Shellfish Advice

Seafood Storage

* Store fresh seafood in the coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the lowest shelf at the back or in the meat keeper).

* Don't suffocate live lobsters, oysters, clams or mussels by sealing them in a plastic bag. They need to breathe, so store them covered with a clean damp cloth. Before cooking, check that lobsters are still moving. Make sure clams and mussels are still alive by tapping open shells. Discard any that do not close.

* Marinades or rubs add great flavor. Marinate seafood under refrigeration. Discard used marinade since it contains raw fish juices. Serve cooked seafood on a clean platter.

* Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to prevent bacterial cross-contamination. After handling raw seafood, thoroughly wash knives, cutting surfaces, sponges and your hands with hot soapy water. See also Seafood Storage Guide, and Storing Lobsters.

Seafood Handling Tips

* Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave oven following the manufacturer's guidelines. Never thaw seafood on the counter at room temperature.

* Allow one day to defrost frozen seafood in the refrigerator. If pressed for time, place the seafood in a re-sealable --plastic storage bag and immerse it in a pan of cold water in the refrigerator for one to two hours per pound of seafood. A similar technique is to put the original pack age in a plastic bag, place it in a pan and run cold water on it in the sink until thawed. If defrosting in the microwave follow manufacturer's directions and use immediately.

* Always wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before and after handling raw seafood or other raw protein foods.

* Unless thoroughly iced, don't leave seafood, raw or cooked, out of the refrigerator.

* Before cooking, rinse seafood under cold water to remove surface bacteria.

* Always marinate fish and shellfish in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Discard the marinade after use.

* Make sure that juices from raw seafood don't drip onto cooked foods; this leads to cross-contamination.

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