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Seafood Species: Grouper

Groupers are members of the Serranidae family of fish. The Serranidae has more than 400 species in temperate and tropical waters and are common around coral reefs and rock outcroppings of the coastal shelf. This location makes groupers and other family members accessible to hook-and-line fishing and less vulnerable to trawl fishery.

Two genera of groupers are caught throughout Florida: Mycteroperca and Epinephelus. Mycteroperca groupers, such as the gag and black, have long, compressed bodies. Epinephelus groupers, such as the red and Nassau, have more robust bodies. Although grouper vary in size and weight, they are most commonly marketed from five pounds to 20 pounds. Groupers have large, white-flaked flesh containing no intermuscular bones. The skin is tough and strongly flavored and should be removed during cleaning.

Grouper can be purchased fresh or frozen, as gutted fish, fillets, and steaks. Store fresh grouper in the refrigerator at 32-38 degrees F. and use within one or two days, or freeze at 0 degrees F. and use within six months.

Grouper lends itself well to any form of cooking. Because it is a lean fish , some basting is necessary while broiling or baking to keep the flesh from drying out. Grouper heads are cartilaginous and produce a rich stock base. These heads are the secret of Bahamian conch and fish chowders, plus they make a wonderful stock for bouillabaisse.

Nutritional Information

Approximate nutritional values for 4 ounces (114 grams) of raw, edible portion: calories--120; calories from fat--15; total fat--2 grams; saturated fat-- 0.5 grams; cholesterol-- 55 milligrams; sodium-- 65 milligrams; carbohydrate-- 0 gram*; protein-- 23 grams; calcium-- 0% RDI**; iron--2% RDI.

* Dietary fiber and sugars exist in insignificant amounts in seafoods.
** RDI means Recommended Daily Intake.