There's quite a bit more to know about Blue Crab if this popular delicacy has just met your eye! The "swimmer crabs" are just that and more, unlike Snow Crab, King Crab, Dungeness, Stone Crab, or Red Rock Crabs. They can swim! Matter of fact, their scientific name is Callinectes sapidus, which translates to "beautiful swimmer, savory." And rightly so!
Not only that, but they can be eaten, not only in hard shell state, but totally, just cutting off a few undesirable members of it's body, can be eaten in it's soft-shell state. They also are identified by various forms and conditions that you find them in. It's important to learn and know the "crab language" when dealing with these unique crabs.
Blue Crab habitat is mainly around the U.S., the Chesapeake Bay area off the Atlantic Ocean, Florida, areas off of the Gulf of Mexico, and can be found as far down as the Bahamas. This species of crab has blue highlights and their shells are extremely sharp! This species of crab can be eaten in it's soft shell form, but is mainly eaten in it's hard shell form.
These crab, in soft-shell crab form, are very mushy-like and the stomach and gill area is thin. You can see through to the meat, as illustrated in the photo below. To eat these crab you have to catch them and process them and cook them before they molt to their hard shell state.
When the these crabs mature, their shells cannot expand, so they molt their exterior shells, leaving a soft covering for a length of days when they are vulnerable and considered marketable (edible).
Crab fishermen often put the crab that is beginning to molt aside and wait until the molting process is complete. Then they will send them to the market as soft-shell crab.
Soft-shell Blue Crab is quite the delicacy among the popular demand for Japanese and Asian food's, but they are mostly eaten while at hard shell form. They are much alike the Dungeness Crab, but not as meaty and especially in the legs. When eaten as a hard-shell, only about 15-20 percent of the crab is eaten. They are very high in vitamin B-12. When you boil the crab, they will turn red. That's when you know they are done.
The Soft-Shelled Crab need be kept alive until the crabs are cleaned and boiled, whether by a customer or a restaurant to be kept fresh. Usually crabs must be eaten within four days of molting to be useful as soft-shell crabs and edible. Their meat is very mild and sweet tasting. After they molt, they begin to rebuild their shells and are crunchy when eaten making the soft shell crab not so desirable.
Soft shell season can be fairly long and can run from the months of May into September. Soft shell blue crab are fairly expensive in the market, but are worth the purchase as soft shells can be eaten whole, which means, no waste!
Always purchase soft shell blues alive.
If you would like the complete low-down on Blue Crab:
...Then, we, at Crab-O-Licious.com highly recommend that you get your hands on the new Louisiana Seafood Bible, The: Crabs. Jerald and Glenda Horst will teach you all you need to know about these crabs, from the trotline and the crab traps to getting them onto your kitchen table! The pages in this book are loaded with clear, beautiful photo's to help and guide you along the way and over a hundred pages of "Crab-O-Licious" crab recipe's!
Try this world famous Blue Crab Cakes
Read about more Types of Crab, here.
Go to our Crab
Homepage and find more useful information and some great recipes!