Home » Guide To Buying Octopus, Squid & Calamari

Guide To Buying Octopus, Squid & Calamari

by Arnab Dey
Buying Octopus

If you are a seafood lover, there is no doubt that octopus, squid, and calamari hold a special place in your heart. These incredible cephalopods are delicious and versatile, making them an ideal ingredient for a wide range of dishes.

Let’s explore the ins and outs when you buy octopus, squid & calamari, delving into essential tips to ensure you make the best choice every time.

Understand the difference between octopus, squid, and calamari.

Before you begin your quest to buy these amazing sea creatures, it is important to understand their differences. Although all cephalopods, octopus, squid, and calamari have distinct characteristics.

  • Octopus: These creatures have eight arms, a bulbous head, and no internal shell. They are known for their tender, slightly sweet meat and are often used in Mediterranean and Japanese dishes.
  • Squid: Squids have ten arms, two longer than the others. Their meat is firmer than an octopus, making them ideal for frying or grilling.
  • Calamari: Although calamari is technically a type of squid, it is often differentiated due to its tender meat and distinct flavour. It is commonly served as fried rings or in Mediterranean-style dishes.

Freshness is key

When buying octopus, squid, or calamari, the freshness of the seafood is crucial. Fresh cephalopods should have a pleasant ocean-like smell, with no traces of ammonia or other off-odours. The skin should be shiny, slightly moist, and free from any sliminess.

Choose between fresh and frozen.

Frozen Octopus

Depending on your location, you can buy fresh or frozen cephalopods. Both have their advantages and drawbacks:

  • Fresh: Buying fresh octopus, squid, or calamari ensures the highest quality and taste. However, they have a short shelf life and must be consumed within a day or two.
  • Frozen: Frozen cephalopods are convenient and often more affordable than fresh ones. While the taste and texture may be slightly compromised, freezing technology has improved, making the difference less noticeable.

Sustainable sourcing matters

Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices have led to many seafood populations declining. When buying octopus, squid, or calamari, choose suppliers that adhere to sustainable fishing methods and are certified by reputable organisations like the Marine Stewardship Council.

Master the art of preparation.

To make the most of your octopus, squid, or calamari, it is essential to know how to prepare them correctly. Octopus should be tenderised before cooking, while squid and calamari require careful cleaning and slicing. Countless recipes are available to help you create a delicious cephalopod dish, from grilled squid to more intricate dishes like octopus carpaccio.

Storage Tips

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality of your cephalopods. Fresh octopus, squid, or calamari should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a day or two. Frozen cephalopods can be kept in the freezer for several months but should be thawed properly before cooking.

Where to buy

There are several options for purchasing octopus, squid, and calamari:

  • Fishmongers: Local fishmongers are a great source of fresh, high-quality seafood. They are knowledgeable and can provide advice on choosing and preparing cephalopods.
  • Supermarkets: Some supermarkets stock fresh or frozen cephalopods in the seafood section. Ensure you pay attention to the quality and freshness indicators discussed earlier in this article.
  • Online retailers: Numerous retailers specialize in seafood, offering fresh or frozen octopus, squid, and calamari. When purchasing online, choose a reputable supplier with positive reviews and a commitment to sustainability.

Prices and budget considerations

 cost of octopus, squid, and calamari

The cost of octopus, squid, and calamari can vary depending on seasonality, quality, and location. While it is important to consider your budget, it is also essential to maintain quality and sustainability. Look for special offers, but always check for freshness and reputable sources.

Health benefits and nutritional information

In addition to being delicious, octopus, squid, and calamari are also nutritious. They are low in fat and protein, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Moreover, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health, and essential minerals like zinc, copper, and selenium.

Diverse flavours and culinary potential

One of the most enticing aspects of octopus, squid, and calamari is their versatility in the kitchen. They can be cooked in various ways, including grilling, frying, braising, or boiling. They are also fantastic ingredients for pasta, risotto, and seafood stews. Experiment with different recipes, spices, and cooking techniques to create mouth-watering meals that showcase these cephalopods’ unique flavours and textures.


Buying octopus, squid, and calamari can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to explore new flavours, textures, and dishes. By understanding the differences between these cephalopods, prioritising freshness, choosing fresh and frozen options, and considering sustainable sourcing, you will be well-equipped to make the best choices. With proper storage, preparation, and a wealth of culinary potential, these delicious sea creatures will surely become a favourite in your kitchen.

Read Also:

Spread the love

You may also like

Leave a Comment