What Is A Scallop? Different Types Of Scallop

Seafood lovers must be wondering what is a scallop. The list of food items on a seafood menu card is vast! This includes fish, crabs, lobsters, oysters, and more. Mostly Spanish people love eating scallops with pasta. In today’s post, I will give a brief description of what is a scallop. Here, I will tell you everything about scallops including how to cook and store them. Make sure you check out the different types of scallops available in the market. We have even included a few recipes that use scallops in the end. Without wasting one more minute, let us check out what is a scallop in detail.

What Is A Scallop?

Scallops are popular seafood and a type of bivalve mollusk. They belong to the Pectinidae family. Scallops are closely related to clams, mussels, and oysters. So, what does scallop seafood look like? Scallops are either a pale pink or light beige in color with a soft texture. 

Here, have a look at the basic facts about scallops.

  • Scientific Name: Pectinidae
  • Common Name: Scallop, Escallop, Fan Shell, or Comb Shell
  • Animal Group: Invertebrate
  • Size: About 1 to 6-inch valves
  • Weight: Vary depending on the type
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Habitat: Shallow marine habitats around the world
  • Conservation Status: Vary depending on the type

You can keep on reading to know more about what is a scallop made of and its types.

Different Types Of Scallops

Scallops’ interior muscles are surrounded by two shells just like oysters. Inside this shell, there is a white adductor muscle that opens and closes the shell. This is the part we eat!

Let’s now study the different types of scallops. First, check out what is a bay scallop.

  • Bay Scallops

This type of scallops is most commonly found on the Eastern seaboard in shallow, warm water. Usually, bay scallops are cheaper as they are easy to catch and are just plain smaller in size. The lifecycle of bay scallops is very short which means they mature quickly.

Keep on reading to know what is a sea scallop.

  • Sea Scallops

Another type of scallops is sea scallops. These scallops widely live in colder water on the floor of the dark ocean. Sea scallops are very hard to catch as they are larger in size. Due to this, sea scallops are more expensive compared to bay scallops.

However, both bay and sea scallops are easily available at local grocery stores or seafood counters. You can keep on reading to know what do scallops eat and other factors.

Other Factors About Scallop To Consider

Above, we have studied what is a scallop in detail. Here, I have included some additional facts about scallops you must be aware of.

  • Diet

Scallops consume small organisms like krill, algae, and larvae from the water. As soon as water enters the scallop, mucus traps plankton in the water. Then, cilia slowly move the food into the scallop’s mouth.

  • Reproduction

Most scallops are hermaphrodites! This means that scallops have both male and female sex organs. Usually, scallops are reproduced by spawning where organisms release eggs and sperm into the water. Once the egg is fertilized, young scallops attach to an object with byssal threads.

  • Purchase

Do you know where do scallops come from? Scallops are imported from China and Mexico. You can buy scallops that are dry-packed. This means that they are not soaked in water. Soaking scallops in water bloats them to a larger size but shrinks as soon as you put them in a pan. Purchasing wet scallops packed in a brining solution have a longer shelf life. But this might change the flavor and texture of scallops.

You can keep on reading to know how to cook scallops.

  • Cooking

The cooking procedure can vary based on what type of scallop you purchase. For instance, stripped scallops need a rinse in cold water before cooking. While scallops with shells need a bit more cleaning and preparation for cooking. It is best served with a mild sauce of cream, cheese, or butter. These ingredients don’t overpower the subtle flavor of the scallop.

  • Taste

Here, I will tell you what do scallops taste like after cooking. The taste of scallops is sweet and light. It has a slight hint of brininess. However, they become smooth and tender when cooked properly. In simple words, they taste like they’ve come from the sea without being fishy.

  • Storage

Just like most seafood, scallops should be stored in the coldest part of your fridge. They can be frozen for up to 6 months when packed in an airtight container. Mostly it is advised to use them within 24 hours after purchasing. Also, make sure you do not refreeze previously frozen scallops.

Are scallops healthy? Let’s check out in the next section!

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  • Health Benefits And Side-effects

A scallop is an excellent source of minerals like selenium, zinc, and copper. But scallops may accumulate heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic. Have a look at the other health benefits and side effects of scallops.

Benefits Side-effects
  • They help to lose weight.
  • It may develop a food allergy.
  • Is great for your brain and nervous system.
  • Scallops can cause kidney damage.
  • Scallops keep your heart healthy.
  • There can be life-threatening complications if consumed too much.

Common Recipes That Use Scallops

Scallops can be used in many recipes. Below, I have given a few recipes that use Scallops.

  • Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
  • Hibachi Scallops
  • Thai Coconut Soup
  • Squid Ink Pasta
  • Creamy Baked Scallops
  • Bacon Jam Scallop Appetizer

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What Are The Different Varieties Of Scallops?

There are two basic kinds of scallops: sea scallops, which are graded by the number of units (scallops) per pound (e.g., U10, U20/30), and bay scallops, which are much smaller (with usually 80 to 120 per pound) and caught in shallower waters (Nantucket Bay scallops are especially prized).

What Type Of Scallops Is Best?

Typically, the larger the scallop, the higher the price. Bay scallops are smaller than sea scallops (about 12-inch in diameter, 50 to 100 per pound) and are considered to be the sweetest and most succulent. Cape bays harvested from Long Island to Cape Cod are especially prized.

What Is The Difference In Scallops?

Size: The most obvious difference between bay scallops and sea scallops is their size. Flavor: Palates vary, but many people consider the bay scallop to be sweeter than the sea scallop. Texture: Fleshy sea scallops have a thicker texture, while bay scallops are more tender.

What Are Big Scallops Called?

In general, you’ll find most scallops to fall under one of two umbrellas: bay scallops or sea scallops. You’re likely most familiar with sea scallops. They’re both the largest and most popular type of scallop, and they’re what you’ll most commonly find in restaurants.

Is A Scallop Considered A Fish?

Fortunately, scallops are considered a “good choice,” or a lower mercury fish, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (29). To reap the benefits of scallops and other seafood, it’s recommended to eat 2 to 3 servings of “good choice” fish per week.

Is A Scallop A Fish Or A Shell?

Scallops are a type of bivalve mollusk, meaning the interior muscle is surrounded by two shells similarly to oysters, mussels, and clams. Inside the shell, scallops have a white adductor muscle (the part we to eat) that opens and closes the shell, as well as a bright orange section called the coral.

Are Scallops Healthy Or Unhealthy?

Scallops are widely considered one of the healthiest seafoods. Made up of 80% protein and sporting a low fat content, they can help you feel fuller longer and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of antioxidants.


By reading my above post, you’ve understood what is a scallop in detail. Scallops are a type of shellfish that are edible and sold as seafood. Many among us wonder what part of the scallop do you eat. Scallops have a white adductor muscle, that opens and closes the shell. We eat this particular part of scallops. Older adults, children, and pregnant/nursing women must avoid consuming scallops. This is because they contain high levels of heavy metals. Some people even suffer from dizziness, indigestion, diarrhea, and vomiting. You can now cook this dish at home by understanding what is a scallop.


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What is the difference between the different types of scallops

What are scallops