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Scallops, cherished for their tender bite and subtle sweetness, have secured a prominent place in culinary circles, gracing dishes such as seared scallops with pea purée or scallops with basil risotto in upscale restaurants and home kitchens alike. Their rich yet delicate flavor, often described as buttery and succulent, positions them as a premium choice in the seafood sector. In this analysis, we delve into the diverse world of frozen scallops, with each product promising to add a touch of luxury to recipes.
Our evaluation is based on several concrete aspects including geographical origins, whether the scallops were harvested from the cold waters of the North Atlantic or the vibrant ecosystems of the Peruvian bays. We take a look into preservation methods, scrutinizing the differences between dry-packed and wet-packed scallops, and how they influence taste and quality. Attention is also given to the size, specifically focusing on the number of units per pound as an indicator of the average size per piece. Customer reviews also provide firsthand insights into various factors like taste, texture, and value for money. Throughout this process, we maintain a keen awareness of the sustainability practices adopted by brands, aligning with the global emphasis on responsible consumption.
Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of Canned Salmon Brands
Sam's Choice Frozen Wild Caught Sea Scallops
Sam's Choice Frozen Wild Caught Sea Scallops find themselves at the bottom of our ranking, despite being caught in the USA and bearing the MSC logo, indicating a level of adherence to sustainable fishing practices. According to the product details, these scallops are aimed at providing an easy-to-prepare and fulfilling meal, boasting 15 grams of protein per serving.
However, Walmart customer reviews signal a significant disparity between expectation and reality. A distressing pattern emerges from customer feedback. There are repeated instances of an unsatisfactory product characterized by a potent fishy odor during cooking, which could be a sign of possible spoilage or inferior quality. "They were TERRIBLE!! [...] The smell of stinky fish was so bad, instantly knew something was wrong with them and hat to throw then away," said one customer. Furthermore, the texture seems compromised, being described as mushy, which detracts from the expected firm yet tender texture synonymous with fresh scallops.
Good & Gather Wild Caught Sea Scallops
In the competitive market of frozen scallops, Target's Good & Gather Wild Caught Sea Scallops, wrestles with issues that position it near the bottom of our rankings. Although the brand promotes sustainability with its Non-GMO Project Verification mark, it fails to offer detailed insights into its sourcing and production methods. This creates confusion, as the packaging inconsistently states the product as both wild-caught and farmed. Moreover, the product's origin is unclear; it is labeled "Made in the USA" yet also features an "Imported" tag, further muddling its actual source.
Another thing that lands these frozen scallops towards the bottom of the list is the varying sizes within each bag. One Target customer noted, "There were probably 30ish scallops of various sizes. There were scrap pieces I assume added to make the 16oz weight. A number of them had the muscle still attached." These inconsistencies not only complicate portioning but also raise questions about the brand's quality assurance standards.
Graham & Rollins Jumbo Sea Scallops
Ranked slightly higher, Graham & Rollins portrays its jumbo sea scallops as fresh catches from the Atlantic, promising a high-protein, low-fat seafood experience with minimal shrinkage upon cooking. However, some customers have shared feedback that points to inconsistencies in the quality of the scallops in the packaging. Although the brand emphasizes the substantial size of its scallops, categorizing them as "U-10" to indicate approximately 10 scallops per pound, it seems they do not always come in whole individual pieces.
Among the feedback, a customer shared a mixed experience with the product, noting, "Very disappointed. Less than half of the order was usable. The rest consisted of only pieces of scallops." This can be a significant issue, especially for those who prefer grilling, a method that necessitates whole, undamaged scallops for optimal results.
The issue of scallops being frozen together also posed a challenge for those who wish to use only a portion and save the rest for later. Another customer said, "...all of them were frozen together so [I] had [to] defrost all of theme even though [I] did not want to cook all of them at [the] same time."
Bowl & Basket Specialty Wild Caught Jumbo Sea Scallops
A step up on our list is the Bowl & Basket Specialty Wild Caught Jumbo Sea Scallops, a prominent offering from the ShopRite brand lineup. These scallops distinguish themselves by featuring the species Placopecten Magellanicus, a variety endemic to North America, which have a tender and meaty texture.
In a marketplace where sustainability is not just a preference but a demand, the MSC certification held by this product cannot be understated. This certification echoes the brand's commitment to preserving marine ecosystems, thereby appealing to those who prioritize environmental responsibility.
The scallops are on the larger size, with 10 to 20 per pound. However, the price is slightly higher than others for the same number, landing this one a little lower on the list.
Sea Best Bay Scallops
Next, Sea Best Bay Scallops are touted as ready to cook and naturally low in fat. The brand employs an individual quick freezing technique that aims to preserve the freshness and quality of each piece. Bay scallops occupy a niche in the seafood market, revered for their sweet, mild flavor and tender flesh. These scallops, considerably smaller than their sea scallop counterparts, primarily inhabit the shallow waters of bays and estuaries. Customers have been pleased with the flavor, commenting, "Wow, are these every good! Full of flavor and fresh like they just came in off the boat."
Nevertheless, upon navigating through customer reviews on Amazon, we found many comments regarding the size of the scallops being much smaller than anticipated, which diminished their presence in dishes. One customer noted, "These were tiny and easy to lose in a dish." Another reviewer said, "They were good. Just smaller than expected." With mixed reviews, these frozen scallops fall a little lower in our ranking.
Waterfront Bistro Peruvian Scallops
Waterfront Bistro presents its Peruvian scallops, harvested from the tranquil waters of Sechura Bay in Peru. The ingredients list classifies them as Argopecten Purpuratus, a species known for its sweet and tender flesh. Interestingly, the product is labeled as both diver-caught and farm-raised, a combination of terms that might seem contradictory as they refer to different harvesting methods. This dual terminology may hint at a multifaceted approach to sustainability, although it could benefit from further clarification. The product is available in a 16-ounce package, with20 to 30 scallops per pound.
Albertsons customer reviews seem to be a mixed bag. A section of consumers recommend the product for its reasonable pricing and good taste. Contrarily, a notable number of reviews have highlighted a concern regarding shrinkage during cooking. Although a certain degree of shrinkage is expected as scallops lose moisture while being cooked, a prominent mention of this in customer reviews might point to an issue that goes beyond the norm, hinting at a product that contains a higher than average water content.
Open Nature Wild Colossal North Atlantic Sea Scallops
Navigating further up the ladder, we arrive at the Open Nature Wild Colossal North Atlantic Sea Scallops. Like the previous contender, this product offers the Placopecten Magellanicus species, native to the North Atlantic waters and proudly bearing the "Product of USA" tag. The packaging boasts a clean ingredient list (only scallops), free of preservatives, and is adorned with Responsible Choice and MSC Certified logos, accentuating the brand's dedication to environmentally sound practices. These scallops are also more of a "colossal" size with about 15 per pound.
One enthused Albertsons customer likened their flavor to the renowned sweetness often dubbed as "ocean candy," a nod to their natural sweetness. Open Nature's commitment to preserving the natural flavor profile of the scallops appears to be a successful strategy in garnering customer satisfaction. However, a more critical review pointed out a potential issue with size inconsistency within the same package, posing challenges in portioning servings.
Kirkland Signature Wild Caught Sea Scallops
Kirkland Signature Wild Caught Raw Sea Scallops is a premium offering that has firmly established itself within the seafood market, particularly for consumers frequenting Costco. Harvested from the North Atlantic waters, these scallops undergo an inspection process by the US Department of Commerce before being bestowed with the coveted "US Grade A" mark. This classification is indicative of stringent standards pertaining to size, uniformity, and freshness, promising scallops that are a cut above the rest.
The 2-pound resealable bag provides convenience, allowing consumers to use them in portions. With a specified count of 15 to 20 scallops per pound, this product offers pieces that are reasonably sized, akin to what one might expect when dining at a restaurant.
These scallops have been praised for their taste, with one happy customer commenting, "These are so yummy." The outstanding quality and value have positioned them to be a total steal for seafood fans.
Yelloh! Signature All-Natural Sea Scallops
Transitioning to Yelloh! Signature All-Natural Sea Scallops, we find a product that maintains a strong adherence to sustainable sourcing and quality. Although it retains familiar merits such as being a product of the USA, a single-ingredient list, and MSC certification, it introduces a few distinct attributes to the market. Notably, the product bears the LiveSmart label, guaranteeing the absence of artificial additives and preservatives. The brand also emphasizes consistency in size and texture among the scallops, aiming to deliver uniformity in each serving. A notable feature is that it can be prepared and ready to serve within six minutes from a thawed state.
Loyal Yelloh customers vouch for the consistent quality and taste with an average 4.6-star rating, deeming the scallops a mainstay in their seafood selections, even with a slightly higher price tag. One reviewer said, "...although they are expensive, the quality and taste are always great."
Maine Lobster Now Jumbo Sea Scallops
Securing a higher spot in this list is Maine Lobster Now's Jumbo Sea Scallops, boldly claiming a niche in the premium market segment. Distinctly, these are "diver" scallops, hand-harvested by divers in a sustainable manner that is more selective compared to dredging, a method that entails using a net dragged along the seafloor, often causing environmental disruption and yielding a mixed-quality catch. Sourced from Georges Bank, they bear a U-10 tag, indicating a count of 10 or fewer jumbo scallops per pound. Notably, these scallops are processed without chemicals and flash-frozen, a technique favored for its ability to prevent the formation of large ice crystals that can damage the cellular structure of the scallops.
When it comes to Maine Lobster Now's customer reviews, these scallops are quite a hit, often praised for their substantial size and quality that rivals what you'd find in restaurants. One happy customer noted, "...better than any restaurant! Definitely great value for the money," and another commented, "Absolutely loved them! Very fresh and yummy!"
Riviera Seafood Club Wild-Caught Japanese Sea Scallops
Taking their esteemed place in the premium segment of the seafood market are the Wild-Caught Japanese Sea Scallops offered by Riviera Seafood Club. Scientifically designated as Patinopecten yessoensis, these scallops are responsibly sourced from the waters of Hokkaido, Japan. The distinct deep flavor, referred to as Hotate in Japanese, presents a delightful dichotomy: a delicate, soft texture when consumed raw, and a firm consistency when cooked. Riviera's commitment to sustainability is underscored by the Marine Stewardship Council's accreditation.
Riviera Seafood's customers have widely lauded the freshness and sweetness of these scallops, with some asserting that they rival or even surpass the quality found in reputable sushi bars. Their versatility is showcased through various preparations, ranging from sashimi adorned with a hint of wasabi and soy, to more robust meals accompanied by rice, seaweed, and spicy mayo.
North Coast Naked Wild North Atlantic Sea Scallops
Securing the No. 2 spot on our list is North Coast Naked Wild North Atlantic Sea Scallops, which offers an experience that seems to redefine the expectations of scallop enthusiasts. This product comes vacuum-sealed in a 12-ounce bag, promising freshness by freezing the scallops at sea within minutes of their catch. Depending on your preference, you can opt for either large (20 to 30 per pound) or jumbo (10 to 20 per pound) sizes, both sizes maintaining the integrity of the "dry" scallop classification. They are recognized with the MSC Certified Sustainable label.
Feedback from North Coast consumers accentuates the fresh and clean taste of the scallops, seemingly converting many to become new scallop enthusiasts. One person new to the seafood said, "I didn't think I was a fan of scallops until I tried these. [...] They have a delicious, clean, almost sweet taste." Another reviewed commented, "These scallops are wonderful. [...] All are equal in size and delicious."
365 Wild Caught Sea Scallops
Leading our list is the 365 by Whole Foods Wild Caught Sea Scallops, delivering top-of-the-line seafood right to your dining table. With 10 to 20 scallops per pound, customers can anticipate a substantial serving size. The product maintains simplicity with its ingredient list, featuring only "scallops," which implies a product free of preservatives or additives. Furthermore, it is MSC certified and comes packaged in a 24-ounce resealable bag.
Amazon reviews consistently emphasize the superior flavor and texture of these scallops. Some regard them as a luxury, suitable for special occasions or celebratory meals. The significant size of the scallops appears to be a notable factor in their tenderness, an aspect that many reviewers appreciated. Additionally, consumers praise the product's value for money. The scallops have garnered descriptions such as "plump" and "sweet", with several reviews mentioning that their taste rivals that of fresh scallops. One happy customer commented, "I am kind of a food snob but was pleasantly surprised to find these scallops to be sweet and tender."
Read the original article on Daily Meal.