How to Store & Care for Seafood
Browne Trading goes to great lengths to provide the best quality seafood, making it important to maintain the quality once delivered. If you are interested in more information on how we source our selections, read Fresh Fish & Fillet
Check live shellfish – such as mussels – before and after preparation and discard those that do not open after cooking.
Mussels – Mussels ship live. Healthy mussels will be slightly open– to check if they are alive, simply tap on the shell and they should slowly close. Discard mussels that broke in transit or remain open after being tapped. Store in refrigeration upon receipt, preferably in a mesh bag or bowl, covered in damp towels or paper to prevent drying out. Never place live shellfish in fresh water, ice, store in air tight plastic containers or bags. Do not eat any cooked mussels whose shells remain closed. Mussels are ideal when prepared the day of arrival, but stay fresh for 10 days.
Clams – Like mussels, clams ship live. First, discard broken or opened clams. *Steamers do not close due to the protrusion of their necks. To check their vitality, see if the siphon retracts when touched or check their odor. Store in refrigeration upon receipt, covered in damp towels or paper. Do not store in fresh water or ice. Do not store in air tight plastic containers or bags. Best when prepared the day of arrival.
Oysters – Similar to live clams and mussels, discard broken or remaining opened oysters after pressing their shells. Store in refrigeration upon receipt, covered in damp towels or paper, preferably, so they lie flat (this reduces the loss of their liquor). Like the other shellfish mentioned, never store oysters in fresh water or ice, or store them in closed, air tight plastic containers or bags. Although oysters are best when prepared the day of arrival, they will generally live up to 10 days in refrigeration.
There is a debate on soaking shellfish in salt water (often with cornmeal added) to help purge any sand inside shells. Some recommend it, but others denounce it as they believe the process can do more harm than good and will rapidly shorten the life of the shellfish. The fact is that most of the shellfish mentioned here – clams, mussels, and oysters – are farm raised and generally purged in advance, or are harvested from clean, sandy bottoms or ropes. Wild harvested clams and mussels may be the exception to the rule as many of them lie in muddier beds and are dredged to be harvested. Regardless, we recommend scrubbing live shellfish under cold running water before preparing. This removes any sand, mud, and grit that may remain after harvest.
ConclusionA final experimental tip comes from food writer Florence Fabricant. Sourced from the New York Times Seafood Cookbook (St. Martins Press, 2003), when fish has “waited an extra day to be cooked”, Fabricant suggests “sprinkling a few drops of vodka” on the fish and re-wrapping in clean paper to maintain freshness. While we cannot vouch for this tactic, it is worth a try if you are preparing seafood later than you initially planned. Using our discussed steps above will help extend freshness of your seafood – and maximize the quality of your final prepared dish. If you have any further questions about care and storage, do not hesitate to contact us! You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.