Freezing seafood can maintain the freshness of your food until you're ready to cook it. Frozen sea scallops are a good source of lean protein that cooks up quickly.
Sea scallops are high in protein, low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients like vitamin B12 and selenium, according to the USDA. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids — healthy fats that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), there are three safe ways to defrost frozen foods such as scallops: in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag under cold running water or in the microwave.
Read more: Nutritional Value of Scallops
Thaw Scallops in the Refrigerator
The best way to defrost frozen sea scallops is to place them in the refrigerator overnight. Take the scallops out of the package, put them in a large dish or bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap before leaving the seafood to thaw in the refrigerator.
Make sure that your refrigerator temperature is set at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you defrost the scallops, they can safely remain in the fridge for an additional day or two before cooking, according to the USDA FSIS.
Defrost Scallops in the Microwave
When you're pressed for time, you can defrost scallops in the microwave. But you'll need to watch them closely to make sure you don't begin inadvertently cooking them.
Put the scallops in a microwave-safe bowl or dish, cover them with a paper towel and set the microwave to the defrost setting, or 30 percent of the regular setting.
After 30 seconds, remove the bowl and check the scallops. Defrost them for 30 additional seconds if needed. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), frozen scallops should be cooked right away after thawing in a microwave as this method can begin cooking your seafood.
Place Under Cool Running Water
The best way to defrost scallops that haven't been in the refrigerator overnight is to place them under cool running water. Do not allow the scallops to come into direct contact with the water.
Instead, put the frozen shellfish into a resealable plastic bag, seal the bag securely and place it in a bowl under cool running tap water. Plan on 1 pound of frozen sea scallops requiring approximately 1/2 hour to defrost, according to the USDA FSIS.
Read more: Skinny Risoto and Scallops
Check the Package Instructions
Some types of frozen sea scallops should not be defrosted before cooking. For example, commercially available brands of breaded whole scallops are meant to be pan-fried or deep-fried directly from the freezer; the instructions on the packaging specify that the scallops should not be thawed ahead of time.
Always follow the cooking instructions provided with your frozen sea scallops. If you have questions about how best to cook or defrost your particular brand, contact the manufacturer's customer service department for more information.
Heat scallops to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, as advised by the FDA.