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March 23, 2007
Friday Squid Blogging: Readying the 1000-lb Squid for Science
"It's got to be thawed out slowly. You can't put hot water on it, you've just got to thaw it out naturally," says Te Papa's mollsuca collections manager Bruce Marshall.
To minimise handling of the precious specimen, the colossal squid will probably have its temperature raised, over days, in the tank in which it will finally be "fixed".
"We don't want to move it too much," says Marshall.
"When a thing like that is in the water, it's neutrally buoyant.
"But, of course, when you get it out of the water, you've got a big lump of weight and you could try lifting it and your hands would go right through.
"Already it's got puncture marks from the net."
Once un-frozen, the creature will be fixed, or embalmed, and then a long-term preservative will be used.
"What I mean by a fixing tank is a tank that you lay it out in, in a natural position, and you then make all the adjustments -- align all the arms, pack out the body and all of that. Then you have it in a, say, 5% formalin solution.
"It will require the biggest tank of anything we've got."
In further news, it might be microwaved. It's actually a hard problem; how do you ensure that the defrosted parts don't rot while waiting for the rest of it to defrost.
Posted on March 23, 2007 at 4:10 PM
• 14 Comments
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The common way to thaw food, especially fish is to do it in the fridge over night. Temperature in the average refrigerator is, depending on the place inside the cooler, between 4 degrees Celsius (277.15K) and 10 degrees Celsius (283.15K). The proportion between volume and surface of the food might be a problem. It would have been better to freeze the squid in a plane instead of the large block, but that is to late now.
The method works quite well for small samples like the octopodes I got yesterday but these beauties were not longer than my thumb. They tasted very good when coated with some tempura (sp? it's 天�?�ら in japanese) dough (with a bit of fresh chili and I always put some crushed ice into the dough, makes the result much more crunchier) and deepfried in cocoa butter (the yellowish raw type, not the white stuff which is refined and deodorized and completely tasteless). They look better if you dump them for some 10-20 seconds into boiling saltwater (about 10gr salt/litre) with some vinegar. But it's only for the look (form and color) not for the taste. 10-20 seconds are way to short to transfer enough flavors.
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