Scallops: Main Image

Buying Tips

Quality fresh scallops are easy to recognize. Fresh scallops smell like the sea, not strong and fishy. Fresh scallops are ivory to light pink in color. Pure white scallops may have been soaking in tripolyphosphate to make them appear plumper. Brown or dull-looking scallops are just too old. Fresh live scallops in the shell are slightly opened, but will close slightly when pinched. They have a fresh odor.


Sea scallops grow in deep waters off the East Coast of the United States. Bay scallops (also called Cape Cod scallops), grow in bays and harbors and are smaller. Calico scallops, grown in waters off Florida, are about the size of Bay scallops, and are mechanically shucked and partially cooked. Scallops are also imported fresh from countries such as China and Peru. Scallops are available shucked and, rarely, live in the shell. Their mild-flavored orange roe is sometimes sold along with the scallop meat.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.