Squid (Calamari)

Squid (Calamari)

Like meat, fish and poultry, squid and octopus provide high-quality proteins with sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids. Both have less saturated fat than meat and small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a group that includes the essential fatty acid linolenic acid, plus ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and dicosahexanoic acid (DHA), the primary unsaturated fatty acids in oils from fish.

However, like shellfish, squid and octopus may be a significant source of cholesterol. The cholesterol content of squid and octopus can vary from animal to animal. There is no reliable guide to choosing the one that is lower in cholesterol. As a general rule, the mantle (body) generally has less cholesterol than the tentacles.

Four ounces raw squid has 1.58 g fat (0.38 g saturated fat), 266 mg cholesterol, and 17.8 g protein. Four ounces of raw octopus has 1 g fat (0.3 g saturated fat) and 54 mg cholesterol, and 17 g protein. The most nutritious way to serve this food is to prepare with little or no added fat, so as to preserve the seafood's status as a low-fat food. People who are on low-cholesterol, low-protein and low-sodium diet should avoid this food.

When buying, look for fresh whole squid with clear and smooth skin. The squid should smell absolutely fresh. Squid larger than 8 inches may be tough. Choose fresh, whole baby octopus or octopus meat that looks and smells absolutely fresh. Octopus larger than 2 to 2.5 pounds may be tough.

Always refrigerate fresh, cleaned octopus or squid immediately and use it within a day or two. Frozen squid or octopus will keep for one month in a 0oF freezer.

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