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By Medifit Biologicals

 

OTHER SEAFOOD

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IS FISH A SEAFOOD?

Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans. Seafood prominently includes fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms.

 

IS FISH MEAT OR SEAFOOD?

The harvesting of wild seafood is usually known as fishing or hunting, and the cultivation and farming of seafood is known as aquaculture, or fish farming in the case of fish. Seafood is often distinguished from meat, although it is still animal and is excluded in a strict vegetarian diet.

 

IS IT SAFE TO EAT FISH AND OTHER SEAFOOD WHEN I’M PREGNANT?

Yes — in moderation. Seafood is an excellent source of nutrients, but it can contain contaminants (a fact that’s received a lot of alarming attention in the press recently). These chemicals include methyl mercury and, to a lesser extent, dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides. When eaten in amounts higher than those found in most commercially sold seafood, these contaminants have been linked to developmental delays in children who were exposed to them before birth.

Even so, there’s no reason to ban seafood from your diet — though it’s wise to avoid large and predatory fish (those that feed on other contaminated fish), which tend to contain the highest levels of pollutants — specifically shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish.

Experts are still haggling over the safety of tuna. Because they come from bigger fish (which have had more time to accumulate toxins in their system), tuna steaks and canned albacore tend to contain higher levels of contaminants, so it’s best to avoid tuna steaks altogether for now and to limit your consumption of albacore to no more than 6 ounces a week. Canned “light” tuna, which is generally made from smaller fish, is a safer bet. Unfortunately, light tuna also contains fewer omega-3 fatty acids, a component in fish that’s thought to be important in a developing baby’s brain. Salmon and farm-raised rainbow trout, on the other hand, are both high in omega-3s and relatively low in contaminants.

But because nearly all seafood (and indeed, all food) contains trace levels of contaminants, it’s best to vary the types of fish you eat during the course of a week so that you have only one serving of any particular kind, and no more than three servings total. Removing the skin (where many of the contaminants are stored) and cooking fish thoroughly will also reduce some of the harmful chemicals it contains.

Despite these caveats, it’s important to note that the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks. In addition to omega-3s, fish is an excellent source of other important nutrients, such as protein. So don’t swear off seafood — just eat it responsibly.

You can get all the health benefits of eating fish and minimize the risk from contaminants if you know which fish to choose. Most seafood is an excellent source of the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need now. Plus, there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that a developing baby’s brain thrives on the omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish. But certain types are off limits during pregnancy.

The reason: Environmental pollutants such as mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides are absorbed by some fish as they swim and feed in tainted waters. Animal experiments have shown that large doses of these contaminants can cause reproductive failure, birth defects, and a host of other problems. In humans, eating fish from polluted waters has been linked to miscarriage, preterm birth, and physical and developmental delays in babies who were exposed to these chemicals in the womb.

Fortunately, only some fish contain harmful amounts of pollutants. How many chemicals a fish absorbs depends on many factors, including its species and age, and how polluted the waters it lives in are. When it comes to mercury, for instance, it’s typically shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish that carry the highest concentrations, so be sure to steer clear of them completely while you’re pregnant and nursing. Tuna also contains moderately high levels of mercury, so you’ll need to limit your consumption to no more than 6 ounces of “light” tuna a week. Albacore (or “white”) tuna and tuna steaks have three times as much mercury as light tuna, so it’s probably safest to lay off those for now.

(Note: Though the Food and Drug Administration has a higher limit for safe tuna consumption — 6 ounces for albacore and tuna steaks, and 12 ounces for “light” tuna — I don’t think their recommendations go far enough. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys, nearly one in six women has a blood mercury level high enough to expose her unborn baby to unsafe amounts of mercury. This means that 630,000 babies born each year are at risk for developmental delays from mercury exposure. Though this issue is highly controversial and much still remains to be learned about it, there’s a very strong basis to support the view that mercury in fish poses a real risk to people who eat a lot of it — and to their babies.)

Salmon can also be problematic, but for different reasons than some of the other “off-limits” fish. Although it’s low in mercury (and high in brain-boosting omega-3s), some research has found that, compared to wild salmon, farmed salmon has high levels of PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants. And since there’s no reliable way to tell for sure where the salmon at your local supermarket comes from, you’ll probably want to take it off your prenatal menu for now.

If you enjoy seafood and tend to eat a lot of it (12 ounces or more a week), you can do so without much worry by choosing varieties that are relatively pollutant-free: Shrimp, scallops, flounder, sole, clams, oysters, tilapia, catfish, whitefish, sardines, crayfish, king crab, and croaker. Also vary the types of fish you eat from this list so that you have no more than one serving of any particular kind during the course of a week.

Finally, because pollution levels vary from one body of water to the next, never eat sport-caught fish without first checking your state or local health department’s “fish safety advisory” (look in the yellow pages under state or county government).You can get all the health benefits of eating fish and minimize the risk from contaminants if you know which fish to choose. Most seafood is an excellent source of the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need now. Plus, there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that a developing baby’s brain thrives on the omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish. But certain types are off limits during pregnancy.

The reason: Environmental pollutants such as mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides are absorbed by some fish as they swim and feed in tainted waters. Animal experiments have shown that large doses of these contaminants can cause reproductive failure, birth defects, and a host of other problems. In humans, eating fish from polluted waters has been linked to miscarriage, preterm birth, and physical and developmental delays in babies who were exposed to these chemicals in the womb.

Fortunately, only some fish contain harmful amounts of pollutants. How many chemicals a fish absorbs depends on many factors, including its species and age, and how polluted the waters it lives in are. When it comes to mercury, for instance, it’s typically shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish that carry the highest concentrations, so be sure to steer clear of them completely while you’re pregnant and nursing. Tuna also contains moderately high levels of mercury, so you’ll need to limit your consumption to no more than 6 ounces of “light” tuna a week. Albacore (or “white”) tuna and tuna steaks have three times as much mercury as light tuna, so it’s probably safest to lay off those for now.

(Note: Though the Food and Drug Administration has a higher limit for safe tuna consumption — 6 ounces for albacore and tuna steaks, and 12 ounces for “light” tuna — I don’t think their recommendations go far enough. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys, nearly one in six women has a blood mercury level high enough to expose her unborn baby to unsafe amounts of mercury. This means that 630,000 babies born each year are at risk for developmental delays from mercury exposure. Though this issue is highly controversial and much still remains to be learned about it, there’s a very strong basis to support the view that mercury in fish poses a real risk to people who eat a lot of it — and to their babies.)

Salmon can also be problematic, but for different reasons than some of the other “off-limits” fish. Although it’s low in mercury (and high in brain-boosting omega-3s), some research has found that, compared to wild salmon, farmed salmon has high levels of PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants. And since there’s no reliable way to tell for sure where the salmon at your local supermarket comes from, you’ll probably want to take it off your prenatal menu for now.

If you enjoy seafood and tend to eat a lot of it (12 ounces or more a week), you can do so without much worry by choosing varieties that are relatively pollutant-free: Shrimp, scallops, flounder, sole, clams, oysters, tilapia, catfish, whitefish, sardines, crayfish, king crab, and croaker. Also vary the types of fish you eat from this list so that you have no more than one serving of any particular kind during the course of a week.

Finally, because pollution levels vary from one body of water to the next, never eat sport-caught fish without first checking your state or local health department’s “fish safety advisory” (look in the yellow pages under state or county government).

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FRESH SEAFOOD

Fabulous selection of wild, organic, natural and farm raised “Still Floppin'” fresh seafoods. And yes, of course, we have Sushi quality seafood. (Also find our fish at Berkshire Coop Market-GB)

 

GOURMET & NATURAL FOODS

Extensive selection of the good and bad for you along with lots of hard to find items. Organic, natural, gourmet and specialty grocery items.

 

LIST OF SEAFOOD

  • SCALLOPS
  • SALMON
  • SNAPPER
  • SHELLFISH
  • FILETS
  • SHRIMP

 

SCALLOPS

A heap of sea scallops in their shells; Western Massachusetts-based The Other Brother Darryl’s also sells bay scallops and a wide variety of fresh and frozen fish, seafood, and shellfish at their retail store in Otis and through their fleet of refrigerated fishwagons.A delectable shellfish delicacy, the edible part of scallops constitutes the muscle of a bivalve mollusk. This naturally low-fat seafood is sweet and delicately flavorful, a true treat to the discerning palate. They are also good sources for vital vitamin B12 and the highly heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

The two primary varieties we see in Western Massachusetts and the Northeast are bay scallops, which tend to be small – about 100 per pound, and sea scallops, which are generally much larger – about 30 per pound. These two types of scallops are closely related members of the same family of shellfish. Altogether, there are several hundred different species of scallops.

Scallops are actually very easy and quick to cook, and the results are invariably delicious. Common methods for cooking them include grilling, broiling, baking, pan frying, or boiling. They can also be batter dipped and deep-fried. It is essential, however, to avoid overcooking scallops, as doing so makes them too chewy.

 

A common and very tasty finger-food appetizer is bacon-wrapped scallops. To prepare them, you partially cook the bacon first then wrap it around the scallop, securing each with a toothpick. Grill (or otherwise prepare) the scallops.

 

SALMON

Several salmon fish steaks with slices of lime waiting to be sold at Western Massachusetts’ premier fish and seafood store and wholesale operation, The Other Brother Darryl’s.Salmon is one of the world’s most popular seafood choices, as it is both delicious and highly nutritious. Salmon is high in both protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, and is a significant source of Vitamin D. Salmon is available both as “wild-caught” and “farm-raised”, and employs a significant amount of people in both the aquaculture and fishing industries. Salmon flesh is generally reddish to orange in color, although rarely white-fleshed wild-caught salmon can be found. Most Pacific salmon is wild-caught, while almost all Atlantic salmon available on the world market is farmed.

Salmon is sold either fresh, frozen, smoked, or canned. Lox, the kind of salmon you eat with bagels, is thin-sliced salmon that has been either smoked or prepared with a brine solution. At The Other Brother Darryl’s, we have all varieties of salmon available for both retail and wholesale purchase.

Salmon is tasty no matter how it is prepared. It can be baked, broiled, grilled, or stir-fried in chunks. Salmon and salmon roe are also popular sushi and sashimi choices at Japanese restaurants in Western Massachusetts and around the world.

 

SNAPPER

Two red snapper fish, their heads showing, with a couple of slices of lime, for sale at The Other Brother Darryl’s, a leading Western Massachusetts retail and wholesale vendor of fresh and frozen fish, seafood, and shellfish.Snappers constitute a family of fish found mostly in coastal tropical waters. The best known variety is red snapper, a common food fish that is exceptionally tasty. It lives solely in the Atlantic Ocean, with most of the catch coming from the Gulf of Mexico and off the Southeastern states. (Another region where this species is widely harvested is Indonesia.)

According to genetic studies, much of what is sold as red snapper is actually another species in the family, so it is wise to shop carefully for the real thing and to avoid “fish fraud.” Real red fish should have a firm texture and a sweet, nutty flavor. Although a full-grown fish can weigh as much as 35 pounds (and live up to 50 years!), whole red snappers can be found in weights as low as 2 to 5 pounds. Most common is to buy it as a filet (preferably with the skin still attached, as this helps hold in the flavor during cooking), but a whole fish can be easily grilled as well.

Red snapper can be cooked in many different ways, with some of the more popular recipes involving blackening (Cajun style, with a creole sauce), baking (such as Spanish style with peppers, or Veracruz with olives and capers), and of course grilling.

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SHELLFISH

A batch of oysters in their shells, waiting to be gobbled; The Other Brother Darryl’s in Western Mass. sells a range of shellfish including clams and mussels.Shellfish comprise a diverse group of seafood, mostly from the ocean but some from fresh water (such as crayfish). Shellfish are extremely tasty delicacies – with lobster at the top of many peoples’ charts – and just about everyone has some favorite varieties. Some of the most common edible shellfish include mussels, clams (such as quahogs and steamers), oysters, scallops, shrimp, prawn, lobster, crayfish, crabs, and even sea urchin roe.

There is a wide range of ways to enjoy shellfish. Some people are partial to raw shellfish and will delightedly swallow down oysters (a reputed aphrodisiac), mussels, or clams on the half shell. Others prefer to bake them in breading, include them in pasta sauces (such as clams), or sauté them in olive oil. Shrimp can be cooked in many different ways and combined with a huge range of ingredients – or just eaten straight with cocktail sauce. Lobster can be served boiled with butter or can be folded into a delectable sauce. Raw, sushi and sashimi preparations of shellfish are also common. Crab cakes are a popular dish, and fried calamari is a perennial favorite. Shrimp scampi… New England clam chowder… The delicious options are virtually endless.

While there is a variety of seafood available frozen, nothing can match the flavor of fresh shellfish – either raw or cooked. Shellfish should have a mildly briny aroma, not an unpleasant or ammoniated odor. Do be aware (before you go shopping) that some people have allergies which make eating shellfish perilous, and there are some religious dietary restrictions concerning their consumption.

 

FILETS

A variety of fresh fish filets – red-, white-, and pink-fleshed – for sale at The Other Brother Darryl’s Western Mass. retail location for fresh fish and seafood.Any slice or piece of de-boned fish is called a filet (also spelled fillet). Because bones pose a choking hazard as well as an obstacle for some people’s enjoyment of fish meals, filets provide an extremely easy way to prepare a wide variety of saltwater and freshwater fish.

There is a boundless assortment of types of fish filets. Some of the most common and popular fish filet varieties are sole, snapper, catfish, trout, tilapia, cod, scrod, whitefish, salmon, bass, sturgeon, haddock, halibut, tuna, flounder, mahi mahi, and swordfish.

There are numerous ways to prepare filets, including baking, broiling, grilling, and frying. One’s method of choice depends on many factors. For example, a filet can be marinated before broiling or grilling, but frying or baking permits you to cook the fish in a flavorful sauce or combine it with other elements such as vegetables. Other factors include the filets firmness and thickness – a firmer fish or thicker piece is best for grilling.

Some fish filets have stronger aromas than others, but none should have an excessive odor. The fish should smell sweet and look firm and bright. Fresh filets should be stored in the refrigerator only for a day or two before cooking. To keep them any longer, they should be frozen.

Related in the animal kingdom to lobster and shrimp, crabs are a culinary treat unto themselves. There are over 4,400 varieties of crabs in the oceans, but most of the crabs eaten in the northeast are blue crabs, either hard shell or soft shell. Alaska King Crab is also a very popular variety. Dungeness crabs are popular on the west coast.

Crabs should be cooked live, because they become spoiled and inedible quickly once they die. The common method for cooking a live crab is to toss it in boiling water for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the crab. Other methods include poaching, stewing, or steaming.

Crab meat is often served with melted butter and lemon wedges. (And eating crabs is generally a messy affair.) But there are lots of sauces and recipes to work with as well. Crab cakes, for example, are a very popular dish.

Soft shell crabs are eaten after the crab has molted its shell and before its new one starts to regrow. The Chesapeake Bay, located between Maryland and Virginia, is famous for its soft shell crab, which are eaten either grilled, sautéed, or battered and deep fried.

As with all fish and seafood, the freshness is key when it comes to crabs. They should have a mild, sea-breeze aroma.

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SHRIMP

A batch of succulent shrimp for sale at Western Massachusetts’ premier vendor of seafood, shellfish, and fresh and frozen fish – The Other Brother Darryl’s, which sells both retail and wholesale.Beloved by nearly everyone, shrimp is second only to tuna as America’s most popular seafood. Shrimp is exceptionally versatile, perfect to be eaten in a stir fry, plain with cocktail sauce, grilled or broiled, in raw form as sushi or sashimi, in spicy or plain dishes, in Mexican or Chinese cuisine, in shrimp scampi… there are thousands of ways to prepare this remarkable food.

Shrimp is a healthy food as well, with loads of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of protein, and fairly low fat quotient (though a tad high in cholesterol). The most popular shrimp in the eastern part of the USA come from the Gulf of Mexico. The primary varieties of shrimp are called brown, white, pink, and red – referring to the color of the flesh before cooking. They’re also classified by size, with 11 to 15 shrimp per pound being “jumbo,” 21 to 30 “large,” and 36 to 45 “small.”

As with all seafood, shrimp is best when fresh. The scent should be mild, not ammoniate, the color should be bright, the flesh firm. Shrimp also freezes very well – much better than most shellfish, and most shrimp is flash frozen on the boats that trawl for them.

With shrimp such a popular and tasty choice, it’s wise to buy them by the pound. Recommended serving size is roughly a third to a half a pound (shelled) per person.

 

By Medifit Biologicals

www.medifitbiologicals.com