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frozen squid

  • c

I've seen one- to two-pound bags of sliced, frozen squid everywhere from Chinatown shops to Whole Foods. I'm thinking they'd be a great thing to keep around in my freezer, but I'm wondering about the quality of the thawed product, since frozen shrimp, e.g., can vary so dramatically, from perfectly good to mushy and waterlogged when defrosted. Any experience with these? I'm kind of assuming they'd be better for long-stewed dishes than quick sautes.

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  1. I have several bags of assorted frozen seafood (which includes squid) in my freezer. I get mine at Korean grocery stores.

    They're great to throw in quick soups, I've had nothing but good experiences with the quality

    1. Hi Caitlin, My dad, who was the cook in my family, used to say that frozen squid was bait, and fresh was food. Mostly, I agree. But frozen food now, and frozen food then differ greatly in quality, I think. I agree about using the frozen mainly for stewed dishes. I make a squid dish that calls for cooking the squid no more than two minutes, but when I use the frozen I cook it much, much longer. And it turns out just fine.

      1. Almost all squid is frozen (same w/ shrimp). When you buy it at the grocer or fish market, it is defrosted. As a rule, in order for squid/calamari to not turn VERY rubbery, you need to either cook it very fast (2 minutes) like in a quick saute, OR VERY long, as in a type of stew, for 30 minutes +.
        Frozen squid is a wonderful item to keep in your freezer.

        4 Replies
        1. re: orla

          Untrue about frozen products. If you have a good fish monger, you'll be able to get squid and shrimp available fresh, not frozen, when the market allows in your area.

          1. re: JBG

            I think the Monterey squid season is two or three months a year. Hard to find fresh squid. They catch them in such quantities almost all commercial squid is frozen.

            1. re: JBG

              I did not say ALL! But, truly, most seafood is frozen at sea. When fish is served at restaurants and it is called "fresh off the boat" that is great, but how long was the boat at sea? 2 weeks? A month? Or was it a "day boat?"
              Was the live lobster you bought at the market caught out in the open ocean or was it caught last month and held in a lobster pound the rest of the time?
              MOST squid and shrimp are frozen!

              1. re: orla
                c
                Caitlin McGrath

                It's true that most is frozen and that the "fresh" shrimp one buys at the market are flash frozen and thawed. I asked about the frozen squid one buys in markets because it is different than what you buy at the fish counter, even if that was flash frozen and thawed; it has been repackaged and transported and stored with other frozen foods, and this can really affect the quality of, e.g., frozen shrimp one can buy in bags. I'm happy to hear that people have had good experiences with buying and using frozen squid, and plan to try it myself soon.

          2. I get my frozen squid at Trader Joe's - comes in a bag all cleaned and cut into rings. I just defrost them and use them in ANY recipe. They're terrific and much easier than starting from scratch and having to clean the whole squid. Only problem - no tentacles!! Kind of makes life less interesting.

            1. Haven't used the frozen cleaned rings, but whole squid freezes and defrosts very nicely. I've used it in long-cooked dishes (one favorite: a stew with potato, tomato and lots of garlic and olive oil) and quick ones (e.g. Southeast Asian or Latin American salads). Both have turned out fine. I might track down fresh squid if I were serving it raw, as in sushi, but I'm not in the habit of making that at home.

              Frozen squid is a good deal, by the way. In San Francisco Asian groceries a three-pound box costs around three bucks. You'll find it for less, as you'd expect, at Asian supermarkets like 99 Ranch.