How To Eat Maryland Blue Crab?

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How To Eat Maryland Blue Crab
How to eat steamed Maryland crab like a local, explained in 7 steps Certain foods are intuitive to eat, like popcorn or a burger. You just grab them and go. Other dishes take more effort and precision, like Maryland’s famous steamed blue crabs. At first glance, the delicacy can be intimidating to the uninitiated.

There are the seemingly impenetrable shell and beady little eyes to avoid. To clear up confusion about how to eat Maryland blue crabs, we went to Baltimore to talk to Damye Hahn, whose family has owned since 1886. Housed in the historical Lexington Market, Faidley’s is a Maryland seafood institution best known for its award-winning lump crab cakes.

But visitors can get their crab in a lot of ways at Faidley’s. Beyond the lump crab cake, there’s crab soup, soft-shell crab sandwiches and steamed crabs, among other preparations. Sample the different ways to eat Maryland blue crab to taste the crustacean in all its glory.

  1. The difference between Maryland and everywhere else is that we have this freshwater influx into a brackish Chesapeake Bay,” Hahn says.
  2. Most other areas are saltwater.
  3. So it makes a sweeter crab.” Order the steamed crabs, get a “Baltimore margarita” (National Bohemian beer served in a glass with an Old Bay rim) and start cracking.

Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.1. Pull out the apron and take off the back. The very first step of picking crab is to take off its “apron,” a small piece of shell that runs along its abdomen. On female blue crabs, the apron looks like the U.S. Capitol Building.

  1. On males, it looks like the Washington Monument.
  2. Once you rip that off, dig your thumb in to remove the back shell.2.
  3. Remove the gills and insides.
  4. Turn over the crab to remove its gills and other innards.
  5. Because the gills have been filtering waste and other unwanted particles, they’re not something you want to eat.

An optional step is to remove the eyes here, too.3. Break the crab in half. To get into the meat, break the crab in half but leave the legs on. Each leg is attached to a cell where the meat is hiding.4. Squeeze and peel the membrane shell. On one half, access the crabmeat more easily by squeezing down on the membrane shell, cracking it, then peeling it back.5.

  • Twist and pull the leg meat.
  • Twist each leg to break off each cell of meat.6.
  • Use a mallet to crack the claw.
  • Pull the meat out.
  • You’ll need a mallet or hammer to get to the meat inside the claw.
  • Use the tool to crack it open, and pull the meat out.7.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  • Once you’ve cracked, peeled and hammered your way into that crab, it’s time to eat your hard-earned meat.

But watch out for rogue shell bits. : How to eat steamed Maryland crab like a local, explained in 7 steps

Can you eat the shell of a Maryland blue crab?

WHAT ARE SOFT SHELL CRABS? – Many consider soft shell crabs to be a delicacy, and a way to enjoy crabs without the arduous task of picking them. Soft shells are any crab that has molted within the last 12 hours. During that time the shells are soft and papery, so they can be eaten whole, claw to claw, with the exception of the gills and parts of the abdomen.

These parts are removed prior to being cooked, so diners can eat with abandon. Crabs typically molt between 18 and 23 times during their life, and they can mate only when a female is molting. Because the crab spends only about 12 hours as a soft shell, crabbers look carefully for the sign that a crab is about to molt — the development of a line on the last leg, known as the paddler fin, that starts out white and progresses to pink and then red as it grows closer to molting.

These pre-molting crabs, known as peelers, are usually held in a special shedding tank until they bust out of their old shells. The then-valuable softies are removed from the water to prevent hardening of their shells before they are cooked and eaten.

Before finding their way to a plate, soft shells are typically fried with a seasoned batter or sautéed, It ‘s hard not to love something deep fried, but many natives consider sautéing the better option to not overwhelm the sweetness of the meat. Both methods preserve the fatty mustard inside and typically lead to a crab gushing with juice.

At most Maryland seafood restaurants, soft shells are served as a sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato or plain on a platter to enjoy with a fork and knife. But obviously many chefs have taken the classic further, putting them in the pervasive soft shell sushi roll, as well as in tacos and on top of pizzas.

Are Maryland blue crabs good eating?

The meat from these little guys are packed with protein and B vitamins. It may have ‘cake’ in the name, but don’t let that fool you. Fresh crab cakes actually have some nutritionally beneficial parts to them.

Do blue crabs carry parasites?

Summer brings crab feasts-and concerns for Chesapeake blue crabs Find related stories on the NSF, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program, It’s almost summer. Seafood restaurants from coast-to-coast are serving platter after platter of steaming crabs, ready for hammering and picking.

  1. The supply seems endless, but is it? Not if we’re talking about blue crabs from Chesapeake Bay.
  2. The bay’s iconic blue crab population has dropped to levels not seen since before restrictions were placed on the fishery more than five years ago.
  3. What’s to blame? A long and, by Mid-Atlantic standards, brutal winter has been fingered as one culprit.

In one of the worst die-offs in recent history, more than a quarter of the Chesapeake’s blue crabs perished in the frigid waters. More than cold water to blame But that’s not the only factor, says disease ecologist Jeff Shields of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences in Gloucester Point, Va.

  • To help determine what’s infecting Chesapeake blue crabs and other crustaceans, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Shields a grant through the joint NSF-NIH Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program.
  • “We know very little about how disease affects populations of marine invertebrates and even less about how disease might interact with other stressors, such as overfishing,” says Dave Garrison, director of NSF’s Biological Oceanography Program, which also funded the research.
  • “This study is a major step toward discovering new ways of wisely managing our coastal resources.”
  • One Chesapeake Bay blue crab killer may be a single-celled parasitic dinoflagellate named Hematodinium, a scourge that infects blue crabs and is of concern in fisheries not only in the Chesapeake, but around the world.
  • Outbreak in the crab pot and the shedding house

The parasite was first reported along the U.S. East Coast in the 1970s and found in the Chesapeake’s blue crabs in the 1990s. In a Hematodinium outbreak, some 50 percent of crabs caught in fishing pots may die. That number jumps to 75 percent in “shedding houses” where crabs molt their shells, then are collected for the soft-shell industry.

“Infection is almost always fatal-for the crabs,” says Shields, who adds that the disease isn’t harmful to humans. In a breakthrough for blue crabs, Shields and colleagues recently succeeded in their effort to uncover the life history of Hematodinium, “Describing the entire life cycle of Hematodinium is an important step toward controlling the infection,” says Shields.

“With all the parasite’s stages in culture in the lab, we can learn when Hematodinium is most infectious.” The biologists made their discovery by looking at many parasite generations over a year-long period. Answers under a microscope Through the research, scientists now know that Hematodinium takes some 40 to 50 days to develop.

  • That matches what we see in the field,” he says.
  • We think infection is linked with blue crabs’ molting cycles.” Hematodinium usually infects young crabs.
  • Some 50 to 70 percent of juvenile blue crabs along the Virginia coast carry the pathogen, “and it’s prevalent in bays and inlets along the entire U.S.
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East Coast,” says Shields. The high cost-to the crab population and to the humans that depend on it-comes in the deaths of young blue crabs before they can make their way from coastal spawning grounds to brackish tributaries, where they become large enough to legally catch.

“Imagine a harvest with 50 percent more crabs,” says Shields. “The toll exacted by Hematodinium is very clear.” The parasite is after more than blue crabs, however. “You can’t fish out the blue crabs somewhere and hope this pathogen will be gone,” says Shields. “It’s also in many other crustaceans, including spider crabs, rock crabs and other swimming crabs.” Insights from the bay’s shape Outbreaks of Hematodinium are linked with certain geographic features, such as shallow bays, lagoons and fjords.

“Such features are ideal for the growth and spread of pathogens, as they serve to focus transmissive stages or retain them within the system,” writes Shields in a paper published in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology,

  1. Four factors may facilitate epidemics of Hematodinium and other pathogens: relatively “closed” host (crab) populations, with little immigration and emigration of juveniles and adults; bays with restricted water exchange with the open ocean, which hold in pathogens; stressful environmental conditions, such as overfishing and seasonal hypoxia, or “dead zones”; and pathogens that can rapidly multiply.
  2. “The Chesapeake has several of these features,” Shields says.
  3. Managing for pathogens

Shields and colleagues are working to understand how Hematodinium is transmitted in wild crustacean populations and at shrimp farms and other aquaculture operations. “We hope to develop ‘best practices’ for managing, in particular, the Chesapeake’s wild blue crabs.” Diseases can have serious effects on commercial fisheries, Shields says.

  • Too few fishery models use information like disease prevalence and distribution, according to Shields, and fisheries management decisions often don’t consider disease.
  • “Estimates of disease-induced effects such as mortality or ‘negative marketability’ can be incorporated into existing models to improve stock assessment and management,” Shields writes in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.
  • Disease may be the sleeper in the decline of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab.
  • Hard-hit by freezing temperatures, low-oxygen waters and overfishing, unless disease is taken into account, believes Shields, the next blue crabs caught may be headed not to your dinner table, but to the crustacean equivalent of the ICU.

: Summer brings crab feasts-and concerns for Chesapeake blue crabs

Can you eat everything in a blue crab?

How to Eat Blue Crab – You’ll want to purchase 1 pound of crab per person when eating blue crab. Once the crabs are cooked and they have a little bit of seasoning on them, we’re going to take the legs off the crabs. They should be easy to twist off. When removing the legs, you’ll want to have a work surface that’s easy to clean up.

  • Throw some newspaper down to aid with the clean-up.
  • Set the claws aside because that’s the best part.
  • After the legs are removed, you’re going to turn the crab over.
  • With the crab inverted, you’ll want to remove the apron, also known as the tail flap.
  • Sometimes it’s easiest just to take a knife and pull it up.

Discard it once you’ve taken it off. By removing the apron, you’ve made a perfect pocket for your fingers to get in between the crab and break it apart. Insert your thumb under the shell by the apron hinge and pry off the top shell. Discard the shell after it’s been separated.

  1. Inside you should see lots of crab meat.
  2. Some people are a little intimidated by the green stuff that’s in there.
  3. You can use it as a seasoning, but if you don’t want to eat it you can throw it away.
  4. Next, you’ll want to clean the crab.
  5. Pull away the inedible gray gills, also known as the dead man’s fingers, located on both sides of the crab and discard them along with the internal organs.

After discarding them, you want to break the crab in half so you can start to see the meat. Use your fingers and pull the sides apart and remove the lump crab meat. You can pick and eat at the same time — it’s delicious! When it comes to the claws, which we haven’t forgot about, sometimes it’s easy to pop the claw and then pull the meat out and eat it.

What is the yellow stuff in Maryland blue crabs?

Chesapeake Quarterly Volume 11 Number 2: Glossary of Blue Crab Biology Glossary of Blue Crab Biology apron The crab abdomen, which is folded under the body. Atlantic blue crab Known by its scientific name Callinectes sapidus ; in Greek ” Callinectes ” means “beautiful swimmer,” and ” sapidus ” means tasty or savory.

  • buckram crab A crab with a leathery, semi-hard shell, approximately 12 to 24 hours after molting; the stage past the paper shell stage.
  • buster Crab in an advanced stage of molting, wherein the old exoskeleton (hard shell) has cracked under the lateral spines.
  • carapace Top part of the shell of the crab.
  • Crustacea Class of invertebrates to which the Atlantic blue crab belongs; the crab is a crustacean.

dead man’s fingers The gills, elongated, spongy-looking organs. The term probably refers to the fact that the gray “shriveled” gills vaguely resemble the fingers of a dead person. They are not poisonous but do have an unpleasant taste and texture. Remove and discard when cleaning crabs.

  • Doubler Mating crabs; the male carries the soft-shell female crab, which has just completed its terminal molt, beneath it.
  • Hard crab Crab with a fully hardened shell, from about four days after molting.
  • Jimmy crab A male blue crab, distinguishable by its T-shaped apron.
  • Regionally, the apron is said to resemble the Washington Monument.

megalopa (megalopae, pl.) Final larval stage between the zoea and juvenile stage. molt The process by which a blue crab grows larger by periodically shedding its smaller shell. Blue crabs are invertebrates, meaning they lack a spinal column. Instead, crabs have rigid exoskeletons (hard shells).

The shell grows in discrete stages through molting, while growth of internal tissue is more continuous. Unlike male crabs that continue to molt and grow throughout their entire lives, females stop growing when they reach sexual maturity, usually after about 20 molts. During this terminal molt, mating takes place.

mustard Yellow substance found inside a cooked crab. Contrary to popular belief, the “mustard” is not fat, rather it’s the crab’s hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the crab’s blood. Although many find its flavor distinct and delicious, it is recommended that you do not eat this since many chemical contaminants concentrate in the organ.

  1. sally crab or she-crab Immature female, distinguished by a triangular-shaped apron.
  2. shed Either the empty shell or the process of casting off the shell.
  3. soft crab, soft-shell crab A crab immediately after shedding its old shell; its new shell is soft and pliable, and the crab is marketable as a soft-shell.

sook A mature female, distinguished by its bell-shaped apron. Regionally, the apron is said to resemble the dome of the nation’s Capitol building. sponge crab Female crab carrying an egg mass. terminal molt The final molt, usually associated with the female.

What part of crab is not edible?

Remove the “Devil” – This stringy, bitter tasking, substance is actually the crab’s lungs. It is a myth that eating the “devil” will make you sick; it is just that the lungs have an unpleasant taste. Just use your fingers to pinch it, or scrape with a knife to discard.

Can you eat the guts of blue crab?

Crab Innards One of the nicest things about buying live crabs instead of lump crab meat is that you get the whole measure of the animal—not only its succulent flesh, but also its creamy innards and the sweet, briny juices that pool in the curve of the shell.

My usual procedure is to steam the crab with beer and call it a day. The innards, if you can catch them before they fully congeal, are very good to eat straight from the shell. For a change I decided to focus primarily on the innards and see what other preparations could be done with the crab’s internal organs and, when in season, the eggs.

Like the crab meat itself, the taste of what is inside varies depending on the type of crab. On blue claws the innards taste somewhat like caviar; on Dungeness, they are more abundant and custardy in texture, with a sweetness that reminds me of sea urchin.

Blue crab innards. In order to isolate the crab innards and use them as a raw ingredient, I needed to take them apart while they were still alive, which, depending on how you feel about such tasks, is either really interesting or somewhat cruel. It was no trouble at all to take apart the half-dozen blue claws: from point to point they were only five or so inches wide and as I stood over them, they wriggled like large insects underneath the force of my oyster knife and a set of kitchen shears.

Dungeness innards. “Upturned on its back, the crab kicked its legs and clawed at its underside” It was only when I started taking apart the Dungeness that I felt a pang of something—pity, if only for a second—when I jammed my knife underneath the rim of the shell and watched as the legs began flail wildly from the violation.

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Upturned on its back, the crab kicked its legs and clawed at its underside where I had my knife jammed in, as if attempting to free itself from my hold. With the same twisting motion used for opening oysters, I wriggled my knife back and forth to loosen the crab’s body from its shell and in doing so, put an end to its frantic movements.

I was careful to save all of the liquids from inside—sweet oceanic nectar, what I’d been after all along. Most of its innards still clinging to the edges inside the shell. As I had read about from accounts of the Japanese preparation of “crab miso” or kani miso, I placed the shell directly over the stove burner and turned the heat to low.

I poured a bit of sake into the shell. The greyish green contents bubbled vigorously over the small flame. I cooked the parts until they were just heated through. Soft and rich, with a taste not unlike liver, the kani miso was a delight to eat right out the shell, though I saved a portion of it to have on toast and yet another to have with rice.

Though I finished with the innards of the Dungeness, those of the blue claws were delicious scrambled with eggs and folded into stir-fried rice at the last moment. Like an egg, the innards enriched the rice, making the whole dish richer and more complex in taste.

What happens if a blue crab pinches you?

The powerful pinch of a blue crab Tuana Phillips, a staffer with the Chesapeake Research Consortium, holds an adult blue crab during a trip to Smith Island, Md. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program) With its bright blue claws, the is one of the most recognizable species in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • This colorful crustacean’s strong claws allow it to crack open or pry apart the shells of clams, snails, mussels and more in its search for a meal.
  • But blue crabs don’t just use their claws to find food: they can also use the powerful pincers to defend themselves.
  • Their sharp and strong grip can be quite painful, as anyone who has ever been pinched by one can confirm.

And if threatened, a crab may break off a claw or leg to try to escape predators; the limb will later regrow through a process called regeneration. Crab claws have made headlines in the past with viral images and videos showing the crustaceans wielding everything from cigarettes to knives.

  • And though these posts may seem silly, as Jack Cover of Baltimore’s National Aquarium told, the crabs in these images are “absolutely distressed”: either unable to let go of what they’re holding or instinctively clamping their claws in self-defense.
  • If you see a blue crab, it’s best to avoid putting anything—especially your fingers—between its claws.

If you see a blue crab, it’s best to avoid putting anything—especially your fingers—between its claws. If you want to pick up a blue crab, to safely handle it, pick it up from behind where its rear swimming legs connect to the shell. You can also gently step on the crab to make sure it doesn’t move as you try to pick it up.

To be extra safe, wearing crabbing gloves will protect your skin from getting cut. If, despite your best efforts, a crab has pinched you, the best method to get it off is to calmly put your hand back in the water and the crab will release its grip and swim away. Learn more about, the blue crab. Stephanie is the Web Content Manager at the Chesapeake Bay Program.

A native of the Midwest, she received her Bachelor’s in Professional Writing from Purdue University and Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan. Stephanie’s lifelong love of nature motivates her to explore solutions to environmental problems and teach others what they can do to help.

What do Maryland blue crabs taste like?

Maryland Blue Crabs 101 Maryland Blue Crabs 101 The Crabby Facts A Maryland Blue Crab or “Beautiful Savory Swimmer” receives quite a following from diehard seafood connoisseurs. This brief course will give you an overview to the “crabby basics.” Enthusiasts rave over the olive, bluish-green crustacean with delicately white salty-sweet meat,

Blue Crab Trading, a seafood online market presents customers with fat, humungous Blue Crabs measuring upwards to 9 inches and beyond! Water-men sun-scorched and muscles aching from pulling crab pots from flowing Bay estuaries celebrate days when the pots weigh heavy with lively crabs. This delicacy feasts on small fish, clams, snails, eelgrass, and sea lettuce which nourish the Blue Crabs for quite a sweet taste.

Of course, ‘sweet’ here means a briny, ocean flavor with delicately white meat that hints a sweet distinct flavor worth trying. A catch includes both male and female crabs. Both receive exact, traditional grading from smalls (5″-5.5″), mediums (5.5″-6.0″), large (6″-6.5″), extra-large (6.5″-7″), and supers (7″ plus),

  1. Blue Crab Trading gathers all sizes and both male and female into dozen, ½ bushel or bushel quantities,
  2. To keep ultimate taste and freshness, crabs swiftly move from catch to cuisine.
  3. If you think the crabs seem dangerous, you’re right! In fact, before the 1880’s water-men steered clear of the crustacean and its snapping claws.

Therefore, catching and steaming Maryland Blue Crabs began as late as the mid-1880’s when the “dangerous” connotation morphed into a “savory” and tasty mindset. Since then, crabbers follow a sustainability plan to ensure repopulation and healthy proportions exist between species within the Bay’s ecosystem.

  • This process shows appreciation and respect to Nature and the crab species.
  • Giving the crab a natural, healthy environment allows it to molt, shed and then re-grow shells, enabling it to reach full adult size.
  • A mature crab exhibits lump and jumbo succulent meat,
  • How does one achieve his own crab catch? Blue Crab Trading exclusively takes online orders for whichever quantity or gender you choose.

Our crew carefully adheres to Captain James’s sure-winning recipe. Using a traditional grading scale to size, following exact steaming times, and seasoning the crabs to order fills the crab-houses with the watermen’s spirit! Accolades, reviews and cheers acclaim that Blue Crab Trading demands excellence.

  • Many satisfied stomachs assert, “Blue Crab Trading has the best crabs!” Battle of the Crab Sexes Which Blue Crab tastes better: female or male? Many believe that the female crab’s meat boasts denser, sweeter flavor, but agree that the amount of meat differs.
  • Point-to-point comparison weighs the male crab at heavier, but flakier meat.

In fact, NOAA reports the heaviest male crab this last season tipped the scale at 1.1 pounds and a 10.72″ point-to-point length! Distinct visual appearances cause quite a stir. Water-men and the enthusiast quickly know the difference in sexes. Females flash red-tipped claws and a broad abdominal apron likened to the Capitol dome to sack eggs (roe).

  1. Males sport bright blue claws and a narrow abdominal apron compared to the Washington Monument.
  2. Uniqueness doesn’t stop there.
  3. Females enjoy the mouth of the Bay near the ocean for higher salinity water.
  4. This preference causes them to journey to estuaries in Virginia closer to the Atlantic and give them a likely waterway for a female catch.

Returning to the taste, however, both female and male offer delicate, white meat. Preference arises in the consistently flaky male crab meat compared to the female’s dense quality, Now it’s time to decide. Should you feast on an ultimate female catch or male catch? Possibly try both! Super Dooper Crabs! Once a crab-eater falls in love with steamed, spicy Blue Crab, he normally becomes addicted to larger and meatier crustaceans.

  1. One mustn’t fret over such a change; it’s normal.
  2. Searching for the ultimate crab-eating experience that requires less cracking and nibbling motivates the purchase of ‘Super’ crabs.
  3. Once gorging on jumbo pieces of sweet, delicate white super crabmeat, these crab-eaters experience extreme joy,
  4. Behemoth Blue Crabs satisfy this urge.
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These crabs measure 7 plus inches point-to-point. Customers frequently attest, “The supers impress my guests and one crab satisfies, but why stop at one super!” Crab Transport Special Note for Crab Enthusiasts: When selecting a shipping method, two distinct packing materials keep the crabs ready for consumption: gel packs and dry ice.

1 Dozen Feeds Approximately 1-2 People. 1/2 Bushels Feed Approximately 5 people. Bushels Feed Approximately 10 people. Just a Little Review

Blue Crab Trading exclusively takes online orders for all quantities and genders. The crew carefully adheres to Captain James’s sure-winning recipe. Using a traditional grading scale to size, following exact steaming times, and seasoning the crabs to order fills the crab-houses with the watermen’s spirit! Blue Crabs boast jumbo, lump and claw salty-sweet meat, perfect for hot clarified butter dipping. : Maryland Blue Crabs 101

Why are Maryland blue crabs so expensive?

Known for their delicate and subtly sweet flavor, blue crabs are a perennial icon of Washington region seafood culture. But, for the last few summers, they’ve been more costly than ever before. Low harvests, escalating supply costs, and intense labor shortages help explain why.

Does blue crab taste different than regular crab?

Fast facts –

Blue crabs eat plants, snails, other seafood, dead fish, and almost anything else on offer, including their own species if they’re hungry enough! Bottom trawls, dredges, and traps are used to catch the crabs. They play an important role in many ecosystems, especially the Chesapeake Bay, where they manage the populations of other fish and marine animals. Compared to a Dungeness crab, the blue variety has more sweetness and less brine flavor. Its texture is more delicate without the “meaty feel” that you get from a Dungeness, Blue crabs enjoy the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mid Atlantic, along the coast from Mexico to Maine. Useful substitutions include lobster meat or other varieties of crab.

Related reading: What do scallops taste of? The best Old Bay Seasoning substitutes, What does an octopus taste like? What do sea urchins taste like?

Does blue crab taste like regular crab?

What Does Blue Crab Taste Like? – Blue Crabs have a taste very similar to that of shrimps and any other ocean creature. These crabs also have a sweet aftertaste that attracts most of their audience. The white meat within the blue shell is mildly marine and salty with hints of delicate sweetness.

What part of crab is not edible?

Remove the “Devil” – This stringy, bitter tasking, substance is actually the crab’s lungs. It is a myth that eating the “devil” will make you sick; it is just that the lungs have an unpleasant taste. Just use your fingers to pinch it, or scrape with a knife to discard.

Can you eat the guts of blue crab?

Crab Innards One of the nicest things about buying live crabs instead of lump crab meat is that you get the whole measure of the animal—not only its succulent flesh, but also its creamy innards and the sweet, briny juices that pool in the curve of the shell.

  1. My usual procedure is to steam the crab with beer and call it a day.
  2. The innards, if you can catch them before they fully congeal, are very good to eat straight from the shell.
  3. For a change I decided to focus primarily on the innards and see what other preparations could be done with the crab’s internal organs and, when in season, the eggs.

Like the crab meat itself, the taste of what is inside varies depending on the type of crab. On blue claws the innards taste somewhat like caviar; on Dungeness, they are more abundant and custardy in texture, with a sweetness that reminds me of sea urchin.

  1. Blue crab innards.
  2. In order to isolate the crab innards and use them as a raw ingredient, I needed to take them apart while they were still alive, which, depending on how you feel about such tasks, is either really interesting or somewhat cruel.
  3. It was no trouble at all to take apart the half-dozen blue claws: from point to point they were only five or so inches wide and as I stood over them, they wriggled like large insects underneath the force of my oyster knife and a set of kitchen shears.

Dungeness innards. “Upturned on its back, the crab kicked its legs and clawed at its underside” It was only when I started taking apart the Dungeness that I felt a pang of something—pity, if only for a second—when I jammed my knife underneath the rim of the shell and watched as the legs began flail wildly from the violation.

  1. Upturned on its back, the crab kicked its legs and clawed at its underside where I had my knife jammed in, as if attempting to free itself from my hold.
  2. With the same twisting motion used for opening oysters, I wriggled my knife back and forth to loosen the crab’s body from its shell and in doing so, put an end to its frantic movements.

I was careful to save all of the liquids from inside—sweet oceanic nectar, what I’d been after all along. Most of its innards still clinging to the edges inside the shell. As I had read about from accounts of the Japanese preparation of “crab miso” or kani miso, I placed the shell directly over the stove burner and turned the heat to low.

I poured a bit of sake into the shell. The greyish green contents bubbled vigorously over the small flame. I cooked the parts until they were just heated through. Soft and rich, with a taste not unlike liver, the kani miso was a delight to eat right out the shell, though I saved a portion of it to have on toast and yet another to have with rice.

Though I finished with the innards of the Dungeness, those of the blue claws were delicious scrambled with eggs and folded into stir-fried rice at the last moment. Like an egg, the innards enriched the rice, making the whole dish richer and more complex in taste.

How much of a blue crab is edible?

Buying and Storing Tips – The consumer is probably better off purchasing the crabmeat already prepared unless the picking is incorporated into a “crab boil” or “picnic type” activity. When purchasing live blue crab, make sure that there is some leg movement; if there is no leg movement or the shell is broken, the blue crab should be discarded.

  1. Live crab should be stored at 50°F in a breathable environment such as a paper bag.
  2. Do not store blue crab directly on ice; it will kill them.
  3. Three to four crabs in shell are enough for one serving.
  4. Fresh or pasteurized cooked crabmeat is usually available for purchase as lump, flake, or claw meat.
  5. Lump meat consists of whole lumps from the large body muscles that operate the swimming legs.

Flake meat consists of small pieces of white meat from the body. Claw meat consists of brownish-tinged meat from the claws. You can store an opened pasteurized crab product at the coldest part of your refrigerator (40 degrees or less) for up to 6 months.

If open, pasteurized crabmeat should be consumed within three days. Fresh blue crab meat should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator and consumed within 7 to 10 days. Blue crabs in seafood markets usually are sold by the dozen. An average blue crab weighs about 1/3 pound, but the edible portion is quite low.

An experienced crab picker can produce about 2 1/4 ounces of meat from each pound of live blue crabs. This is about a 14 percent yield. The actual yield depends on the size of the individual crab and the experience of the crab picker. One-sixth of a pound of blue crab meat is enough for one serving. Figure 1. Donald E. Sweat, UF/IFAS Extension Marine Agent, demonstrates the preparation of blue crabs. Credit: UF/IFAS

What part of the crab body is edible?

How to Remove Meat From a Crab There are two types of meat found in a crab, white and brown. The milder white meat is found in the claws and the body of the crab and the richer brown meat in the main shell. Once the crab is cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool completely.