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Freezing seafood at home is a great way to extend the life of your purchase. Maybe you bought too much flounder, or didn’t end up cooking those scallops you brought home. Don’t toss them – freeze them! Check out our quick tips, freezing techniques, and thawing methods below.

QUICK TIPS

When you purchase fresh seafood, be sure to eat or freeze it within three days of purchase.  

Fish should be frozen on a flat surface to maintain its shape and texture. This is easy to do by placing a sheet pan in your freezer and laying packaged seafood flat on the pan. Once the seafood is frozen, you can remove the sheet pan. 

Seafood should be frozen as quickly as possible once it goes into the freezer. Make sure your freezer is set to 0 degrees, and try not to open the door for about a day after you put fresh seafood in. 

TECHNIQUES TO REMOVE AIR 

The most important objective when freezing is to remove the air from the package. Air causes freezer burn and shortens the shelf life of the product. There are a number of techniques to remove air from the package. 

Nothing is better at removing air than a vacuum sealer. If you plan to freeze on a regular basis, we recommend you invest $80-$100 for a quality vacuum sealer. 

You can vacuum seal bags using just a bowl of water, also known as a ‘redneck vacuum seal.’

  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Pack your seafood in a freezer bag and submerge it in the ice water, leaving the bag unzipped, until only half an inch of the bag is out of the water.
  3. Zip up the bag. The cold water displaces the air and removes it from the bag. 
  4.  Write the name of the fish or shellfish species and an “eat by” date three months from today on your bag. Place in the freezer.

Using plastic wrap instead of a bag or container makes it easy to squeeze the air out of the package.

  1. Lay a 2 foot long sheet of plastic wrap on your kitchen counter.
  2. Remove your fillet from our package and place it on one end of the plastic wrap.
  3. Fold it over tightly, squeezing out as much air as you can.
  4. Repeat this folding and squeezing process until you get to the other end.
  5. Place the wrapped fish in a ziploc bag, squeezing out as much air as you can.
  6. Fish like this should keep for three months. Write the name of the fish and the “eat by” date on the bag. Place in the freezer.

Freezing your seafood in water ensures that you remove all the air. This is a common method for freezing shrimp on the North Carolina coast. It’s important to note that water can impart flavors on seafood, so you may change the taste of the seafood using this method. 

  1. Place your seafood in a freezer-safe plastic container.
  2. Add enough water to cover the seafood completely, but leave enough room at the top for the water to expand.
  3. Write the species and an “eat by” date three months from today on the container.
THAWING TECHNIQUES

We recommend you eat frozen seafood within three months. 

Seafood should be thawed as quickly as possible, but never in hot water or at room temperature. This can create uneven thawing, cause changes in texture and quality, loss of flavor and moisture, and break down the proteins in the meat. 

You can thaw seafood in the refrigerator by placing the package on a plate in the fridge for a few hours. You can also use a technique called “slacking.”  Place the package of seafood in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes or until thaw.

A great way to thaw frozen shrimp is placing it in a colander under cold running water for several minutes.

The post How to freeze seafood at home appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Our market hours will change the week of July 4th. 

Locals Oyster Bar & Seafood Market will be open regular hours all weekend long.

The Locals Seafood office will be closed from July 4 to July 7.

STATE FARMERS MARKET
Open Wednesday July 3 10am – 4pm
Closed Thursday July 4
Closed Friday July 5
Closed Saturday July 6
Closed Sunday July 7

TRANSFER CO. FOOD HALL MARKET
Open Thursday July 4 10am – 6pm
Open Friday July 5 10am – 6pm
Open Saturday July 6 10am – 4pm
Open Sunday July 7 10am – 4pm

CHAPEL HILL FARMERS MARKET
Closed Saturday July 6

WESTERN WAKE FARMERS MARKET
Closed Saturday July 6

The post Independence Day Weekend Hours appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Homemade sauces are easier to make than you may think.

We asked chef Eric Montagne of Locals Oyster Bar to share his recipes for a few of the bar’s signature sauces: cocktail, mignonette, and bottarga green goddess. 

Cocktail Sauce

YIELD 1.5 cups

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Dogs & cats should eat local too. Look out for our new pet treat, made from fish caught by NC fishermen, this summer!

Our treat is made from finely ground fish including the skin, head, bones, and organs. Fish is packed with beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. And we’re committed to using only low-mercury fish to reduce risk to your furry friends.

The ground fish is packed into BPA-free bags and vacuum sealed to keep in the nutrients and flavor. Then we cook them to kill bacteria. The treats are frozen in half pound portions for convenient storage.

We are currently looking for volunteers (and their pets!) to participate in a trial period and focus group. We want to bring the best product to market and we need your feedback. We’ll provide the treats for your pet, you provide your opinions! If you’re interested in joining our trial period sign up using this link. We’ll reach out to let you know if you’ve been selected.

Locals Seafood is committed to using as much of the fish we buy as possible. We process thousands of pounds of seafood every month at our headquarters in Raleigh, with most of it being filleted. Filleting a fish leaves behind half of the total weight, on average, in bones, organs, and the head. Instead of tossing these parts, we’re using them to create a snack Fido and Mittens will love. By purchasing our treats, you’re helping us utilize as much of our state’s seafood resource as possible.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from Wake County Environmental Services.

The post Introducing Locals Seafood for pets appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Our newest fresh fish market is now open at Transfer Co. Food Hall!

This market carries fresh & frozen seafood including whole fish, fillets, shrimp, crab, scallops, oysters, clams, and more. Plus we’re introducing new prepared & smoked seafood items like steamed shrimp, fish dip, and smoked fish portions.

MARKET HOURS
Friday 10a – 6p
Saturday & Sunday 10a – 4p
Our hours will expand as we continue to grow.

HOW DO I CONTACT THIS MARKET?
You can call our market manager directly during the hours the market is open. This means you can call to confirm an item is in stock before heading our way!

Our phone lines aren’t quite up and running yet, but we are working on it!

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS MARKET?
This market carries the same high-quality seafood you have come to expect from Locals, in addition to some exciting new offerings. The kitchen at Locals Oyster Bar allows us to prepare items like fish dip, shrimp salad, smoked fish fillets, and more. When in season, we can steam your blue crabs or fresh shrimp while you wait – no more getting pinched by a lively crab in the summer! We also carry a range of kitchen tools & dry goods.

Being right next to our oyster bar has its perks. Feel free to grab a drink while we prepare your order, or come in for lunch before picking up your seafood.

CAN I PICK UP A PRE-ORDER AT THIS MARKET?
We are focused on perfecting our systems to create an exceptional customer experience and cannot facilitate pre-orders at this time. If you need to reserve seafood for a special occasion, our location at the State Farmers Market will continue to accept pre-orders.

IS ANYTHING CHANGING AT THE STATE FARMERS MARKET?
Our market at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh will remain the same. You can still pre-order your seafood to pickup at that market, and we’ll continue to be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

CAN I PICK UP MY SEAFOOD SHARE AT THIS MARKET?
Not right now. We will contact our share members when this market becomes a pick up location.

Learn more about this market and our oyster bar at www.localsoysterbar.com.

LOCALS SEAFOOD MARKET
Locals Seafood Market at Transfer Co. Food Hall

The post Locals Seafood Market at Transfer Co. Food Hall appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Join us on February 23 at Transfer Co. Food Hall for our Winter Seafood Jubilee. This is the grand opening of the newest Locals Seafood fresh fish market, and we’re celebrating it the only way we know how – with North Carolina seafood! Locals Oyster Bar will be hosting a fish fry on the Transfer Co. Food Hall patio, with additional food and raw oysters available at the bar.

This event is free & open to the public! We will be serving fried seafood platters for $12, in addition to our raw bar & counter service menus.

Coastal experts from North Carolina Sea Grant & North Carolina Coastal Federation will be on hand to answer your questions about North Carolina seafood. Learn about our state’s commercial fishing industry from NC CATCH & North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association.

Plus you’ll meet just a few of our state’s excellent oyster farmers, and taste the oysters they grow.

We’d love to see you there! Please RSVP on Facebook to help us get a head count.

The post Join us on February 23 for a Winter Seafood Jubilee! appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Not sure what to get the seafood lover on your gift list? We’ve got a few ideas, check them out below.

Our dry goods are always available at the Raleigh Farmers Market. If you’d like to purchase dry goods from our Chapel Hill Farmers Market or Western Wake Farmers Market locations, simply submit a pre-order form for your request. 

HOODIE $28

CAROLINA CATCH COOKBOOK $35  

LOCALS SHRIMPER $2.99

SEAFOOD SHARE $200

Includes 8 weeks of curated seafood selections. Read more & purchase here.

TOADFISH SHRIMP PEEL, DEVEIN, AND BUTTERFLY $28

HAT $20  

T-SHIRT $15

LOCALS OYSTER KNIFE $12

LOCALS GIFT CARD $25

Can only be used at our Farmers Market Locations. Purchase online here.

TOADFISH OYSTER KNIFE $38

Our dry goods are always available at the Raleigh Farmers Market. If you’d like to purchase dry goods from our Chapel Hill Farmers Market or Western Wake Farmers Market locations, simply submit a pre-order form for your request. 

The post Locals Seafood 2018 Gift Guide appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Christmas Market Schedule

Thursday December 20
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

Friday December 21
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

Saturday December 22
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm
Western Wake Farmers Market 9:30am – 12pm
Chapel Hill Farmers Market 9am – 12pm

Sunday December 23
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

Monday December 24
CLOSED

New Years Market Schedule Thursday December 27
CLOSED

Friday December 28
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

Saturday December 29
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm
Western Wake Farmers Market 9:30am – 12pm
Chapel Hill Farmers Market 9am – 12pm

Sunday December 30
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

Monday December 31 – NYE
Raleigh Farmers Market 10am – 4pm

The post Holiday 2018 Market Schedule appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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Soft shell crabs are a springtime delicacy in North Carolina. The season starts with the first full moon in May when the crabs begin molting to accomodate summer growth. A few weeks later, most crabs have a new hard shell for the year and harvesting stops.

Don’t let the limited harvest season limit your enjoyment of soft shells! Softies freeze exceptionally well. They retain the texture and flavor of fresh soft shells, tasting almost as good as the day they were harvested. They are easy to defrost and prepare, plus blue crabs are packed with nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and omega-3.

Locals Seafood freezes all sizes of softies in the spring and summer, shortly after they are plucked out of the water. It’s always a good idea to check our Today’s Catch page or call to make sure we have them in stock before heading to the market.

DEFROSTING

Remove the crab from the freezer and place it on a plate in the fridge. Let it thaw for a few hours. Remove it from the packaging once it has thawed and rinse the crab before cooking. Now you’re ready to fry ’em up!

PREPARING

There are many methods for preparing soft shell crabs. A helpful starter guide is Mark Bittman’s Three Methods, Four Coatings, Five Sauces for preparing softies.

A simple fried softie is achievable using cornmeal & Old Bay or a store-bought seafood breading. Once breaded, cook in hot oil for ~1 minute on each side. 

Fried soft shells are excellent on a sandwich, atop pasta, or across a bed of arugula. If serving on a sandwich or on their own, tartar sauce is imperative.

Next time you are craving a soft shell crab in the fall or winter – don’t despair. Check out our Today’s Catch page to see if we have any frozen available.

The post Enjoying soft shells year-round appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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UPDATED 11/5/18

This year has been hard for the North Carolina commercial fishing industry.

2018 started with a hard, frozen winter and late spring. A majority of inshore waters froze over, something residents haven’t seen for years. This temporarily altered the ecosystem, decreasing fish availability and stunting the growth of oysters. The lack of fish of shellfish decreased income opportunities to many in the fishing industry.

After a normal summer, Hurricane Florence blew on shore as a category 1 hurricane. The storm devastated the southern coast and southeastern part of the state. Luckily, the storm spared many commercial fishing vessels and fishermen’s gear. Shellfish growers and fish houses did not fare as well. Personal property was lost by many in the industry.

Shellfish growers, including many farmers who grow the oysters we sell, lost a lot of gear. On top of that, some waters were closed to shellfish harvesting for weeks after the storm due to poor water quality caused by flooding. Weeks without harvesting means weeks without income for many shellfish growers. Some growers faced massive die-offs as their shellfish reacted to freshwater flooding inundating estuarine waters. According to North Carolina Sea Grant, the NC shellfish industry alone has $4.8 million in claimed losses from the storm as of mid-October.

Because shellfish farming in North Carolina is such a new industry, insurance options are quite poor. Most options only cover pennies on the dollar. In most cases, the only thing insured is the gear – the shellfish itself isn’t covered. As a result, Hurricane Florence has set back the growth of the shellfish mariculture industry in NC.

The North Carolina Fisheries Association asked for almost $20 million from the state’s relief fund. This was a conservative amount, since the damage is likely far more extensive. Last week during the legislative short session, the state awarded $1.6 million to the industry, enough for $300 per fisherman. Hardly worth the effort. 

Recovery from Florence will be a marathon, not a sprint. The fishing communities of North Carolina are facing long-term impacts from this storm. Wild shellfish stocks were likely hit hard, but we’re only beginning to see the impact since the season just began. Fish stocks have been out of whack all year. As a result, many fishermen will have to look for other sources of income this winter.

As of November 2nd, Governor Cooper requested additional resources and funding from the US Department of Commerce to help the commercial fishing industry repair damage and get back on their feet.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Support North Carolina’s fishing families this holiday season by giving to the NC Fisheries Association’s Maritime Angels fundraiser. This is a program designed to help families from the commercial fishing industry who need help this holiday season.

You can also give to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum hurricane relief fund. They are working with folks in the Down East community to identify families in need of assistance. Read more about their efforts here.

The post Hurricane Florence will have lasting impact on NC commercial fishing industry appeared first on Locals Seafood.

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