What is Conch (Strombus gigas)?

Conch Conch

Common names for Conch

Queen conch, Bahamas conch, Caribbean conch, pink conch

Other languages for Conch

  • French name: Lambis
  • Italian name: Buccina
  • German name: Schneckenmuschel

Introduction to Conch

Contrary to popular belief, this big warmwater mollusk is not to be confused with the East Coast whelk, commonly known as conch. The queen conch (pronounced “conk”) is a member of the family Strombidae. It is found mainly in the Caribbean, where it utilizes a strong foot to pull itself over the ocean bottom. Conch, which was formerly plentiful, is now endangered, and commercial harvesting is prohibited in the United States. Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, which also exports farmed conch, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic are major suppliers. Conch is abundant in the Bahamas, however it can only be exported as value-added goods. Conch obtained in the wild is often sold frozen. Farming has enabled the availability of live and fresh produce. Conchs, whole and in-shell, weigh between 2 and 4 pounds. Both the flesh and the shell are highly valued. When you purchase conch flesh, you also get the foot. It is offered in three levels of cleanliness (50, 85, and 100 percent viscera-free), and the price varies correspondingly.

Product profile for Conch

Conch has a sweet, somewhat smokey flavor and an almost crunchy texture, comparable to abalone or clam. Raw or cooked, the flesh varies in color from snow-white to mild golden-orange, depending on size. The darker the flesh, the bigger the animal. The meat of young “thin-lipped” conchs is more soft than that of older, “thick-lipped” conchs. Frozen, wild conch might be chewy, while fresh, farmed conch is sweeter and more delicate. The operculum, a protective covering on the foot, needs to be removed before cooking.

Cooking tips for Conch

Conch from a farm cooks faster than wild conch; don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. Tenderize conch before cooking by beating it with a meat mallet or slicing it thinly. For conch salad, marinate sliced conch in lime juice for two hours, or dice for chowder. Dip tenderized steaks in egg wash, roll in flour, then pan fried 5 to 6 minutes on each side for “cracked conch.”

Nutrition facts for Conch

Calories: 130 Fat Calories: 11 Total Fat: 1.2 g Saturated Fat: 0.4 g Cholesterol: 65 mg Sodium: 153 mg Protein: 26.3 g Omega 3: 0.1 g

Primary product forms for Conch

Live Fresh: Meat Frozen: Cooked meat Value-added: Canned, Chowder, Fritters, Marinated meat

Global supply for Conch

Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Iran