10 Examples of Shelled Seafood and Their Shelf Life

Seafood isn’t only exotic but also an excellent alternative to red meat. Find out more about 10 different examples of shelled fish and their shelf lives.

There are two main types:

  • Crustaceans include crabs, lobster, and shrimp. They also include langoustine, crabs, and prawns
  • Mollusks include scallops, oysters, mussels, and clams

Here’s a short description of each:


The crab is a crustacean, an invertebrate. This means it does not have a vertebral column, such as the backbone. It’s also covered in the form of a hard crust, with 10 limbs protruding.

Crabs can be found in all coastal areas, including salted and fresh waters. Other species are semi-terrestrial and can be found in rocky, sandy regions.

There are many crab species; however, some of them are at risk of disappearing. Females have larger abdomens than males.

They are omnivorous and very sought-after because of their meat. Crab is a delicacy that can be cooked in various ways, such as crab cakes or burgers and crab omelets, and is often incorporated into soups, salads, cakes, dips, and sandwiches.


These beautiful crustaceans are found in various habitats like shallow oceans, deep oceans, underwater caves, and rocks. They prefer deep ocean floors for their security and the ease of finding food.

There are more than 50 lobster species with different hues. Some have claws, while others are not clawless (no joke intended).

Once cooked and cooked, their shells transform into an intense orange color. They’re a food item with a refreshing taste. Lobsters are often served in fish, soups, pasta, salads, and soups.


They are among the most well-known and sought-after seafood. Many species of shrimp are found across the globe in large bodies of water, both salty and fresh. They also like sandy bottoms, where they can burrow.

Shrimps are small and are a popular seafood dish. Enjoy them in the following ways: cocktail shrimp, grill and fried shrimps, the shrimp in pasta, Gumbo dishes, risottos, gumbo, Pan-fried shrimp, garlic, salads, and other dishes.


They closely resemble lobsters. They have a variety of names, such as crawdad Crawfish, mudbug, and mountain lobster.

They mostly live in freshwater bodies, but some are in brackish or salty water. They can also discover them in muddy pools, swamps, lakes, creeks, or streams.

Crayfish live at night and are found in a variety of species. They are cooked and served in numerous dishes. Examples include crawfish burgers, fritters, pies and chowders, ravioli, gumbo, ravioli, and Beignets.


“The world is your oyster” is a well-known saying which is believed to be the work of Shakespeare. It is a simple way to say that you can do amazing things in your life when you are determined to pursue them. That is, to be able to get pearls, you must break open the oysters.

This oyster world can be quite fascinating. Did you know that there exist oysters used to make food and others that are used to extract pearls for commercial use? Though each is edible, the oysters are part of distinct species.

Bivalve mollusks are very exotic sea creatures and can be found in salinity-rich habitats.

Oysters grow and form reef-like clusters on rock, piers, and other underwater surfaces. These groups are essential for marine ecosystems since they offer shelter to other aquatic creatures. They also serve as barriers to storms, waves, and floods.

They are generally made into a dish and are served inside their tough-to-break shells. However, you need to remove the slimy meat. Some prefer them raw.


They are also saltwater inhabitants. Scallops are bivalves that can be seen roaming around the waters or stuck to rocks. They are the most frequently used species. Are those that are caught?

There are two main varieties that are widely used – bay and sea scallops; however, bay scallops aren’t so popular as sea scallops. Bay scallops are small.

They are not often used only by those willing to take them off the rocks.

Scallops are typically sold shelled. Some popular scallop recipes are pan-seared or broiled scallops or poached scallops.


Clams are bivalve mollusks, too, with more than 150 species known. They are associated with the practice of digging themselves into the sandy bottoms of the sea.

Clams live in freshwater bodies; however, they can also be found in oceans, rivers, and coral reefs.

In the section dedicated to fish of stores, you can find the clams in various forms: whole (unshelled) or shuck. They can also be half-shelled.

There are a lot of easy recipes for clams, including paella, steamed clams, Chowder for clams, grilled and boiling, and boiled clams.


Like clams, they thrive in sandy bed water bodies. Mussels thrive in high-quality water since they get their food by filtering water.

They’re mostly sedentary; however, in the event of movement, they use one foot-like protrusion that aids them in navigating. The ‘limb’ serves to act as an anchor. The shells they use serve to protect themselves.

Various mussel species can be present throughout North American water bodies, along with a few other species found worldwide.

There is a myriad of recipes for mussels, the most common ones including classic French mussels as well as steamed mussels, seafood stews, and steamed stews.


Prawns bear striking resemblances to shrimps. These crustaceans are present all over the world in large bodies of water and are fond of their bottoms. The majority of them are found in freshwaters. However, others are found in salty waters.

Prawns are found in a myriad of species, each with distinctive characteristics, colors, and dimensions.

Prawns can be purchased in various types – frozen prawns, shelled, or whole shrimps.

They are easily accessible and have their own tasteful place in seafood dishes. They are simple to cook. Prawns can also be cooked or grilled, served on burgers, stir-fried, or in stews made with seafood.


The less well-known shelled seafood is quite extremely popular in Europe. In the United States, they are called Norway lobsters and Dublin Bay Shrimp.

They are a major source of food in Scotland which is the country with the largest production of langoustine than any other country.

They are closely related to the crawfish. However, they thrive in salty waters, unlike the crawfish that thrive in freshwaters.

Small langoustines are adored because of their tail meat, commonly referred to as scampi, at any restaurant that serves seafood dishes.

How long does shelled seafood keep?

Every type of seafood is extremely perishable. This is why it is common to freeze them to prolong their shelf lives.

Other than canned seafood that can be kept in the pantry, if not opened, All other seafood must be frozen or refrigerated. If you can, purchase large portions that you can consume in one sitting.

Fresh and cooked seafood has the lowest shelf life. For example, the live crab in its shells is viable for 12 hours. Most deteriorate between 5 – 10 days.

None of these 10 instances of shelled seafood, as well as their shelf lives, is safe to consume after the date of use.

Shrimp that has been frozen is more durable between 3 and 9 months.

Canned seafood can last for quite a while in the freezer if not opened and stored for up to 18 years.

Indicates the presence of spores

It’s pretty easy to spot it is fairly easy to spot rotten seafood. Here’s how:

  • A foul, sour scent similar to the smell of rotten eggs.
  • Dry, dull, discolored skin. Fresh seafood usually has dry or wet skin.
  • Shells that are open in any bivalve indicate death.

There are numerous seafood options available. The 10 above examples of shelled fish and their shelf lives provide only a small sample of what’s available.

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