Can You Freeze Abalone?

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Abalone is caught in many areas including California, Mexico, Japan and South Africa.
Abalone is caught in many areas including California, Mexico, Japan and South Africa. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Although freezing fresh abalone is possible, following certain guidelines is necessary to avoid getting yourself into a dangerous food situation. Abalone refers to a large snail that frequents warmer oceans around the world, and as is common with most seafood, food safety is always a concern. The transition from the sea to the store to your kitchen and your dinner plate provides a challenge to keep the abalone fresh and free from spoilage, but if you are up to it, you'll be in for a sweet and salty-tasting seafood treat when you're done.

How to Shuck

If you are able to get your hands on fresh abalone, you must shuck the flesh from the shell before you can prepare it. In order to remove the flesh, take a sharp knife and cut the connector muscle before prying the flesh out. Remove the dark skin from the foot portion of the shell. If you see a black coating on the meat, wash it off before proceeding. When cutting steaks, slice the abalone meat against the grain like you would beef.

Freezing Instructions

It is important that abalone remain cool after it has been taken from the ocean. When you bring fresh abalone home, you must keep it cool on the way and once you get there. Placing them in a cooler on ice while on the way home is ideal, then in a bowl covered with a wet towel in the coldest part of your refrigerator for no more than 24 hours. You can freeze fresh abalone, as long as the muscle has been cleaned and the flesh cut into steaks. Wrap steaks individually in proper freezer wrap or freezer-safe bags and store them in the freezer for no more than two months. If the abalone you buy is already frozen, use it before two months are up.

How to Thaw Quickly

You can thaw frozen abalone overnight in the refrigerator, but don't ever leave it out at room temperature to thaw. If you require a quicker thaw, leave the abalone in its water-tight wrapping from the freezer and let it sit in an ice bath for roughly 30 minutes per pound of abalone. If you need it ready even faster, try the defrost feature on your microwave. Allow two to five minutes for each pound of abalone, but check it after each minute to gauge your progress and cook it immediately after it has thawed.

Quick Cooking

Abalone is a type of seafood that benefits from quick cooking to keep it tender. To accomplish this, heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable in a frying pan set to high and season some flour with salt and pepper. After you take the abalone out of the freezer and thaw it out, dip the slices or steaks in the flour, shake any excess off and lay them in the pan. The flour step is purely optional but adds crispness and texture contrast to the abalone. Let the abalone cook for about 30 seconds per side, then remove the slices and serve.

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