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How to defrost sea scallops

Updated April 08, 2017

Scallops are a delicate mollusc harvested in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The most common types of scallops are the sea scallop and bay scallop. The meat of a scallop is pearly white and has a sweet, delicate flavour free of "fishy" undertones. Scallops can be purchased fresh or frozen but must be completely thawed before cooking or the scallop will boil rather than sear. As with all seafood, the safest way to thaw a product is to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator.

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  1. Place the scallops in the refrigerator the night before their intended use. Scallops need 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. Keep the scallops in their original packaging, and place on a plate or shallow bowl or dish to collect melting ice and condensation.

  2. Gently rinse the scallops under cool running water before cooking to remove remaining ice crystals and any slime. Pat dry with a paper towel.

  3. Do not microwave the scallops as a thawing method. Microwaving the scallops will cook them even if done on a low power level for a small period of time. Scallops are delicate and require little heating. If you microwave the scallops, they will turn to rubber.

  4. Run the frozen scallops under cool water if you do not have time to thaw them for 24 hours. The only acceptable alternative to refrigerator thawing is a cold water bath. Place the scallops in a large plastic zip-close bag and seal tightly. You do not want waterlogged scallops. Place the bag in the sink under cool running water and move the scallops around. Let sit in water in a partially filled sink or bowl and replace the water every 10 minutes. Keep the scallops under the cool water until they are thawed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish
  • Plastic zip-close bag

About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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