Scallops are a soft and fleshy seafood that yield a mildly sweet flavor and enjoy the repute of a gourmet food. Scallops also provide a number of different nutrients that can promote cardiovascular health and provide protection against colon cancer. Scallops can be of different types ranging from sea scallops and bay scallops to calico scallops. Some scallop nutrition benefits can be summarized below.
Scallops nutrition benefits regarding heart health rest on their excellent supplies of vitamin B12. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is required by the body to regulate chemicals that may otherwise elevate the risk for cardiovascular disease, blood clotting abnormalities, and a hardening of arteries. B12 is derived almost exclusively from animal food sources like meat and seafood. Nutritionally, scallops are also a respectable source of important minerals like potassium and magnesium that can also promote better heart health. This is because potassium helps maintain lower blood pressure while magnesium causes blood vessels to relax encouraging blood flow in them.
Scallops are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health.
Scallops nutrition benefits also extend to include protection against cancer. Once again, vitamin B12 has a role to play since it has been studied to offer protection against colon cancer. B12 is instrumental in preventing colon cell mutations from various cancer-causing chemicals.
Healthy nerve functioning
The vitamin B 12 content in scallops is also beneficial for optimal nerve function. It is especially important for maintaining healthy nerve cells and helps in the production of the body’s genetic material such as DNA and RNA.
Scallops nutrition facts
The value of scallops is considered healthiest when prepared broiled or baked but not fried. As seen previously, scallops provide very good supplies of vitamin B12 but can also yield phosphorus, selenium, choline, zinc as well as protein. While they are quite low in fat, their cholesterol and sodium content can be fairly high.
Sea scallops nutrition will somewhat depend on their size since that can vary quite a bit. For instance, some of the smaller scallops may only weigh a quarter of an ounce while larger ones can weigh up to one ounce. For the most part, sea scallops are the largest types of bay scallops being smaller and less chewy. In addition scallops information may also vary based on the type of scallop.
Typically, a 3.5 ounce serving of scallops can yield about 70 to 100 calories. Of these, each serving can deliver 16-23 grams of protein and 30-50 mg of cholesterol along with 160-260mg of sodium.
In terms of vitamins and minerals scallops figures reveal about 17 % of daily iron requirement and 12% calcium requirement from one serving of scallops.
How to purchase and choose scallops
Just as with any other type of seafood, scallops are best bought from a store that specializes in supplying good quality seafood. Do keep in mind that scallops are an extremely perishable food item. This means that they are often shelled, washed and frozen or packed in ice as soon as they are caught. Scallops information remains the same regardless of whether they are fresh or frozen.
To make sure that the scallops you by are fresh, look for scallops that have firm, white flesh with no visible signs of browning. Fresh scallops can be frozen once bought but should be cooked before freezing. When buying frozen scallops, they should be solid and shiny and free of any frost in the packaging.
Another indicator regarding the freshness of scallops is the smell. While fresh scallops are easily identifiable by being either odorless or having a mildly sweet scent, others that are not fresh will emit a slightly “off” smell. However, it is not always possible to detect this bad smell in the case of frozen scallops. To prevent purchasing scallops that are not fresh, opt for displayed scallops rather than those that come prepacked.
How to store scallops
When storing fresh scallops, it is important to keep them cold since they are highly sensitive to temperature. Put scallops in the refrigerator after purchasing and use them as soon as possible. Since refrigerator temperature is slightly warmer than ideal for scallops it is recommended to store them in a plastic bag or dish filled with ice. If you plan on using them at the end of the day then replenish the ice a couple of times. The best bet, however, is to use them as soon as possible.
The shelf life of scallops mat is extended by freezing them and then thawing them in the refrigerator before use.
How to prepare scallops
The use of scallops in dishes is not restricted to one particular cuisine but their versatility is enjoyed by people all over the world. Like many other types of similar seafood, scallops should only be cooked for a couple of minutes since they can easily become tough and fibrous when exposed to too much heat or for too long. Ideal cooking methods include broiling, grilling, sautéing or baking scallops rather than frying. Scallops information may alter somewhat based on the type of fat used in the cooking process.
This is because they are made of lean protein, and need quick, careful cooking to preserve perfect texture. As the scallop cooks, the protein in its flesh takes on an opaque color and indicates that the scallops are done.
Scallops can be enjoyed on their own with a sauce or dip or may be accompanied with rich, creamy sauces. When enjoyed in a simple meal scallops results in low calories and healthy nutrients but when paired with heavy sauces, the caloric count can add up.
Sea scallops being the bigger variety, are often served seared while bay scallops are usually used in soups, stews and salads. Enjoy scallops as a substitute for shrimp or crab in dishes, skewer with fresh vegetables on the grill or have grilled scallops served on a bed of mixed greens.
Images used under creative commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image One by – Arnold Gaitialo – https://www.flickr.com/photos/arndog/2564154573/
Image Two by Jeremy Keith – https://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/8517593842/
Image Three by Tom Thai – https://www.flickr.com/photos/eviltomthai/5153123072/