Can You Eat Raw Squid?

Yes, as long as it’s fresh and well prepared.

Squid is a very popular seafood, served in plenty of restaurants all over the world. Squid dishes are often given the culinary name calamari in Mediterranean and Western cuisines. Squid is known as Ika in Japanese cuisine. While it is often cooked in a variety of ways, many people eat raw squid. In this article, we’ll explore squid as food and see whether it’s safe to eat when it’s raw. We’ll also talk about its benefits as well as the risks associated with it and with seafood consumption in general.

What Does A Fresh Raw Squid Taste Like?

The flavor of raw calamari is unique and hard to pin down. Calamari has a very mild taste, slightly sweet and rubbery. It has an unmistakable seafood taste that resembles that of shrimp and lobster. It almost doesn’t have a smell when it’s fresh. Its flavor is tender and can significantly change depending on how you prepare it. It is really what you make it.

Can Squid Be Eaten Raw?

Eating raw squid is not uncommon. Squid is used in many popular dishes. For instance, many Japanese eat raw squid as sashimi and often call it ika somen. It is also commonly eaten raw as sushi, mostly nigiri sushi, and sushi rolls. A common species of squid eaten in Japan and China is the Japanese Flying Squid.

Not only the Japanese eat raw seafood. Raw fish and mollusks are consumed on pretty much every continent. So, squid can definitely be eaten raw.

Is It Safe To Eat Frozen Squid Raw?

We’ve seen that there’s nothing crazy about eating squid raw when it’s fresh. Now, is frozen squid good to eat as well?

Unless the calamari is frozen by the highest of standards, it should be safe to eat. This means that it should be frozen as soon as it’s captured and in extremely low temperatures. While some quality restaurants do it, it is quite hard to do on your own. Even then, the risk of parasites developing is relatively high. Cooking frozen calamari is always the safest option.

Can You Eat Undercooked Squid?

Fresh or frozen calamari can be undercooked, but they have to be very carefully prepared. If it’s a fresh squid, it should be as safe as eating it raw. If not, undercooking it won’t kill the parasites and you can risk contracting a food-borne illness.

Is Squid Sashimi or Sushi-Grade?

Sashimi-grade and sushi-grade fish are fish deemed safe to eat raw by their sellers. It is not common for squid, a mollusk and not a fish, to be labeled as such.

However, squid may well be used for both sushi and sashimi. Assuming it’s well processed, it can be perfectly safe to eat. The mild flavor of squid can make it a very nice addition to sushi, sashimi, tempura, and other seafood.

Is It Dangerous To Eat Squid Raw?

Many humans eat raw food and have to deal with a couple of safety concerns to stay healthy. Food-borne illnesses are the most common risk associated with eating raw meat, including Calamari. Food poisoning can occur when an inadequately prepared squid is eaten undercooked or raw.

Two common examples of parasitic diseases that can be carried by squids are Anisakiasis and Diphyllobothriasis. These are caused by parasitic worms invading the human body, namely the stomach wall and intestines, and leading to an acute infection. When this happens, surgery becomes necessary.

Some harmful bacteria can also be found, albeit rarely, in squids. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacteria that mostly originates in the sea mud and can be carried by many seafood creatures, including squids. This bacteria can cause ulcers in the stomach and lead to gastrointestinal illness.

The last risk is the least that you should worry about unless you regularly eat plenty of squids. Squid mostly contains a certain amount of mercury. Although its mercury levels are relatively low, consuming too much squid may cause mercury poisoning, especially if it’s accompanied by fish that contains higher levels of mercury. Squid should be consumed fairly moderately.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Raw Squid?

Squid can be a very healthy choice for food. It is an excellent source of Omega-3 which can improve and maintain overall health. The fatty acids present in calamari oil, just like in many typical fish oils, are good for heart, skin, and hair health.

Squid is also rich in protein and iron content that can be very beneficial to all people, particularly pregnant women. It is also low in calories and doesn’t contain a lot of saturated fat, which can help if you want to control or lose weight.

Many beneficial minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, and copper. These help regulate blood levels, and transport oxygen throughout the body, among other things. Squid is also rich in selenium which can greatly enhance the immune system and help prevent various chronic diseases.

Is It Better To Cook Squid?

When you’re uncertain as to the quality and the safety, cooking squid is definitely the safest option. This eliminates the risk of pathogenic bacteria spreading and contaminating the whole thing. Unless it’s fresh, perfectly frozen, and well prepared, you risk contracting a food-borne illness from eating it raw, just like you would from a raw or undercooked infected fish.

Assuming the proper conditions, both raw and cooked squid should be fine. In this case, whether you should cook it will come down to your own preferences. If you like a mild, moist, ocean-like taste, you can go for raw calamari. If you like a more rubbery, chewy taste, then baked, grilled, or fried calamari may be what you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

Squid is enjoyed all over the world and can go along nicely with a whole lot of amazing dishes. It can be cooked or eaten as is, provided it is prepared and handled with care. It can be served raw as sushi or sashimi, or be made into a hot dish, along with all sorts of seafood. The squid’s milder taste makes it a nice addition to many recipes.

FAQs on Raw Squid

• Is eating raw squid safe?

When the squid is fresh and properly prepared, it is mostly safe to eat. However, there’s always a chance that it may contain harmful bacteria.

• Can you eat raw squid and octopus together?

Yes, squid and octopus get along pretty well, in the sea just like on a plate. For instance, many Japanese eat raw octopus and squid together in sushi. When cooked, they are often used together in many Mediterranean calamari recipes.

Brett White
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