Seafood is any form of marine life that people consider food. It primarily includes fish and shellfish.
Seafood types include many types of fishes, shellfish, and other sea creatures like squid. Different kinds of seafood are generally raised in ponds or in cages in the sea, but most of the fish that we eat are taken alive from the different oceans by big commercial fishing boats. Shellfish include a lot of species of mollusks like bivalve mollusks that includes clams, oysters, and other mussels.
Seafood comprises all bony fishes and the more primitive sharks, skates, rays, sawfish, sturgeons, and lampreys; crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, shrimps, prawns, and crayfish; mollusks, including clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, periwinkles, whelks, snails, abalones, scallops, and limpets; the cephalopod mollusks—squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish; edible jellyfish; sea turtles; frogs; and two echinoderms—sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
Seafood and their breath of sea breeze are often associated with the pleasant emotions of summer. It is good that we can find fresh or frozen seafood in markets throughout the year, but of course, freshly caught and stored shellfish, squid or lobster with a little lemon flavor have no competition in terms of aroma and taste.
We can divide the whole range of seafood, which we use as food into two large groups – mollusks and crabs. The group of mollusks includes oysters, shellfish, squid, octopus, cuttlefish. For one part of them, it is characteristic that they feed by filtering water. The group of crabs includes all types of crabs and lobsters, shrimps, etc.
In addition to being incredibly tasty and considered a delicacy, seafood is an extremely useful and complete food. It is enough to notice that the Japanese are the nation with the longest life expectancy, and their menu is based on seafood, rice and soy. The Japanese eat an average of 50 times more fish, 17 times more rice and three times more cereals compared to others.
To all of the above, seafood is also considered a dietary product. Thanks to seafood, the Japanese diet is about 2 times less caloric compared to our diet. Scientists have recently discovered the remains of shells in a cave in southern Spain, which confirm that Neanderthals, especially Homo Sapiens, hunted and ate seafood 150,000 years ago.
Seafood is an important part of a balanced diet as it is a good source of vitamins and quality proteins, and they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on heart function and cardiovascular health. Although they contain slightly less protein than fish, they are rich in amino acids and minerals that are necessary for the maintenance of metabolic processes in the body, protect white blood cells and stimulate the production of T-lymphocytes (which destroy cancer cells). They are also rich in collagen (part of the structure of bone and connective tissue, teeth and skin), iron, as well as “good” cholesterol.
Seafood should be served immediately and should not be kept out of the refrigerator for more than two hours as it spoils very quickly.
Raw fish and shellfish can contain various viruses (most often hepatitis A) and listeria, a very resistant and potentially dangerous bacterium. Listeria monocytogenes is a common toxin from food and can cause enteritis (inflammation of the intestinal mucosa) and meningitis, and pregnant women, small children and people with a weakened immune system are especially at risk. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to avoid seafood, especially shellfish.
Most seafood is necrophase, meaning they feed on dead sea creatures that fall to the bottom, or filter water, which is why they contain large amounts of mercury and heavy metals.
Squid (Loligo vulgaris)
Squids belong to the order of soft cephalopods. They have 8 short and 2 longer tentacles, and all of them have leeches. Species that live at great depths on the skin have shiny patterns. The bodies of squid have the shape of a torpedo.
Squids have a very developed sense of sight and can change color, to fit in with the environment in which they are located – they are often interspersed with white, brown, pink and red dots. Excellent species helps squid to hunt successfully. When they are attacked, they emit ink-like matter, so that they can confuse the enemy. The ink that squid contains is also used in cooking.
The colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) is the largest squid species and the largest invertebrate in the world. It can reach a length of up to 14 m. Squid feed by grabbing prey with long tentacles and attracting it with shorter tentacles and holding it so tightly until they eat it. Another large species of squid is the giant squid (Architeuthis dux), which has only tentacles, while the colossal squid also has growths on its tentacles.
Squid has long been a popular food of the Old Continent, it is also popular in Japan. In the distant past, people hunted squid not only for their delicious meat, but also for the ink they use as protection. In the Middle Ages, the same ink was used for writing, and hence the Latin name – calmarius, which means – writing.
Squids belong to dietary foods, which are rich in protein and have a very low fat content. Even fried, squid contains much less fat compared to the main types of red meat. Also, squid are an excellent source of selenium (38 mkg) and vitamin B12 (1.1 mkg), vitamins B2, B3, as well as minerals – phosphorus and zinc. Squids are one of the few foods that come from the sea and have a high cholesterol content. Squids are also rich in iodine, vitamins C, PP and E.
100 g of fresh squid contains:
Calories: 92 kcal
Fat: 1 g, Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.6 g, Cholesterol: 233 mg, Protein: 16 g, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Sodium: 44 mg.E.
If you buy squid fresh, make sure they are fresh – pay attention that their tentacles are thicker, and that the meat has a bright color, it should certainly not be at all transparent. The meatier squid is much tastier. Squids should be shiny and moist. If you buy them whole, their eyes should be bright, not cloudy, as with other fish and seafood.
If the squid is fresh, it will have a mild smell of sea water, not fish. The membrane that covers the body of the squid is gray (not purple or pink). Live squid have a translucent color, but when caught, they change color to red, pink, brown, blue or yellow.
The body of the squid can be slightly furrowed or cut into rings, and they can be stewed, cooked or fried. The tentacles can also be cut into pieces. When buying squid packaged, check the expiration date and the type of preservatives that were added.
Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)
Cuttlefish (Sepiida) is a type of mollusk, which is highly valued by seafood lovers. The body of the cuttlefish is of different sizes. In some species it is about 25 centimeters long, and in others it can exceed 50 centimeters. The weight of this mollusk can exceed 10 kilograms. The torso is elongated, and the dorsal-abdominal part is flattened. It can be painted in different colors, while in male specimens the coloration is more interesting.
Cuttlefish have the ability to change the color of their body, and that happens when the mollusk tries to get the same color as the environment that surrounds it. So he is less noticeable to his enemies. What distinguishes cuttlefish are their tentacles. There are ten of them and they are on the front, around the mouth. One of the most common species is Sepia officinalis.
The cuttlefish lives in coastal waters, and can be found at a depth of 200 meters. They prefer salt waters, which belong to the subtropical and tropical climate zones. Cuttlefish are known for the ink substance they produce, which is also called cuttlefish color. The mollusk releases this liquid when it feels scared and needs to protect itself. With the help of dune paint, she manages to hide from the enemy.
Cuttlefish is a mollusk that appears as a source of a bunch of useful elements, among which are potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and copper. The body also contains aspartic acid, glutamine, alanine, arginine, glycine, cysteine and others.
Meat contains a large amount of useful substances that we need to take in order for our body to function successfully and to be resistant to viruses and stress. Cuttlefish is a source of vitamins A, B5, B6, B12 and C. According to scientists, in some respects cuttlefish meat surpasses even veal and river fish meat. Consumption of cuttlefish improves metabolism and helps get rid of toxins.
The matter that cuttlefish produces has been known to mankind for centuries. For centuries, it has been used as an ink, and also as a color due to its brown color. Cuttlefish secretion is also used in cooking for dyeing rice, spaghetti and other nutritious products.
100g of fresh cuttlefish contains:
Fat: 1.4; Carbohydrates (UH): 0.8; Proteins: 14;
Unfortunately, fresh cuttlefish cannot be caught in the water basins. Such a seafood delicacy is still sold in large retail chains, where it is usually cleaned. This makes it much easier for the cooks, because they only need to be thawed and washed. If you still come across an uncleaned cuttlefish, you will have to arm yourself with patience, because its processing is not one of the easiest and fastest tasks.
To begin with, you will have to find a cuttlefish bone that is located in the body of the mollusk and looks like a tile. She pulls it out carefully, and it should come out whole. After that, the head is pulled out, while the entrails should also come out with it. The ink bag is also removed very carefully. The cuttlefish skin is also removed. For this purpose, it should be rubbed until it starts to whiten.
As soon as the wrapper begins to separate, it is completely removed and thrown away. The cleaned meat is well washed and dried. It is ready for further processing. When cleaning cuttlefish, it is good to wear gloves because the ink it produces can stain your hands
Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
Octopus is an mollusk that has a very small mouth and body, which is followed by 8 tentacles with a large number of openings on the inside. One tentacle can reach a length of up to 4 m, and the body can weigh up to 100 kg.
Divers claim that octopuses are smart, brave and not at all bloodthirsty animals. They feed mainly on crustaceans, fish and other marine animals. However, they can also be dangerous for humans, because they have a beak through which they expel poisonous mucus, which can cause serious damage to a person who comes in contact with it. It is also interesting that octopuses have as many as 3 hearts.
Octopuses crawl on the bottom or swim, but when they feel threatened, they release ink, in order to protect themselves. There are more of them in warm sea waters, so we can’t find them in the Black Sea. They have been known since ancient times, because the southern peoples ate mostly seafood. In various cultures, various drawings of octopuses have been preserved to this day on ceramic vases, clay pots, plates and various everyday objects.
If the octopus is prepared in the right way, it will give pleasure to all the senses. That is why it is a favorite dish of people around the world, especially in East Asia and the Mediterranean. Chefs in the world have different approaches in the preparation of this seafood delicacy. For example, in Greece, it is customary to kill octopuses by hitting rocks or putting them in a washing machine on a centrifuge. Also, they dry in the sun just like the laundry itself. The Greeks eat octopus when it is cooked, and it is a fantastic appetizer with ouzo.
In Spain, they prefer to soak the octopus three times in boiling water, and then cook it in a copper pot. Italian chefs cook octopus with bottle caps where there was white wine, and the Japanese cook it in salt, so they cut the meat in various ways. All methods of preparation are successful if the octopus is cooked over a low heat.
All parts of the octopus can be eaten, except the parts around the mouth, eyes and inside. It can be eaten marinated, fried, stewed or cooked. It is necessary to wash well before preparation, so that the meat peels well, because the meat will be softer when it is prepared.
Older and larger octopuses require longer heat treatment, while smaller octopuses cook much faster. Before stewing, you can marinate octopus in wine, olive oil and spices.
If you cook the octopus for about 5 minutes, the meat may be tough, but good for consumption. When cooked so much, the meat can be used for sushi or salad. In other cases, a kilogram of octopus meat needs to be cooked on a low heat for 40-50 minutes. The chefs recommend that the water be changed several times, so that the characteristic smell of the meat disappears. Octopus can serve as an addition to lettuce or appetizers.
Typical Mediterranean recipes suggest that octopus meat be generously seasoned with various spices and then stewed with red or white wine.
Vitamin B2 found in octopus meat plays an important role in maintaining the immune system and vision. It is also found in octopus meat, and equally important, vitamin B1 has the role of converting carbohydrates in the body into energy, not fat.
100 g of fresh octopus contains:
16.2% protein, 79% water, 1.9% fat, 1% carbohydrates. It is rich in sodium, calcium, iron, iodine, calcium and phosphorus, but also copper, vitamins B1 and B2, panthenoic acid, riboflavin, purines and uric acid.
Dried octopus meat contains 17% water, 76% protein and about 3% fat. The meat also contains extracts, vitamins and mineral salts.
Octopus is a seafood delicacy and can be found in specialized fish markets, as well as in larger hypermarkets. It is kept on ice cubes. You will recognize fresh octopus by its bright eyes and the smell of sea water.
When buying an octopus, ask if it is cleaned or not. In case you buy it uncleaned, you need to clean it and very carefully remove the bag with the ink liquid. The beak and eyes are also removed.
Lobster (Nephropidae or Homaridae)
Lobsters are seafood, they are highly valued for their taste around the world and there is no person who does not like them – from a fisherman who fishes it, to a chef in an elegant French restaurant, who puts lobster on a plateau, as if painting a real work of art. .
Lobsters (Nephropidae or Homaridae) belong to a higher order of crustaceans, arthropods belonging to the Pleocyemata family. As a type of cancer, lobsters have an elongated body, which can reach a size of up to 80 cm and a weight of up to 15 kg.
In Europe, the European lobster (Homarus gammarus) is popular and can be found on the beaches of Europe and in the Black Sea. This type of lobster can reach a length of up to 50 cm and a weight of up to 11 kg. It feeds mainly on smaller arthropods and mollusks and mainly hunts at night.
The American lobster (Homarus americanus) is mostly reddish-brown or greenish in color, although there are occasionally unusual colors, including blue, yellow, orange, or even white. American lobsters can be up to 3 meters long and weigh up to 40 kilograms.
Lobster is a highly valued commodity, and its number is constantly monitored. In addition, lobsters are truly unique creatures in nature, because as we humans age, lobsters have self-renewing DNA. In other words, lobsters could live forever. Unfortunately, most of them do not manage to realize that chance, because they are a frequent target of fishermen.
Telomerase is an enzyme that regenerates lobster DNA, thus providing it with a life without aging, and thus this arthropod can grow a lot. Proof of that is in the Guinness Book of Records, where it was noted that one lobster weighed 20 kilograms. Telomerase affects telomeres, which are located at the end of chromosomes and protect them from decay.
Lobsters never stop producing telomerase. Maybe that’s why they don’t show any signs of aging – they don’t lose their appetite, their metabolism doesn’t change, and also their reproductive ability doesn’t decrease. Another interesting fact from the world of lobsters – one in 2 million lobsters is born blue, and that is thanks to a rare gene.
Lobsters, like other seafood, contain a lot of useful substances. They are very rich in vitamins B3, B9 and vitamin B12. In addition, they are an excellent source of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
In 100 g of raw lobster meat there are:
Calories: 18 – 122
20.6 g of protein, 2.43 g of carbohydrates, 1.51 g of fat.
When you buy lobster in the store, there are some things you should pay attention to, so that what you buy is really high quality. First and foremost, avoid small lobsters. It is better not to buy them, because a European lobster can weigh up to 3 kg, but it mostly means that there is more to clean than there really is meat.
Choose lobsters up to 1 kg in weight. If you are buying live lobsters, then you should know that they are usually transported with tied pliers, so as not to injure themselves, and as a consequence there is atrophy of the pliers muscles. Unfortunately, after that, there is usually less meat, until the lobster is prepared.
There is always the option to buy already cleaned and even cooked lobster. The meat from the tongs and the body of the cooked lobster is very tasty, but when it is white and hard on the outside. If you want to make sure the lobster you are buying is of good quality, ask the seller to pull the meat off the beets.
It should go back and stay firm, which is a sign that the lobster was really fresh before it was cooked.
Crab ( Brachyura)
Crabs are decapod crustaceans and belong to the infraorder of Brachyura.
True crabs can be identified by their short tails and very small abdomen which is mostly hidden under the thorax.
From tiny Oyster Crabs that make their homes in live oysters to the world’s heaviest Crab, the Giant Crab, found in our southern waters, there are well over 1,000 species of Decapoda reptantia (‘ten footed crawlers’ or Crabs) worldwide.
King Crabs are the most popular variety of crabs. Soft shell crabs also have loyal following. Other crabs that are commonly found in the menu include snow crab, golden king crab, red and blue king crabs.
Crabs are found in freshwater and marine waters all over the world. They do favor the tropical and semi tropical areas though. They live in water and on land and can vary in size from a few millimeters in size like the pea crab to a few meters in size like the Japanese spider crab (4 m leg span).
Crabs range from mild sweet to a briny sea taste depending on the variety that is savored. The merus part of the legs of a crab is considered the tastiest.
Unsurprisingly, crabs can react violently to being placed directly into boiling water, so it’s considered most humane to place them in a freezer at least 2 hrs before cooking – they will become comatose and die. However, this method is only considered humane if done quickly in a large freezer at a temperature of at least -18 C.
The most common method used in restaurants is the mechanical destruction method. This involves using a knife to pierce underneath the crab’s abdominal flap. However, this should only be practiced by trained professionals. The procedure should take no more than 10 seconds, and must be carried out after the crab has been desensitised by chilling.
To cook, remove the crab from the freezer and plunge into a pan of boiling salted water. Return to the boil and cook for 30 mins/kg. Cool rapidly, then dress.
It’s essential that you remove the grey gills from the body. Called ‘dead man’s fingers’, these are very tough and indigestible.
Try serving boiled crabs with mayonnaise, or in a Mediterranean-style stew laden with garlic and tomatoes.
Crab also makes a delicious addition to linguine dishes.
Total Fat 0.7g; Cholesterol 97mg; Sodium 395mg; Potassium 259mg; Total Carbohydrates 0g.
Crabs should feel heavy, but you shouldn’t hear any liquid sloshing around inside. If you prefer white meat, buy a cock, or male, crab. If you’re buying from a fishmonger, it’s better to buy live crabs.
Shrimp are small seafood, which are a favorite of many, and at the same time this crab-like species is the most famous seafood.
The firm, translucent flesh of fresh shrimp can be of different colors depending on the species. It can be pink, gray, brown or yellow. If heat-treated, shrimp meat becomes beige, cream or pink.
There are about 300 species of shrimp in the world, and each of those 300 species has its own subspecies. King prawns are the most widespread, and tigers, which are mostly consumed in Asia, have recently become increasingly popular.
People have been consuming shrimp as food since they first appeared, and that means since it is known about them.
Shrimp are available almost all over the world. Although most countries cultivate them artificially, most of the production belongs to the United States, South and Central America, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.
Shrimp are very rich in minerals and vitamins. They contain B vitamins, they do not contain any fat, but they do contain a lot of protein. Shrimp contain large amounts of calcium, potassium, iodine and zinc. They are also rich in vitamin E.
100 g of shrimp contains:
0.3 g of fat; 18 g of protein;
Shrimp have a pair of antennae, four pairs of legs and a tail, with which they move on the seabed. The only part that is eaten is the muscular part below the tail, which remains when the head, upper body, legs and antennae are removed.
Shrimp are considered a seafood delicacy, so their price is a little higher. They can be consumed in various ways – cooked, grilled, stewed or fried. They give a richer taste to many salads, they go well with rice, soups and various light appetizers. When cooking, they require special care so as not to overcook, because their meat then becomes hard, and therefore tasteless.
When they are frozen, the shrimp do not need to be thawed much – they just need to be put in hot water. The finished shrimp float to the surface after 8-10 minutes. Frozen cooked shrimp are cooked for a maximum of 3 minutes. The most common way to consume shrimp is to cook for 5 to 7 minutes and serve with cocktail sauce.
The taste of shrimp goes well with garlic, olive oil and wine. Fried shrimps are very tasty, but care should be taken not to overcook them during preparation.
Fresh shrimps have a firm body and no traces of black spots on the shell. If you are buying fresh shrimp, it is good to know that they can only last for two days
If you plan to store shrimp in the future, it is recommended that your choice be frozen shrimp. They can be stored in the freezer for several weeks.
The smell of shrimp is a good indicator of whether the shrimp are fresh. If they are really fresh, then their mild aroma of salt water should show that.