Different Types of Shellfish

There are Different Types of Shellfish; if shellfish is in your vocabulary, you are in the right place; shellfish is a top item on the grocery list for the seafood lover. But if you are a true shellfish fan, you should know all the different types of shellfish.

Shellfish take center stage in tons of delectable meals across different cuisines, but that’s not all; shellfish are delicious and offer numerous health benefits. Shellfish are packed with healthy fats, protein, and nutrients such as vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. All in all, shellfish helps promote a healthy heart, immune system, and brain.

There are many different ways you can enjoy shellfish, and different shellfish types are why we’ll be covering all the different varieties and how to keep them stored so you can get the most out of your shellfish at home.

Types of Shellfish

Though it may sound like a specific kind of fish, shellfish actually means an extensive variety known as spineless invertebrates. These are distinguished for having their skeleton in the exterior of their bodies.
Thanks to their tender texture and fantastic taste, shellfish have been enjoyed for ages worldwide.

They are found in both saltwater and freshwater. These can be categorized into two main kinds, crustaceans and mollusks.

Check out nine different types of shellfish; you’ve probably eaten more than one.



Types of Shellfish

These are widely regarded as a pricey seafood item and perhaps the most succulent. You’ll find the meat in its claws, legs, and claws. Pair your lobster either warm or chilled with butter for a happy feast.
Lobsters are also considered the most popular type of shellfish; lobsters shed their shells numerous times at the beginning of their life, but it decreases dramatically as they get older. Lobsters are believed to live longer than humans and may weigh up to 40 lbs.

Crayfish or Crawfish

Types of Shellfish

This freshwater fish looks like a lobster, only smaller and with much less meat to eat. These grow up to 6 inches in length and are green, dark brown, or sandy shade. They have bulging eyes, big tongs as front legs, and a sharp snout. Crawfish eat smaller fish, tadpoles, snails, and plants.
These are consumed all over but are a big part of Scandinavian, Australian, French, and US cuisines. There are a few different recipes with crawfish, including crawfish pie, crawfish dressing, or crawfish pie.


Types of Shellfish

Shrimp, also known as prawns, are another type of shellfish with a strong shell; like lobsters, shrimps also shed their shell as they grow. Though shrimps have numerous legs, these do not crawl like other crustaceans; instead, they swim using their legs and tail.
Shrimp make a trendy dish; these can be enjoyed in tons of different recipes such as shrimp scampi, garlic butter shrimp, grilled shrimp, prawn cocktail, and hundreds more.


Types of Shellfish

The crab is another crustacean that sheds its shell and has ten legs. Characterized for their scissors-like front pincers, these are used in various dishes, including sushi. Crab can be roasted, grilled, steamed, or boiled; its meat is delicious when paired with creamy sauces.



Types of Shellfish

Oysters are members of the bivalve mollusks family hailing from the Atlantic side; for that reason, oysters found in the US are most likely from cultivated grounds.
Oysters offer a tender body under their sturdy shells; they have a gooey texture and are commonly served cold while still in their shell with butter, salt and lemon. These offer fantastic nutrition as they hold iron, calcium, and vitamin A and B12.


Types of Shellfish

Clams are composed of two shells with two separate parts; they grow as big as 1.2 meters long and are mostly found in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Clams make flavorful meals, including clam fritters, clam dip, and the world-famous clam chowder. These can be baked, steamed, boiled, and even be consumed in their raw state.


Types of Shellfish

If you are a seafood lover, then you must have tried octopus by now. Though it may have a scary and ugly shape, octopus is actually heavily consumed worldwide. It is used in pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, soups, etc.; its tentacles are eaten raw, offering a mild flavor and juicy texture. It is also very nutritious, offering a high content of vitamin B12.


Types of Shellfish

Squids are part of the cephalopod mollusk group. It is characterized for using a kind of black ink as protection in its natural state. Squid offers a leathery texture and buttery flavor. You’ve probably had calamari as an appetizer more times than you know. It is common to enjoy it with lemon and tartar sauce or as an addition to salads and pasta meals. In some countries, it is consumed raw.


Types of Shellfish

Have you heard of escargot before? It is a well-known snail dish. Snails are part of the gastropod mollusk family. It is famous in many countries, including Turkey, China, Nigeria, Algeria, France, and the US.
Snails which are a great source of iron and protein, are also commonly utilized in sauces and pasta dishes.

How To Keep Shellfish Fresh?

Like all fresh proteins, all shellfish belong inside your refrigerator.

Fresh shellfish must be kept in an open container in the fridge. It would help if you didn’t store it in water since it will expire.
To keep your shellfish fresh, follow the steps:

  1. Transfer your shellfish to an open container
  2. To retain humidity, place a damp towel on top to
  3. Set bowl in the second bowl filled with ice

How To Store Shellfish So It Stays Fresh For Longer

Storage times depend on the shellfish type. Those that close their shells completely can be kept for up to a week. Examples include oysters, littlenecks, butter clams, and cockles.
Shellfish that cannot completely close their shells can be stored for three to four days. This includes horse clams, mussels, soft shell clams, geoducks, and razor clams.

  • Shellfish outside their shells should be stored in a refrigerator for up to three days.
  • If you have leftover cooked shellfish, this should be in good shape for a couple of days inside the fridge.
  • Live lobsters and crabs should be cooked the day they are purchased. Refrigerate in loose Ziploc bags or in a bowl, covered with wet paper towels to keep them moist.

Can You Freeze Shellfish?

Shellfish can absolutely be kept frozen. If you have leftover cooked shellfish, this should be in good shape for up to three months in the freezer.

  • Shellfish outside their shells should be stored in a freezer for up to three months.
  • Shucked shellfish can be placed in a sealed container and frozen for months.

What To Do With Shellfish Before They Go Bad?

Shellfish are highly perishable, so you need to watch for contaminated shellfish; common signs include presenting a tainted odor or taste. So even if you’ve had it in the fridge, keep an eye out for any spoilage signs and discard it immediately to avoid food poisoning.

But before your shellfish goes to waste, there are tons of perfectly delicious recipes you can use your shellfish for, check out some of our favorite shellfish recipes below.

How to Keep Fish Fresh while Fishing?

Keeping fish fresh while fishing requires proper handling and storage techniques from when the fish is caught. The first step is to ensure the fish is dead before storing it.

Once it is dead, please remove it from the water and clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt or bacteria.

Next, store the fish on ice to prevent harmful bacteria’s growth and maintain its freshness. Ensure the fish is completely covered in ice, and keep it in a cooler with plenty of ice packs or blocks. It is also important to keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and to replenish the ice as needed.

Finally, if possible, fillet the fish once it is caught to ensure it maintains its freshness for as long as possible. By following these steps, you can ensure that your fish stays fresh and safe to eat, even after a long day of fishing.

Final Thoughts on The Different Types Of Shellfish

In conclusion, the world of shellfish is a diverse and exciting one, with a wide range of flavors and textures to explore.

From the sweet and succulent lobster meat to the briny flavor of oysters and mussels, and shrimp, shellfish can add a unique and delicious element to any meal.

Whether you’re a seafood lover or just looking to add some variety to your usual menu, it’s worth exploring the different types of shellfish available to find your new favorite.

With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste buds and create a memorable dining experience.

So next time you’re at the seafood counter, don’t be afraid to try something new and discover the world of shellfish.


Photo of author
My name is Anna Boiardi, and I am a housewife and self-taught home chef. I am passionate about exploring new ingredients and experimenting with recipes in my kitchen. I created an online platform, thenextingredient.com, to share my love of food and help others enhance their culinary skills.
Photo of author
My name is Anna Boiardi, and I am a housewife and self-taught home chef. I am passionate about exploring new ingredients and experimenting with recipes in my kitchen. I created an online platform, thenextingredient.com, to share my love of food and help others enhance their culinary skills.