Shrimp, clams, lobster, salmon, mussels and tilapia are just some of the options you can find in your local Publix Seafood department. Whether you’re preparing for your next seafood extravaganza or just cooking dinner for your family, it is important to know how to select and cook all different types of seafood.

This blog will give you some helpful tricks and tips for selecting, cooking and storing the various types of seafood you can find in our stores.

Making the Perfect Selection

When it comes to selecting seafood, you want to make sure you’re making the freshest choice. Check out these tips when you have the oppur-tuna-ty to cook your next seafood meal.


Maine Lobster have claws, come from cold Atlantic waters, and have a sweeter, firmer flesh especially in the claw and knuckle. Spiny Lobster do not have claws and come from Caribbean and South Atlantic waters. Traditional rock lobsters from Australia and South Africa are also considered spiny lobsters. These are commonly seen when purchasing frozen lobster tails.

Other Shellfish:

Live mussels, clams, and scallops should have a fresh scent and the shells should be clean, moist, unbroken and tightly closed . If any of the shells are open, you should be able to close them by tapping the shell lightly. If they don’t close, do not consume them.

03_22_ML_Cooking Seafood_Image 2Shrimp:

Shrimp should have a firm flesh and a clean odor; they should not have a dirty or fishy smell. The flesh of the shrimp should  not be slimy as this  indicates poorer quality.


When buying fish, choose fish with firm, shiny flesh that springs back when touched. The gills should be bright red and free from any milky slime. Fish should have a mild smell, similar to seawater, but not a strong fishy odor. The eyes of the fish should be clear and have a small bulge. Frozen fish is still a great choice, as freezing retains water inside the tissues. This maximizes  flavor by preserving the juices inside of the fish when it is cooked. Frozen fish should not contain any freezer-burn spots and the flesh should be somewhat shiny.

It’s Cooking Time

Now that you have made your selection, it is time to cook! These tips will assist you in ensuring your seafood is not a total disaster.


  • When preparing mussels, scrub the shells with a stiff brush and remove the stringy fibers between the shells. To remove these fibers, hold the mussel in one hand, cover the other hand in a paper towel and grab hold of the fibers. Sharply pull toward the mussel’s hinged edge to remove them. At Publix, we have already removed the fibers to save you the time and trouble.
  • Mussels will release liquids when steamed that  boost the flavor of the  liquid they are cooked in . Avoid overcooking mussels, as the flesh will shrink and become tough.
  • When defrosting shrimp, use the fridge or cold water. For best results, thaw slowly by placing the seafood in the fridge as a quick thaw breaks down the cellular wall, affecting flavor. Defrosting in a microwave removes nutrients and moisture and should be avoided.
  • If you’re serving shrimp in hot liquid, remove the shells. However, if you are grilling the shrimp or placing it on ice, do not remove the shell.
  • If you’re cooking fish using a method involving turning (grilling or sautéing), always start with the skin side up. This will ensure that the fat and flavor is distributed throughout the fish as the heat source coming from the bottom of the fish pulls the flavor into the flesh.Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF.  If you don’t have a food thermometer, see the below ways to determine whether seafood is done.
      • Fish: The flesh becomes opaque and separate easily with a fork
      • Shrimp and lobster: The flesh becomes pearly and opaque
      • Scallops: The flesh turns opaque and firm
      • Clams, mussels, and oysters: The shells open during cooking — throw out any that don’t open


    To prevent a fishy smell in your kitchen when cooking seafood, try using a dry vermouth. Sometimes spoiled seafood can have an ammonia odor before it is cooked. This odor will become stronger after cooking.  If you smell an ammonia odor in raw or cooked seafood, do not consume it.


If you are on board with food safety, these tips for seafood storage are a huge help!

  • When storing live mussels, place them in the fridge for 1-2 days and cover them with a moist cloth.
  • Place seafood on ice or in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible. Seafood can be stored in the fridge if it will be consumed within two days of the purchase date. Otherwise, wrap it tightly in plastic, foil, or moisture-proof paper and store it in the freezer. Do not refreeze previously frozen product.

    Food Safety

    Practicing food safety  is very important when preparing thawed or fresh seafood. Use these tips to avoid cross-contamination:

    • Separate raw seafood from unpackaged, cooked seafood by placing dividers between the two or storing them in separate places in your fridge
    • After handling any raw seafood, wash your hands with soap and warm water.
    • Between the preparation of cooked and raw seafood, wash any utensils, cutting boards, dishes and countertops with soap and hot water.


Do you have any tips or tricks that you use when selecting, preparing, cooking, or storing seafood? Share them with us in the comments below!

Matt L.

Written by

Matt L. started with Publix in 2010 and has bled green ever since. He loves the company culture and especially appreciates the opportunity to help customers each and every day. An avid reader, Matt most enjoys learning something new himself when he sets out to write a new blog post for The Checkout. Outside of work, you can find Matt playing video games, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and hanging out with his cat – who is basically his spirit animal.

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