp snout. Crawfish eat smaller fish, tadpoles, snails, and plants.
These are consumed all over but are a big part of Scandinavian, Australian, French, and US cuisines. There are a few different recipes with crawfish, including crawfish pie, crawfish dressing, or crawfish pie.
Shrimp, also known as prawns, are another type of shellfish with a strong shell; like lobsters, shrimps also shed their shell as they grow. Though shrimps have numerous legs, these do not crawl like other crustaceans; instead, they swim using their legs and tail.
Shrimp make a trendy dish; these can be enjoyed in tons of different recipes such as shrimp scampi, garlic butter shrimp, grilled shrimp, prawn cocktail, and hundreds more.
The crab is another crustacean that sheds its shell and has ten legs. Characterized for its scissors-like front pincers, these are used in a wide variety of dishes, including sushi. Crab can be roasted, grilled, steamed, or boiled, and its meat is delicious when paired with creamy sauces.
Oysters are members of the bivalve mollusks family hailing from the Atlantic side; for that reason, oysters found in the US are most likely from cultivated grounds.
Oysters offer a tender body under their sturdy shells; they have a gooey texture and are commonly served cold while still in their shell with butter, salt and lemon. These offer fantastic nutrition as they hold iron, calcium, and vitamin A and B12.
Clams are composed of two shells with two separate parts; they grow as big as 1.2 meters long and are mostly found in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Clams make flavorful meals, including clam fritters, clam dip, and the world-famous clam chowder. These can be baked, steamed, boiled, and even be consumed in their raw state.
If you are a seafood lover, then you must have tried octopus by now. Though it may have a scary and ugly shape, octopus is actually heavily consumed worldwide. It is used in pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, soups, etc.; its tentacles are eaten raw, offering a mild flavor and juicy texture. It is also very nutritious, offering a high content of vitamin B12.
Squids are part of the cephalopod mollusk group. It is characterized for using a kind of black ink as protection in its natural state. Squid offers a leathery texture and buttery flavor. You’ve probably had calamari as an appetizer more times than you know. It is common to enjoy it with lemon and tartar sauce or as an addition to salads and pasta meals. In some countries, it is consumed raw.
Have you heard of escargot before? It is a well-known snail dish. Snails are part of the gastropod mollusk family. It is famous in many countries, including Turkey, China, Nigeria, Algeria, France, and the US.
Snails which are a great source of iron and protein, are also commonly utilized in sauces and pasta dishes.
How To Keep Shellfish Fresh?
Like all fresh proteins, all shellfish belong inside your refrigerator.
Fresh shellfish must be kept in an open container in the fridge. It would help if you didn’t store it in water since it will expire.
To keep your shellfish fresh, follow the steps:
- Transfer your shellfish to an open container
- To retain humidity, place a damp towel on top to
- Set bowl in the second bowl filled with ice
How To Store Shellfish So It Stays Fresh For Longer
Storage times depend on the shellfish type. Those that close their shells completely can be kept for up to a week. Examples include oysters, littlenecks, butter clams, and cockles.
Shellfish that cannot completely close their shells can be stored for three to four days. This includes horse clams, mussels, soft shell clams, geoducks, and razor clams.
- Shellfish outside their shells should be stored in a refrigerator for up to three days.
- If you have leftover cooked shellfish, this should be in good shape for a couple of days inside the fridge.
- Live lobsters and crabs should be cooked the day they are purchased. Refrigerate in loose Ziploc bags or in a bowl, covered with wet paper towels to keep them moist.
Can You Freeze Shellfish?
Shellfish can absolutely be kept frozen. If you have leftover cooked shellfish, this should be in good shape for up to three months in the freezer.
- Shellfish outside their shells should be stored in a freezer for up to three months.
- Shucked shellfish can be placed in a sealed container and frozen for months.
What To Do With Shellfish Before They Go Bad?
Shellfish are highly perishable, so you need to watch for contaminated shellfish; common signs include presenting a tainted odor or taste. So even if you’ve had it in the fridge, keep an eye for any spoilage signs and discard it immediately to avoid food poisoning.
But before your shellfish goes to waste, there are tons of perfectly delicious recipes you can use your shellfish for, check out below some of our favorite shellfish recipes.
Our Favorite And Easiest Recipes using Different Types of Shellfish