Handling and Preparation


Safe Handling
  • 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.

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.
Also, please see our edibility chart to determine the taste and style of different fish, our seafood nutrition chart for health information, and to determine how much you'll need, see how much to buy?
Notice:  Various species of seafood may carry certain naturally occurring toxins or allergens such as, but not limited to ciguatera, histamine, scrombroid, vibrio, etc. that are beyond the ability of Charleston Seafood to detect and/or prevent.  Charleston Seafood with all laws of the State and Federal government regulating seafood processing but cannot be held liable for any illness or injury caused by agents, naturally occurring with-in seafood.