Blue Crab Recipes
Soft Shell Blue Crabs
Soft crabs are found by many people and crabbers, along the East Coast from
New Jersey to Florida and on the Gulf Coast to
Texas. Over 80% of the soft shell blue crabs
come from the Chesapeake Bay area.
Many people may also be surprised to learn that soft shell crabs are actually blue crabs that have recently shed
their hard outer shell, so that their body can grow larger. This
process is known as molting, and it will typically happen more than 20 times
during the lifetime of the crab. Each time it molts, it matures and grows a hard shell that is just a little bit larger.
Catching these molting crabs at just the right time is part science, art form and luck. The molting state and softer shell will not last long, so you have to catch them during this brief period. The appearance
of the crab’s backfins is a sign that tells the crabbers when
the crab is ready to molt. During the shedding process, it will increase its size by approximately one-third, and once it has molted, it should be caught quickly before the new shell begins to grow.
The season for fresh soft crabs are generally from May
through September each year. A live soft crab shows very
little movement, especially when refrigerated.
Close inspection will reveal some movement of
the eyes, mouth and legs. Fresh soft crabs should
be purchased live and kept moist and cool while stored in a
tray or dish held between wet newspapers or paper
towels in your refrigerator. They should be
cooked and eaten within a couple of days of purchase to ensure freshness and flavor.
You may be wondering about how to clean one of these crustaceans. Cleaning or “dressing” soft crabs is a simple and straight forward procedure. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the
mouth and face behind the eyes. Next cut off the
apron of the crab. Then lift the top shell and cut out the lungs
from each side of the cavity. Rinse under cold water to clean the rest of the extras that are left in the body.
The softshell crabs are now ready to cook. Once you have it cleaned, the
entire body of the crab is edible.
You will find that frozen soft shell crabs are available and can be purchase all year long. When proplerly stored, they will keep for 12 months in the
freezer and thaw very quickly in the refrigerator.
This style of crab is very versatile in many different recipes. Soft crabs are delicious and can be served as an
appetizer, on a sandwich or as a softshell dinner entree.
• Maryland soup crabs
• Buy Maryland Softshell Blue Crabs online
• Maryland blue crab
• Crab Cobb Salad
• Maryland Blue Crab Cake Panini
• Pan fried soft shell blue crabs