Friday, March 5, 2010

What Are Sea Scallops?

Sea scallops are bivalve mollusks. Various members of the scallop family are found worldwide. Scallop shells are symmetrical, attractive and highly collected by sea shell enthusiasts.

Atlantic sea scallops are harvested in the Northwest Atlantic from Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They live on the ocean bottom, generally at depths from 30 to 100 meters (about 100 to 300 feet) and can live up to 20 years.

Sea scallops are popular seafood items. Prized by cooks and diners, they are considered by many to be the most appealing of the shellfish. The premium products among scallops are the largest specimens, which have a delicate flavor and tender texture. Scallops are best when fresh, but may also be frozen.

The edible portion is the adductor muscle of scallops. The muscle is larger and more developed than most shellfish because they are active swimmers. Atlantic sea scallops are the largest scallops sold in the U.S., averaging 10/40 count per pound.

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