How to Clean Octopus for Cooking

Written by audra dean
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How to Clean Octopus for Cooking
For octopus lovers, lengthly preparation is no hassle. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Octopus is a delicacy that many enjoy, but few dare to prepare in their own home. Cooking an octopus may seem intimidating, especially when purchasing a whole octopus that has not yet been cleaned. Most fish markets or butcher shops will pre-clean the octopus they sell, but if you happen to purchase an unprepared octopus, don't worry. Cleaning an octopus may not be the simplest of tasks, but it can be done with a little focus and concentration.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Octopus
  • Chopping board
  • Sink
  • Kitchen shears
  • Apron (optional)

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  1. 1

    Rinse the octopus thoroughly in the sink to remove any sand or dirt.

  2. 2

    Hold the octopus over the sink and turn it upside down. The beak of the octopus is located in the mouth, which can be found at the centre point of the tentacles.

  3. 3

    Push the beak through the mouth by placing your thumbs on either side and applying firm pressure. Discard the beak.

  4. 4

    Lay the octopus on a chopping board and cut out the eyes with a pair of kitchen shears. Discard the eyes.

  5. 5

    Hold the octopus over the sink once again and turn the head inside out. You can do this by pushing the head through the mouth. Ink and innards may spill out.

  6. 6

    Rinse the inside of the octopus head under warm water for a few minutes.

  7. 7

    Pull away the entrails, stomach sac and ink sac. Make sure to remove any plastic-like bones.

  8. 8

    Trim away any connecting tissue with your kitchen shears.

  9. 9

    Discard all of the parts that you removed.

  10. 10

    Rinse the octopus one more time to remove loose tissue.

  11. 11

    Turn the octopus right-side out.

  12. 12

    Rinse eye sockets and tentacles well. Make sure to take extra care when cleaning the suckers.

Tips and warnings

  • A smaller octopus can be cooked without any extensive cleaning. They can be rinsed, tenderised and cooked whole.
  • Octopus ink stains, so it would be prudent to stay near a sink and wear an apron to avoid staining clothes and household items when cleaning octopus.

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