Freezing Blue Crab without cleaning or cooking first.

by JP

It was late and I was tired coming in from fishing and I had thrown in some ice to cool the crabs. I just washed the crabs off with clear water (they were still alive), then, I put them in a zip lock freezer bag and put them in the freezer without cleaning or cooking them. Should I throw them out since it seems I did the wrong thing?

Sure don't want to get sick from doing the wrong thing. Replies-Transporting and storing live Blue Crabs are more challenging than handling any other seafood. As we mainly specialize in handling of Dungeness Crab we always refer to Louisiana Seafood Bible, The: Crabs
According to the authors, getting live Blue Crabs home from their place of capture or purchase is the first challenge. Freshly caught crabs or those that have been properly stored in a seafood cooler can withstand an hour or so of transport with no special protection beyond being protected as best as possible from direct sunlight and wind.

The absolutely best way to prepare live blue crabs from longer transport is to slush them in an ice-water bath for four to five minutes. Slushing is easiest to do if the crabs are in a wooden, plastic, or metal basket or a plastic seafood lug. They say not to immerse the crabs for longer than five minutes, as a long soak may kill them.

For whatever container used, a wet burlap sack or several layers of newspaper should be placed on top the crabs in the container. Slushed crabs can be transported for eight to ten hours, even in very hot weather, if they are protected from direct wind.

They go on to say if facilities for slushing do not exist, the blue crabs may be kept alive with ice, as long as they are protected from direct contact with the ice. With this said, a layer of ice should be placed on the bottom of the ice chest, followed by wet burlap, and then the crabs. Another layer of wet burlap is spread on top of the crabs and more ice is added.
Blue Crab packed this way can be held alive for as long as 2 days. The drain hole on the ice chest must be left open, to drain melt water and allow oxygen into the ice chest for the crabs to breathe. The lid of the ice chest should be cracked open slightly as well.
Live Blue Crabs can also be stored in a refrigerator or walk-in cooler for up to two days, especially if kept moist with wet newspaper or burlap.

Ideal storage temperatures kept between 35 and 40 degrees. When live blue crabs are to be transported and stored, they should always be paced belly down and back up. An upside down crab will not live as long as a right side up crab...FYI! Unless crabs are sluggish from being thoroughly chilled, they are most safely handled with metal or wooden tongs. A large male blue paw crab can deliver a nasty pinch.

They go on to say that a less desirable, but feasible option for transporting and holding blue crabs is to ice them as one would ice shrimp or fish. Since this will kill the crab, it is imperative to inspect the crabs individually before icing them to be sure they are alive. An iced spoiled crab cannot be differentiated from an iced crab when they are unpacked later.

Iced Blue Crabs will experience some textural changes in their meat. The changes may or may not be noticeable. Iced crabs are also a little harder to peel, as the meat will stick slightly to the shell.

With all this said, JP, it's your call whether or not they are still good or not. We hope that they are and we hope this helps!

We highly recommend the above book we commented from. They know their Blue Crab and it's full of great information from catching them all the way to some very delicious recipe's you can try! Enjoy!

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What do you think is the best way to freeze crab?

by Jessica
(Maple Valley, WA)

We have been catching crab for many years. But we have yet to find the best way to freeze our crab for later enjoyment. What do you think is the best way to freeze crab? Replies-At our house, we like to vaccuum seal them. Generally speaking, this way we have enjoyed our annual catch for up to year after cooking them! We freeze both whole crab and just legs/knuckles this way... (legs/knuckles take up less space) I suggest that you get a decent vaccuum sealer if you don't have one aleady and you, too, can ENJOY! the fruits of your labors year-round!

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Freezing Red Crabs Before Cleaning

by Glo
(BC Canada)

Is it safe to freeze red rock crabs overnight in a freezer before being cleaned?
Will freezing the crabs overnight kill them?
I used to use an axe and cut them in half and clean and freeze them, but I don't have an axe. Only a sharp knife. I want this to be quick for them.
Glo Replies-No, it is not safe to put live crabs overnight into a freezer before cleaning and killing them.

I know that Red Rock Crabs shells are much harder than Dungeness Crabs or Blue Crabs, however, you should be able to still lift the shell off the body as easily as the others. Take a sharp knife and poke the crab between the eyes. They will die painlessly and instantly.

Next, from the behind of the crab, lift just under the shell and pull up. It's much simpler that using an axe or a hammer and causes less damage to remove the hard shell.

Hammer's or mallets are basically used on the claws of crabs. The claws are much tougher than the shells and being much smaller, too, makes getting at the meat easier than trying to cut through to the meat with seafood shears.
Hope this helps!

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Can you freeze crab after catching them or do you have to boil them and then freeze them?

Can you freeze dungeness crab after catching them or should you boil them first then freeze? Replies-IF you clean them "live" you can freeze them w/o cooking them. Otherwise cook them first ASAP and then freeze them...cleaned or not. NEVER freeze live crab! They will die and then... they are no good!Remember, dead crab is BAD crab.

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Whole crabs

Can you freeze crabs whole? Replies-ABSOLUTELY! As long as they are cooked first! We have and do freeze crab this way all the time. This way we can bust our butts crabbing while the season is on (kinda short here) and still ENJOY the fruits of our labors year-round!

With that said, you never ever want to freeze whole crab unless you have boiled it, first and foremost. Otherwards, you don't want to go out and catch crab and put it in the freezer without tending to the boiling process. If you do, your chances of getting sick will be sky-high.

Also, we highly suggest that you vacuum seal those whole crabs, too. You can keep them freezer-burn-free for over a year! If you don't have a vacuum sealer, make sure that you do your best to wrap the crabs good and tight and avoid puncturing the package. We always cut off the pointy tips on our Dungeness Crab before wrapping them for the freezer. Take good care of your catch! Enjoy!

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How to freeze soft shell blue crab?

How do you freeze soft-shell blue crab? Do you have to cook them? If so how? Replies-Well to be honest, we have never had Blue crab so.... It has been through educating ourselves and tips and tricks from other blue crabbers that we share our knowledge. I would treat them the same way as as we treat Dungeness crab! That is, in order to freeze them, either one of two things needs to happen.

(1) They should be clean while still live and then the fresh, raw crab can be frozen or...

(2) cook them first by boiling them in your favorite crab boil spices for 15-20 minutes in a good rolling boil. Then they can either be cleaned and frozen or they can be frozen whole and cleaned later when you intend to serve them!

Either way, if it possible, we recommend vacuum sealing your to maintain their freshness for as long as possible. Enjoy! "Catch 'em! Clean 'em! Cook 'em! Eat 'em!"

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Freezing Crab Before Cleaning

by Richard
(New Ibeira, LA. 70560)

Dungeness Crab by

Dungeness Crab by

Can I freeze boiled crabs without cleaning them first? Can I freeze the entire boiled crab? Thanks. Replies-Yes, you can freeze your crab before cleaning them. We do it quite often after a long day out crabbing. We will take the crabs home and boil up a big pot of water and cook them. Then we'll emerge them in cold water to cool them down, drain and dry them out on a towel (as in above picture), and then package and freeze them.

Other times, we will clean them before packaging them, thus just packaging the legs. Other times we'll dig out the crab meat before freezing, but that's rare! We're lazy! Either way is fine. The most important part is BOILING THE CRAB! Good job! Enjoy!

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Crabs in Freezer For 8 Months

by Katie
( Seattle, WA)

I've had some crab in my freezer for about 8 months, now, that I forgot about. Can I still use the meat for crab cakes or has it been way too long? What are some indicators of it being good and bad? Replies-Granted that you processed the crab properly before freezing them, there should be nothing wrong with them except that you forgot them!

Crab, when processed properly and packaged to the freezer, especially if they are vacuumed packed, can keep for 8 months, no problem! We have enjoyed the fruits of our labor for up to a year. And that is only because at that one year's time, we ran out and needed to go out and stock back up!
Properly processed and vacuumed packed crab could keep up to 18 months, maybe more.

Any indicators that the crab IS bad would be is to smell them after they thaw. Do they smell "fishy" or "sour"? If so, they should be tossed out. Katie, if those crabs are bad, you will know.

And, yes!, there is absolutely no reason not to make some crab cakes with the crab meat. Enjoy those whole crabs!

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Can you freeze blue crab before cooking?

by Ralph
(Clearwater, FL)

Can you freeze blue crab before cooking? Replies-Yes, you can freeze blue crab before cooking them, but you should clean them FIRST. Treat Blue Crab just like you would any other type of crab. If you don't want to boil them after catching them, at the very least, you should clean the crabs before freezing.

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freezing/ steaming crab

by JIM

After thawing out previously cooked and cleaned dungeness crab, I steamed the crab to heat up approx. 10 min. (4 med. size crabs). The meat was tuff, chewy, dryed out, and tasteless.

Had crabs in freezer about 1 month. Tryed two other bags of crab and had same results. Have frozen crab many times before with no problem. Using double ribbed zip lock freezer bags. Replies-Hi, Jim! I don't think the problem of having tuff, chewy, dryed out, and tasteless crab is in the bags you are using. It "could be" in how and how long you are boiling the crabs. Like lobster and shrimp, crab can end up tough and tasteless if cooked too long, perhaps crab all the more.

If you are boiling the crabs whole, boil them only for about 18-20 minutes per 2 pounds of whole crab. If you have a big pot full of about 4-5 whole crabs, boiling for only about 30-40 minutes max. For steaming portioned crab (just the legs) 10-12 minutes is plenty if they have already been boiled and cleaned.

Again, it totally sounds like you know what you're doing, maybe you just over boiled the crabs this time. It happens to all of us! When this happens to us we pick out the crab meat and use it in soups, chowers, and casseroles.

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Freeze Crab Claws

by Malky

Can you freeze raw crab claws? Replies-Yes, you can freeze raw crab claws. You can treat them just like you would crab legs, but the plus with crab claws is that you don't necessarily have to boil them before you freeze them. Just make sure you package them properly before freezing them. Then, they're good for future enjoyment!

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Freezing Blue Crabs

by Carrie
(Wesley Chapel)

Can you clean blue crabs and then freeze the raw meat? Will they stay as fresh as if I cooked them right away? Replies-Absolutely! Soft shell crabs are the crab product that freezes the best, according to Jerald and Glenda Horst who authored "Louisiana Seafood Bible."

"Cleaning them before freezing will result in the loss of significant amounts of moisture during the freezing and thawing processes. Each crab should be individually wrapped in plastic cling wrap before freezing. After they are frozen, the wrapped crabs should be put in a heavy-duty, zipper-type freezer bag for storage. Frozen soft-shell crabs can be held for eight to ten months."

They also go on to say, "Rapid freezing of blue crab products is important. Rapid freezing produces small ice crystals in the flesh. Slow freezing forms large ice crystals, which rupture the tissue cells. When the product is thawed, the liquid from the damaged cells, containing the products flavor and moisture, escapes as "thaw loss."

"While fresh water freezes at 32 degrees, the freezing temperatures of most seafood is around 25 degree's, with complete freezing not occurring until 20 degrees. A freezer should be turned to it's coldest setting prior to freezing fresh seafood and may be returned to a higher setting once the product is frozen. However, the lower the storage temperature, the slower enzymatic changes in the seafood will occur."

Hope this helps! Enjoy!

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Uncooked Frozen Crab

My husband caught some crab while fishing and he brought them home alive and stuck them in the freezer. Will they still be okay to eat/cook since they weren't previously cooked? Replies-With PSP and ASP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning/Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) in mind, to be on the safe side, we do not side with any method to freezing crabs before cooking and cleaning them.

Bringing the crabs home alive was well done, but they really should have been boiled/cleaned before freezing.

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Can You Clean and Freeze Crab Before Cooking?

by Crab-O-Licious
(Pacific Northwest)

I was wondering if it is ok to clean the crab and freeze it before cooking it? Replies-Yes! This is especially good news for those who are catching crab, recreational, and would like to fill their freezers.

Our family does this all summer long during crab seasons to have crab on the table all year around.
Just have 3 or 4 people with crabbing licenses, that's 15-20 crabs you can catch per day (times 4 days a week).

We may eat a few that night while cleaning and boiling the crabs, but we couldn't eat them all, so we clean them, boil them and freeze them right away so we can enjoy eating more crab later! (Actually all year around if we get that many stuffed into our freezers!)

See our How to freeze crab page for helpful tips!
Thanks for asking a good question and visiting

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Length of Time Crab in the Refrigerator

I do not want to freeze my cooked crab because more company is coming the next day. How long can it be kept in refrigerator? Replies-If you have cooked your crab and refrigerated it it should keep well for up to 3 to 5 days. If you throw the crab in the freezer it will keep even longer.
But as said, yes, if you cooked it and wanted it set aside and not having to thaw it out as you are expecting company the next day, there is absolutely nothing wrong with storing it in the refrigerator for a few days.
Enjoy your crab!

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How Long to Cool Crabs

by Dawn
(Martinsburg, WV)

How long do crabs need to cool before freezing? Went to an event this evening where steamed crabs were served. Event started at 4 ended at 9. Just getting home and have a bushel of left over crab. Wondering if I can freeze them now or can wait till morning. Kept the crab outside, tonight will be in mid-40's. Replies-I would guess that the crab was cooled well enough by the time you got home. However, keeping them overnight in the mid-40's outside is NOT a good idea! Forties temperature is hardly a safe cold for storing food, especially not seafood, not crab for that matter! Sorry to be harsh, but we do care that you live through enjoying your crab!

Crabs need to be refrigerated well below the 40 degree range temperature and into the lower 30's, just above freezing points. Anything higher, overnight, and outside, I hope you discarded the leftover crab!

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Blue Crab Killing and Freezing

Can you kill blue crabs and freeze before cooking? Replies-Good rule of thumb with Blue Crab is to kill them by steaming them up, first, before freezing them. Pretty much like with Dungeness, but with Blue Crabs even in soft shell stage, you will still want to steam them first.

In hard shell stage you can boil them. With either stage of Blue Crabs you will want to vacuum seal the crabs, too, before freezing, picking the meat out and discarding the rest is best in hard shell stage. That way the shells won't puncture the plastic wrap and leaves more room in the freezer for more crab!

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We bought cooked dungeness crab in Seattle on Sunday.

by Jerry galow
(Austin, texas)

We bought cooked dungeness crab in Seattle on Sunday. They boxed it in dry ice for us. Got home to Austin on Monday afternoon and put it in a frig that runs about 34 degrees. Can we freeze this crab until the weekend?
Thanks. Replies-Oh we love those Seattleites! They really know how to pack the crab! Yes, of course you can freeze the crab till the weekend. You can keep them frozen for proble up to a year as a matter of fact. If you are certain that you are consuming those crabs this weekend, though, you can keep them in the frig. till then as well. It's your call! Enjoy those crabs!

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How long can I keep live-cleaned crab on ice?

by mark
(Everett, WA)

I like to kill and clean before cooking my crab, but always wondered how long I could keep the cleaned crab on ice before cooking? Replies-Technically speaking, if you were to add fresh ice and drain the melted water on a daily basis, I would guess that this could be done for several months. Practically speaking however, it would be best to get your into the freezer A.S.A.P.

If you happen to be out on the water enjoying a little island hopping and crabbing along the way though (you have NO idea how much I miss that)... then your crab should be fine for several days on ice. Enjoy!

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Can you freeze left-over boiled crabs?

Can you freeze left-over boiled crabs? Replies-ABSOLUTELY! In fact that not only works for left-overs but if you are and active recreational crabber that is exactly the thing to do!

Whether you bought your crab live or previously frozen; or if you went out and caught them yourself then you will want to boil them up ASAP and then you can either eat them all (unless you had a good day crabbin' or are REALLY hungry) and them you will want to freeze the "leftovers" for later.

The other option for live live crab is to clean them "live" and freeze them for later Enjoy!-ing. Either way I recommend vacuum sealing your crab before freezing to keep them fresh-tasting even longer!

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How long do blue crabs last?

by Mandy

I have these blue crabs, uncooked, in a trash bag and in a deep freezer, will they be okay for a couple days and not go bad? Replies-We can't imagine these Blue Crabs being good or safe at all if you haven't cleaned them first and most importantly. That's just like catching a fish and putting it in a trash bag and putting it in the freezer!

Blood, guts, and all...NOT GOOD IDEA!
We can NOT express enough that you really can't expect fresh and safe results with seafood for consumption if you do not process it properly and in a timely manner.

PLEASE! Don't eat them! And don't waste your time cleaning them and processing them now. It's just not worth the possibility of getting sick over.
Next time you go out and catch some Blues, please allow yourself the extra time to care for your catch and process them so they don't go to waste.

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Freezing fresh whole crab?

by Paula
(Molalla, Oregon)

I caught 8 crabs Saturday (all day long) got ice for cooler for 2.5 hour long drive home.I didn't cook them when I got home, instead I put them in the freezer. Is it still ok to boil them the next morning with out poisoning myself? I was told this would be ok by local commercial crabbers. Replies-Since I see you are from Oregon, I have to believe that you had some of my personal favorite...Dungeness! It is with regrets that I must tell you that these crab are NOT good! I believe they could have made the trip home okay although it would be a good idea to stop halfway and stir up their water to re-oxygenate it but...unfortunately once they were put in the freezer they died. A MOST important thing to remember about Dungeness especially is; Dead crab are BAD crab.

It is true that you can poison yourself because as dungies die they release toxins into the bodies which permeates through all their meat rendering them basically unfit for consumption.

Next trip out, consider cleaning your crab "live" and just put the legs/knuckles on ice. That way they (legs) can either be frozen raw or boiled up and frozen later. Enjoy!

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Can you freeze live crabs?

Can you freeze live crabs in a zip lock bag? Replies-NO! Please! Let me expound... freezing live crab will cause them to die and DEAD crab are BAD crab. When they die, toxins are released into their whole body which makes them unfit to eat.

We HIGHLY recommend cooking them right away OR cleaning them while they are alive (not for the sqeamish).... That way (cooked or "live cleaned") they can be safely frozen for your enjoyment later!

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I would like to refreeze my crab. I have read the instructions. Two questions:

1. How do I handle the crab upon defrosting when ready to use (I am afraid of the contamination of the meat with the guts still inside the crab)?

2. Can I reheat the crab (as my wife likes hot crab) or does it have to be served chilled? Replies-Here at Crab-O-Licious we, too, frequently freeze our crab to enjoy later. To answer your questions directly:
1. upon defrosting whole crab, we reboil them until VERY warm, then clean them, and then we steam the legs/knuckles until HOT and finally....we FEAST! so the answer to #2 is YES! you can definitely re-heat them.....ENJOY!

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Freezing Live Crab

by Tina
(San Francisco, CA, )

I bought some live Dungeness crab a few days ago and had them clean and then put in the freezer right away without precooking them. Is this ok? And will the crab still be to cook? Please let me know if I will have to discard the crab. Replies-Freezing crab before precooking them isn't our best advice to you, however, some fearless crab-lover's have told us that they have done the same as you and have taken them out if the freezer and cooked them without unhealthy side effects. With this said, it's your call.

We would recommend cooking them thoroughly, at least 20-30 minutes before consuming. Also, check for freshness in smell (nice/total "crabby-scent") and normal coloring of the meat. If it's "ify" (abnormal coloring of the meat, green/black, or sour smell at all) consider discarding.

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Can i freeze blue crab and boil after freezing or should they be boiled before freezing?

by Larry
(Bradenton, Florida)

Can I clean and freeze blue crab and boil after freezing? Replies-Yes you can. In fact, that happens to one of our biggest recommendations, especially for people who don't always the time to boil them right away. Whether it be Blue Crab, Dungeness Crab, Red Rock or what-have-you, as long as they are cleaned FIRST, you can freeze them raw for Enjoy!-ing later. If you happen to vacuum seal them before freezing they will keep for months! (We just enjoyed some Dungeness crab that we cleaned live, vacuum sealed and froze over 4 months ago! DELICIOUS!)
So remember...Clean them live first, freeze them and....Enjoy! them.

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Cooking Freezing Stone Crabs

by Mikel Jordan
(Bradenton, FL, USA)

I catch stone crabs. I have always been told you have to cook them prior to freezing. I've done this for years, but I have no idea why. Any suggestions? Replies-Cooking crabs, stone or any other types of crab should be handled pretty much in the same like manner...carefully! We totally promote cleaning and cooking crab before freezing them as a good rule of thumb for safety for consumption. Why?

Well, when you think of it, why shouldn't you treat crab like any other kind of fish? You don't go salmon or halibut fishing, make a catch and put them in the freezer without gutting them, do you? Of course not! Why would you put crab in the freezer without taking certain steps likewise to care for the precious meat?

On top of this, will all the different wastes in our oceans these days it's never too much of a bother to care for the crab you catch if you want to consume it safely!

Hope this helps! Enjoy! And, good luck on your future stone crab catches!

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Reheating refrigerated crabs

How do I reheat whole crabs after storing in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days? Replies-It is quite simple. At our house we simply put the crab legs in double-pot pasta cooker and steam the crab legs until hot and ready. Another solution would be to re-boil them for a shorter period of time than cooking them. Either way will work fine and also give you a chance to re-season them some if you like.

I would like to recommend however that, in the future, if you know you will not be eating your leftover crab for 3-5 days you may want to freeze them instead. Re-heating is the same and by freezing them you enjoy more of a fresh cooked flavor. Enjoy!

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Freezing Jersey Blue Crab

by C Zappia

How should I freeze Jersey Blue Crab? Cooked,clean then freeze? Cleaned,raw and freeze? Help me please..Czap Replies-We would treat Jersey Blue Crab the same as any other type of crab.

Clean crab and then read up on how to boil the crab before freezing them to ensure your consumption safety.

Also, read How To Freeze Crab....! This will help! Best...

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Can you freeze uncooked Dungeness Crabs?

by Crab-O-Licious

If the Dungeness Crabs are alive, some people will freeze them for about 20 minutes-MAX, only to kill them off before cooking them.

It is not recommended to freeze live crabs to be cooked at a later time due to the risk of deadly toxins setting in the meat.

If you have live Dungeness Crabs, it's best to either...

1) Clean them from the innards and shell, then boil them. Or you can...

2)Keep them alive until water is boiled and and bring back to a boil for about 20-30 minutes.

If your crabs are dead and they have not been cooked, the best thing to do is call them a loss and toss them out. Do not eat them. If they have been frozen for longer than 20 minutes, please do the same...throw them out. Please! Do not eat them.

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Can you freeze crab before you cook it?

by Dana
(New Jersey)

Can you freeze crab (in the shell) before you cook it? Replies-Well, it seems to me that you are asking two questions with one inquiry. Let me explain. To answer the question: Yes! you can freeze crab before cooking it but....(the second question) No! you cannot freeze it in the shell without cooking it first.

In order to freeze whole crab (in the shell) it must be cooked first. To freeze it uncooked would be to kill it and as we stress here....Dead crab is BAD crab. You can, however, freeze fresh, uncooked crab (legs/knuckles) provided that you first clean the crab live. Further information on the process for doing so can be found elsewhere on the web site. Enjoy!

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Can I freeze snow crab raw?

by John
(Nova Scotia)

Can I freeze snow crab raw? Replies-I will say yes BUT....only under this condition: They MUST BE CLEANED "LIVE" FIRST!

We have had great success freezing raw Dungeness crab LEGS by clean the crab first while they are live and being certain to treat these raw crab legs as we would any fresh sea food. We also strongly recommend vacuum sealing if you have that ability. This will guarantee you an even longer freezer life and helps to preserve that "just caught" flavor we all know and love.

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Live blue crab directly into the freezer?

by Dawn W.

I was wondering if they will be good for me to eat two days later. They were alive well and kicking. I was told to just place them in freezer right away and they will be ok to cook two days later. I was leery but didn't it anyway and now i hope i can eat them in less than 48 hours. They were wrapped up with newspaper and went right into deep freezer kicking.


Dawn White Replies-Dear Dawn, Unfortunately, they will NOT be good. Whomever told you that it would be "okay" to put live crab in the freezer has given you some BAD advice.

The first rule of live crab is: Either cook it ASAP or clean it while it is still alive and then; ONLY then can fresh, raw crab be frozen. The for this is because if you freeze a live crab it will effectively die and dead crab is BAD crab. When a crab dies, whether by being frozen live or by lack of oxygen (too much time between catching and cooking) it releases toxins which permeate all the meat in its body therefore rendering it unfit for consumption.

I am sorry to say your crab will not be good for eating......REMEMBER this rule-of-thumb for live crab: Cook them ASAP or clean them live first before storing.

Sincerely Yours.... Crab-O-Licious

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Freezing Fresh Crab

by Lenny
(Providence Forge, VA)

Can I freeze crabs I caught today before cleaning and cooking?

Yes and no. Yes, you can wait to clean your crabs, but you still need to boil them before freezing the fresh crabs that you caught today. Then you can package the crabs and freeze them.

You can find more useful information about how you can freeze uncooked crabs, here.

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Freezing live crabs

by Sielna

Is it healthy to freeze live crabs then cook the crabs the next day?

Unfortunately it is not. Freezing live crab will kill them and as we have said before....Dead crab is BAD crab!
When crab die they release toxins into their bodies that permeate all the meat of the crab and thereby render it unfit for human consumption. I always recommend that one either: A) take the 20-30 minutes necessary to boil your crab and then freeze them (whole is fine as you can clean them later) or B) clean them live (not recommended for the squeamish) and freeze the raw crab for enjoyment later. Enjoy!

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Help With Boiling and Freezing Crab

We recently caught some crab at Westport, WA and boiled them until they turned red, then cooled them, then put them in freezer bags and put in our freezer. After we put them in the bags we noticed a yellow liquid which later (within 5 days) turned black. What has happened? Are these crabs still safe to eat? They are the whole crab, we didn't clean them...we were told ok to boil and freeze whole and clean later. Replies-Put your mind at rest! It sounds like you did everything right! The discoloring of the liquid left in with the crab is normal after boiling and then freezing crab whole. This happens to us, too. Sometimes there is light, dark brownish coloring in the liquids to even greenish tones.

Keep in mind that because you have boiled and frozen them whole the crabs still have their innards. This discoloring of the liquid is discolored from them being intact as well as still having their crab butter inside the shells.
This, again, is normal after boiling and freezing before cleaning the crab.

When you decide to have crab dinner, thaw the crabs out, (makes it easier to break them down when cleaning them if they aren't frozen), then clean the crab under cool running water. This liquid will be washed away. After this process you are good to go to steaming them for dinner!

With this all said, Congradulations! And, Enjoy your crab catch!

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Can I freeze whole uncleaned crab?

by Paula
(Molalla, Oregon)

Can I freeze whole uncleaned crab then clean and boil next morning without harming myself or family? Replies-Unfortunately this is not possible unless you freeze the crab ...first.

By freezing whole, uncleaned crab of any kind, you will kill them....and as we can't stress enough, Dead Crab are BAD crab! The way to avoid the loss of your hard work or hard earned money is to go ahead and take the time to boil them right away. IF this really is not an option then you will need to clean your crab "live" first! Then you can either refrigerate the legs/knuckles or freeze them for later enjoyment!

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How long do crab last in the freezer?

How long do whole crab last in the freezer in a zip-lock bag? Replies-Granted that whole crabs are properly wrapped and have no puncture holes (from claws or pinchers) in the freezer bags, they can be stored in the freezer for up to 4-6 months. When you are placing the crabs in a zip-lock bag, for longer storage, try and siphon out the excess air before zip-locking all the way. This is much like having it vacuumed sealed and will be fine in the freezer for months.

Vacuum sealing whole crabs will last even longer. The wrapping is durable and tough against punctures. We've kept frozen whole crabs vacuum sealed for nearly a year. So, with this all said, your frozen whole crabs should be safe in the freezer for at least 4-6 months. Enjoy!

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Frozen Live Blue Crab

I got some whole blue crabs at Vallis covered in plasic. They look uncooked and they aren't moving and I froze them. How long can they be in the freezer and are they safe to eat? Replies-To ensure safe consumption, you should boil those blue crabs and clean them or vise versa...clean them and boil them up. Then, you can either eat them or properly package them and freeze them.

Keeping uncleaned and unboilded crabs, whether they are blue or any other types of crab, and freezing them before cleaning and boiling is not safe practice if you plan on eating them.

This goes for blue crabs in soft shell form as well.

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When freezing crab whole, do you pot (clean) the crab first or after thawing.

by Jimmy Csutoras

When freezing crab whole, do you pot (clean) the crab first or after thawing them out to eat?

Jimmy Csutoras Replies-BOTH! I am assuming you cooked them first before you froze them, right? Either way will work just fine. Since we have a limited amount of time to go crabbing here and a desire to eat Dungeness year-round, we generally clean them after cooking and freeze only the legs (takes up less freezer space) but when planning to send some to friends/family I like to freeze the whole crab.

(Let them clean their own, you know!)So either way works just fine!Enjoy your crabs!

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Crabby questions about Freezing Crab

by Candice

If you freeze a crab and thaw it out will it come back to life? Replies-Unfortunately, no. If you freeze crab, any crab, they will die and we have stressed on this site many times: Dead crab is BAD crab! During the act of dying, crab release toxins that permeate their entire body thereby rendering the whole crab unfit for human consumption.

If you have frozen live crab before cooking them then I strongly advise you to cut your losses and throw them out.

Next time, howeve,r remember these two "rule-of thumb" tidbits of wisdom: (1) Always cook your crab ASAP and THEN they can be refrigerated (4-5 days) or frozen ( for a year or more if vacuum sealed) or... (2) Clean them while they are still "live" (caution: not for the squeamish) and then they may be refrigerated for serving later or frozen....Enjoy! "Catch 'em! Clean 'em! Cook 'em! Eat 'em!"

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To Clean or Not to Clean Whole Crab Before Freezing

by George
(Portland, Or.)

After cooking a whole crab, is it better to clean the crab and then freeze, or not clean it and freeze it? Also, after say about 10 days of being frozen, which tastes best, whole crabs, or cleaned crab meat? Replies- Boiling them first is the most important step to reassuring freshness while they are being frozen for future use. Now, after you have that done, deciding whether or not to clean them before of after freezing is totally up to you.

Personally, we have gone both ways, freezing crabs whole after boiling them. The pro...less work to continue. Just put them in a vacuum sealer or gallon sized zip lock bag and squeeze the air out and you're done! (You did cut off the tips of the legs, though, right, so they don't puncture the bag!) Personally, we think they even taste better frozen whole, more fresher and crab-tasty! That's our personal opinion as they are kept in their shells along with their natural crab butters and such.

The cons...they need to thawed out good before you can do anything with them. And, you have to clean the crabs before doing anything with them. So, like, this process could have been eliminated if we had just cleaned them first!

Honestly, this answer of whether it's best or not to freeze crab whole or clean them first before freezing them is totally up to you.

At the end of a crabbing season, we like to have a little bit of everything handy in the freezer...whole crabs, bags of just crab legs, and bags of just crab meat. This way just makes things a little simpler when planning for a certain dish and it also helps with space in the freezer if there isn't just bags of whole crabs.

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