Sea scallops are prized for their delicate flavor and tender flesh as well as for how simple and quick they are to prepare. Unfortunately, scallops – as is the case with most seafood – do not keep as well in the refrigerator as meat or poultry, and should be used within 24 hours of purchasing them. Otherwise it's best to freeze them, which preserves their quality for at least three months.
Place your fresh scallops in a colander or mesh strainer and rinse them gently in cool water to remove any sand or grit.
Pat the scallops dry with clean paper towels.
Arrange the scallops in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet, taking care that none of them touch each other. Transfer the sheet to your freezer, and freeze for three to four hours or until the scallops are hard-frozen.
Portion the scallops into resealable plastic containers or zipper-seal freezer bags. Label and date them, so you can monitor their freshness.
Use the scallops within three months to enjoy them at their best. They'll remain food safe indefinitely, but after the first few months they'll begin to develop "off" flavors.
- Break a large number of scallops into smaller portions before freezing them if you are cooking for only one or two people.
- Never thaw scallops on the counter because bacteria develops very quickly. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight instead.