Geoduck is a shellfish that has gained a lot of food media attention in recent years. It has featured on tv shows like Top Chef, and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Geoduck is weird-looking because it has a phallic kind of shape. It is pronounced gooey-duck and not “geo” as in geography.
Geoduck is considered to be an expensive delicacy. It costs about $150 per pound. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, this shellfish is so expensive that gangsters sometimes exchange it for narcotics. If you haven’t seen or heard of geoduck before, that is probably due to the shellfish’s preference for specific regions.
What does geoduck taste like? Geoduck is an aquatic animal that doesn’t have a fishy flavor. The taste of geoduck is described as sweet and salty, with a clean texture that is crispier than that of other clams. Geoduck has a very strong flavor and could be chewy if it is not cooked well. To sum it all up, you can taste the ocean in every bite of geoduck. They feel a bit like clams, but with shrimp-like qualities.
The taste of geoduck is so highly sought after that almost 90 percent of the shellfish harvested stateside is shipped to China.
Nutritional Benefits of Geoduck
Geoduck has a great deal of nutritional value. There are speculations and rumors that geoduck might contain high levels of cholesterol, but there is no scientific proof to support that claim.
Geoducks, just like clams, are notable for the high amounts of vitamin B12 and protein. The nutritional properties of clams are so impressive that the USDA recommends that you eat at least 8 ounces of any seafood, especially shellfish like this in a week.
B12 in the body is responsible for maintaining healthy blood and nerve cells. It could also help to prevent megaloblastic anemia. Protein, on the other hand, helps the development of red blood cells, assists in bodybuilding and energy production.
Geoducks produce what you call quality protein because the kind of protein they produce has all of the essential amino acids. Amino acids help the breakdown of food and repair damaged tissues in the body. The presence of the essential amino acids in the body can help enhance overall bodily functions.
Geoducks have polyunsaturated fats, also known as omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are considered essential in the body because they promote heart health. They also help the formation of the structure of cell membranes and aid the wellbeing of the body’s immune, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and endocrine systems.
Clams like geoducks also contain a very small amount of saturated fats. Excess saturated fats can cause an increase of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body.
Culinary Uses of Geoduck
Getting geoducks out of their shell can be pretty hectic. You need to rinse them well under running water before and after you remove the shells. Geoduck can be boiled, fried, or sauteed.
To prepare geoduck for use in the kitchen, you need to cut the siphon from the meat of the geoduck and divide it into half lengthwise. Then take each half and cut it into paper-thin slices. These slices can be served raw as sashimi or cooked for a very short period in stir fry dishes. Cooking can toughen the meat of geoduck, to get the best results, you can blanch it in hot water before using it in any dish or recipe.
Geoduck can be used as an appetizer dish before the main course for dinner. If mixed with butter and lemon juice, it can serve as a side dish. If you want to fry geoduck and make them crispy, you would need to dip it in batter and fry it like you would fry chicken.
In China, geoduck is eaten in a fondue-style Chinese hot pot. In Korea, it is eaten raw with a spicy chili sauce.
What is the History of Geoduck? How to Procure It?
Geoduck is native to the Northwestern part of North America. This shellfish is so deeply rooted in the culture of the region that its name is a derivation of gweduc which means “dig deep”. Geoduck is referred to as the world’s largest burrowing clam. The geoduck is encased in a shell that hardly grows larger than 8 inches, the shellfish itself can grow to lengths over 3 feet long.
Geoduck can be found in the coastal waters of Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. In 2013, China imposed an import ban on geoduck and other double-shelled animals. The list included clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops. This was because Chinese officials found high levels of saxitoxin in an Alaskan shipment of aquatic life.
Saxitoxin can be poisonous in high amounts and could cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, severe illness, or death in human beings. Another shipment from Washington was also found to be high in arsenic. The ban was lifted after 6 months.
Geoduck can be gotten very easily if you live in areas where they are native. Divers usually have to dive to the bottom of the ocean and use long hooks to pull them from their burrows.
Why Do Geoducks Squirt Water?
Geoducks suck up seawater to filter out plankton and vitamins that they need for nourishment. After carrying out this process, it squirts the excess water out through its siphon.
Facts You Don’t Know About Geoduck
- Geoducks can live for over a century, they have an average lifespan of over 140 years. The oldest geoduck has been recorded to have lived 168 years.
- The scientific name of geoduck is Panopea generosa.