Crabs are prepared in their own unique style all over the world. In Southeast Asia for example, there are heavily spiced masala crabs, but in the Chesapeake Bay region blue crab is often eaten with Old Bay Seasoning. The method of preparation even differs per crab, soft-shell crabs can be eaten whole, while only the meat of the claws and legs of snow crabs are eaten.
Look for active, wriggly live crabs, they should feel heavy for their size when handled. This usually indicates a juicy, meaty find, rather than one that is nearly all shell.
A male crab has a long, narrow, inverted "T" shaped flap on its abdomen and a mature female crab is identified as having an inverted "U" or bell-shaped flap. Male crabs tend to be more meatier than their female counterpart and for some crab species it’s even illegal to eat the females.
Keep live crabs in a moist environment of around 48-58 °F. Do not put them in a sealed container or submerge them in water otherwise they will die.
Use the remaining crab shell and legs to make a full-bodied shellfish stock from scratch!
The bright blue blood of the horseshoe crab. is worth $60,000 a gallon because the crab’s amebocyte cells reveal and isolate endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria, which causes shock syndrome, meningitis, and typhoid.
When cooking live crabs, leave them in the freezer for a few minutes before boiling or steaming. This dulls their senses and makes them easier to handle.
To eat the meat in the crab start by cracking the claws with a mallet or a nutcracker. Next break off the legs and suck out the juice and meat. Turn the crab upside down and remove the flap then flip it back over and pry open the top shell. Remove all the parts except for the liver (green yellowish substance). Then break the remaining crab through its length and then in the back you will find a piece of backfin lump, one of the best pieces of the crab.
Calculate your cooking/steaming time as 7 minutes per total average pound.
An easy way to get to the meat in the crab shell is to break off the edible parts of your cooked, whole crab and put them in a strong plastic bag. Whack it with a rolling pin. This releases your pent up frustrations, without leaving a mess.
Crab meat is incredibly low in calories, and is a great source of two beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Crab meat is exceptionally high in vitamin B12, so a few bites of crab is already enough to meet your daily needs.
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