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Saturday, November 3, 2012

GOT CRABS? - HOW TO COOK AND CLEAN THEM

So you've spent the better part of the day busting your hump.  Loading stinky, smelly bait into the trap, pulling heavy pots up from the deep, avoided pinching creatures, and cleaning seaweed out of every crevasse.  Now that you have your harvest of crab, now what?  It's time to cook them!



Our catch of the day.
We have a dedicated cooler to keep our catch in.


When cooking crab, use a large pot and a high heat burner.  
It can also be done in a large pot on your stovetop.  
Just beware that it gives off a lovely ocean aroma.  
If possible, it's best to do it outside.




We like to bring home the bay water to boil the crabs in.  It gives them a nice salty taste.

After the water begins to boil, carefully drop the crab into the pot.

After the crabs have been added to the pot, 
bring the water to a boil a second time, then cook the crab for 11 minutes.



 After the crabs have cooked, carefully drain the hot water from the pot. 
Use tongs or gloves to remove the crab from the pot, their shells are extremely hot.
With our set up, a mesh pot with a handle sits inside the big pot and is easily lifted out of the boiling water.
After the crab have finished cooking, bathe them in cold water to stop the cooking process.  


Keep them bathed in cold water until they have cooled off.

After cooking, the shells will have a bright orange appearance.


NOW THE CLEANING.... 


With the crab face down, separate the top shell from the main body by gently prying them apart.

The top shell should come off pretty easy.


Yes, underneath that shell is a close resemblance from an alien movie.  Try not to look at the innards too long...it may change your mind about eating it.  The yellow gunk is called ' crab butter', this is the digestive gland. 


The white finger-like strands are the gills.  Remove them.  The reddish-orange membrane between the gills is the first new cuticle for the next shell that is forming for the next molt.  Remove this.


Remove the mouth parts.  There are two halves.


Removal of the second half mouth part.



Rinse the remaining gunk from the cavity.




Remove the abdomen piece.




With your thumbs on both sides of the halves and your fingers supporting underneath, gently break the crab in two.




Tear off one of the legs.


Each leg has several sections.  All contain meat.


The large pincher can be easily broken off.


Gently break the shell with a sturdy object like a crab hammer or nut cracker.  Remove the meat from inside the shell.  This big claw piece is my favorite.


All of the other legs have these pointed tips.  These are excellent for digging the meat out of the shell.








The body is filled with meat.  Be sure to pick out the meat and discard the hard sections contained within the body.




 Crab meat volume will vary somewhat depending on the size of the crab.  Harvesting and processing crab is very labor intensive, but the reward far outweighs it.



"Everyone should believe in something; I believe I'll go fishing."
-- Henry David Thoreau
























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