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Preparing Good Tasting Blue Crabs
By James Calhoun Jr.
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 James Calhoun Jr.
All rights reserved.
CATCHING THE BLUE CRAB
The sport of catching Blue Crabs is just as exciting as fishing and often times much better when the Blue Crabs are constantly climbing inside baskets at a fast rate. There are many different ways to catch Blue Crabs for eating and the quickest way is to catch them at a seafood market for a reasonable price. Crabs can be sold individually, by the pound, by the dozen, or by the bushel at participating fresh seafood markets. Purchasing between the months of July through October is best.
In Virginia it is not uncommon to see beginning crabbers use a chicken neck tied to a strong string or rope approximately 15-25ft long. In areas plentiful with Blue Crabs, the crab will grab the chicken and most times not let go while the crabber is slowing pulling the rope in and using a net to scoop the eating crab right up in the middle of the crab's chicken snack. This is by far the most exciting method of catching Blue Crabs but might take lots of time to get the desired amount of crabs to enjoy with family and friends. My favorite way of catching the Blue Crab is with cloth or steel crab traps. These traps allow you to tie chicken inside the trap and then lower the trap into the water from the side of a pier. Most people still use the chicken neck with traps, but I have personally found out that crabs can sense the grease contained in the skin of a chicken thigh better than any other piece of raw chicken. If a family has about 6-8 crab traps in a fast pace Blue Crab area, they could possibly be pulling up Blue Crabs every 2-3 minutes. Be sure to check your local crabbing regulations before harvesting. Commercial crabbers use larger pots that stay in the water for longer periods of time.CHAPTER 2
Cooking Crabs Alive
To most people cooking anything alive does not sound too good. To ensure freshness of the Blue Crab it is best to never purchase crabs that are dead. If your crabs have been placed on ice, remember to allow the crabs to gain room temperature prior to placing in the pot. There are many name brand seasonings on the market today for seasoning Blue Crabs. Depending on your families taste you have the opportunity to alter the ingredients as needed for your family. Using a two gallon cooking pot filled with fresh water to about 1/3 of the pot. Boil your water on high while adding:
½ cup of table or sea salt
½ cup of black pepper
½ cup of your families favorite crab seasoning
Once the water and seasonings have come to a complete boil, it is time to start adding the live Blue Crabs. As the crabs are added the water will rise. Depending on the size of your Blue Crabs, will determine how many will fit in your pot. In my family big pot we are usually able to fit anywhere from 1 to 2 dozen safely in the pot. Remember the water will continue to boil so make sure your water has about 4-5 inches of boiling room. On high live blue crabs will begin to turn red and should remain cooking for approximately 20-25 minutes before removing your completely red ready to eat Blue Crab. It is always wise to allow hot food items to cool down before the eating process begins. Crabs that are not eaten during one setting can be placed in refrigeration and eaten cold over the next 7 to 10 days.CHAPTER 3
Cleaning the Crab for Eating
There are generally 4 steps to cleaning a Blue Crabs and having it fully ready to eat.
Beginners often take longer to ensure they have cleaned the crab correctly.
* STEP 1. Start by flipping your crab on its back. Male crabs will display a very thin apron that must be pried open and female crabs will display a rounded wider apron. Both types can be pried open with a butter knife or dull small knife. Once the apron has been pried open you can turn your crabs back over.
* STEP 2. If you look at the back of the shell there will be a space separating the shell from the body of the crab. Insert your thumb in between the body and the shell and separate the shell from the body.
* STEP 3. Once your shell has been removed you must scrap the gills on both sides of the crab completely off. The gills are not eatable and can be removed by hand, knife or fork. The eggs, heart and fat of the crab will be located in the middle of the crab and are eatable, but I prefer removing everything from the middle and only eating the white meat located within compartments on both sides.
* STEP 4. After cleaning with your hands, knife, or fork it is now time to extract your meat from the individual compartments of the crab. Meat near the back fin is usually the thickest and tastiest. And last but not least, don't forget the meat located in the claws and legs. Cracking the claws and legs can be done with a nut or crab cracker if needed.CHAPTER 4
Country Boil Ingredients
Now that you are knowledgeable on preparing the Blue Crab for eating, this chapter will give you the secret ingredients to what East-coast and Southerners call the Country Boil. Country Boils are great for gatherings of family and friends. Country Boils can be prepared in a big pot cooked inside the house or a variety of heated posts cooked outside. So the water does not boil over only fill your pots to ¼ of the pot. As your Blue Crabs and other ingredients are added the water will rise. In big pots add the following for a successful Country Boil:
Your favorite crab seasoning
1 cup of table or sea salt
1 cup of pepper
Small potatoes added in seasoning alone 20 min
Add Blue Crabs with potatoes for 15 min
Add Sausage, Small corn on the cob, and Shrimp
Any other meat desired can be added
After ingredients on top are done remove all ingredients from the water and place them on a table covered with newspaper or a plastic table cloth and surrounded the table with friends and families for a gathering that will be talked about for years to come. Many family are different and can spice the boil up to a very hot setting, but like the saying goes, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the Country Boil kitchen.
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Table of Contents
CATCHING THE BLUE CRAB, 2,
Cooking Crabs Alive, 12,
Cleaning the Crab for Eating, 16,
Country Boil Ingredients, 22,