Seafood remains popular as consumers look for simple, healthy meal choices. The benefits of eating fish and other seafood are being reported almost daily, with governments all over the planet endorsing seafood as an essential part of a healthy diet. In addition to health benefits, consumers like the ease of preparation, versatility and rich flavor that seafood offers. When choosing main courses, these attributes make fish and seafood an excellent addition to weekly meal plans.

Fish and seafood is available in a myriad of forms. Seafood markets and other outlets offer fresh fish, often just hours from being caught. Surprisingly, extremely fresh seafood can be purchased online. Items are immediately cleaned and prepared to cook then rushed to the purchaser, packed in dry ice which keeps the product chilled during shipment. A few specialty online stores even ship live crustaceans, and mollusks in special containers that insures the precious cargo will arrive in peak condition. Popular live shipped seafood includes lobsters, crabs, oysters, scallops, clams, mussels and other shellfish.

Another option for fresh seafood is to join a community catch share program. These innovative marketing plans provide a means of connecting consumers to fishermen. Members pay a fee in advance for a specified amount of seafood. When harvesting occurs, members are notified and arrive to pick up the freshest seafood imaginable, typically right off the boat. Community catch share programs are an excellent way to get quantities of exceptional quality seafood at a reduced price.

Frozen products are an excellent choice when purchasing seafood. Frozen fish and shellfish are available not only from seafood markets, but at practically any grocery or specialty food store. Frozen products are usually harvested, processed and flash frozen at sea. Other species are iced and rushed to port, then flash-frozen and sent to retailers. Of particular interest to gourmet cooks are frozen fish in vacuum packaging or coated with a protective coating of ice.

Smoked and dried fish is another delicious product that is widely available. Smoking enhances flavor, concentrates beneficial fish oils and preserves fish. Vacuum packaging protects the product and eliminates the need for refrigeration. Many of the most sought after and respected seafood main courses are smoked products such as wild salmon, char, cod, haddock, saithe, mackerel, herring, dogfish and other species of fish. Standard smoked products are available in most retail outlets while gourmet products can be found in specialty shops or via online seafood stores. As with other fish, premium product is sometimes available direct from the fishermen.

Surprisingly, even canned seafood can offer impeccable quality. Canned seafood does not need refrigeration and can be stored for months or longer. Everyone is familiar with canned tuna, but there are plenty of other canned seafood products, many of which are delicious, healthy and easy to prepare. Canned fish and other seafood is available in a variety of forms, from large sizes down to single serving travel containers. Some of the most popular fish species available as canned products include tuna, salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring and other well known fish. Other seafood offered as canned products includes crab meat, lobster meat, oysters, clams, mussels, cockles, cold water shrimp and others. Non-traditional packaging is also offered, with foil pouches being a frequent choice for consumers.

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