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Scallop Cleaning 101

How To Clean Florida Gulf Bay Scallps Quick & Efficiently

Scallop Cleaning 101

You just went out for a long day on the boat and caught your 10 gallons of scallops. Well, guess what..........Now you have to clean them! Many people would cringe at the thought of cleaning so many scallops. When people think of scallop cleaning, they think of a hard and messy job. But in all honesty, it is relatively easy and can be done fast and effectively.

The only part you eat on a bay scallop you eat is the adductor muscle. Everything else is waste. Here is a breakdown of how to make your life easy for cleaning your bay scallops.

Bay Scallop

Atlantic Bay Scallop Anatomy By

The first thing you should do after catching the scallops is placing them on ice. This helps keep them good on a hot summer day and allows for the shells to open up automatically. One key to this is to keep them out of the melted water in the bottom of the cooler. If they are submerged in fresh water, they will close and will be extremely hard to get open. I like to keep them in a bag and on ice to allow for them to open and make an easier cleaning process.

Two pieces of equipment you will need is gloves, so you do not cut your hands up and a scallop knife. The scallop knife is the most critical piece of equipment you will need.

Scallop Cleaning

Scallop Cleaning With A Glove

The first thing you will do is hold the scallop in the palm of one of your hands with the dark side of the shell up. Carefully scrape the gills, guts, and adductor muscle away from the top and the shell should open right up. Remove the dark shell and discard. Carefully scrape all gills and guts from around the adductor muscle and when most are free just pull away and discard. This will leave you the scallop meat on the half shell. You can leave it for cooking this way or scrape off the shell and put into a bag. Just repeat this for every scallop you caught, and you will burn through them.

There are many ways to clean the bay scallop, but we have found this to be the most effective and quickest way. If you get your friends involved and form an assembly line, you will have them done in no time. If you think this is not for you and do not want the experience, there are people set up in most cities like Steinhatchee that will clean them for you. Just drop them off and get some dinner and when you return they will be done.

Cleaning Scallops

If you have any questions or comments them leave them below or email us at We would love to hear about other techniques like the shop vac technique or any other way you do them faster and more efficiently. We hope you enjoyed your time catching scallops and even more fun cleaning them.


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