How to Defrost Scallops

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Freezing scallops locks in their natural flavor, but before cooking these delicate mollusks, you must thaw them. Scallops come in two basic sizes based on the type. Bay and calico scallops average 60 to 90 scallops per pound. These thaw faster than larger sea scallops, which require only 20 to 40 to make a pound. Avoid getting into a hurry when defrosting scallops; when they are frozen, the water in their cells also freezes. If you thaw scallops too quickly, the cell walls maintaining the structure of the scallop will burst, creating a mushy mollusk.

How to Defrost Scallops
(Rob Harris/Demand Media)
Step 1

Fill the sink with cold water.

Rob Harris/Demand Media
Step 2

Place the scallops in a resealable plastic bag and close it.

Rob Harris/Demand Media
Step 3

Submerge the scallops in the sink for one hour or until pliable. Alternatively, arrange the frozen scallops on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave them on the low or defrost setting on your microwave in one minute increments until the scallops become pliable but are still slightly icy. Larger sea scallops or Nantucket bay scallops will take twice as long to thaw as the half-sized bay or calico scallops.

Rob Harris/Demand Media
Step 4

Refrigerate the frozen scallops for up to 12 to 24 hours before cooking.

Rob Harris/Demand Media
Step 5

Cook the defrosted scallops and do not refreeze them.

Rob Harris/Demand Media

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