Complete Guide to Preparing Soft Shell Crabs
Softshell crabs are a delicious, nutritious ingredient to highlight in any fresh summer recipe. Unfortunately, many home cooks are intimidated by these crustaceans and hesitate to incorporate them into their cooking repertoire. Before purchasing soft shell crabs, it is important to know how they are harvested, the best way to prepare them, and which recipes best highlight their flavor.
Your Complete Guide to Soft Shell Crabs
Harvesting soft shell crabs
Softshell crabs must be harvested within a short window of time as their softshell is actually a phase that occurs in between the shedding and replacement of the crab's hard shell. This process is called molting and leaves harvesters approximately one hour to pull the crab from the saltwater before it develops a new hardened shell. After the initial hour of molting, the crab's flavor changes dramatically, resulting in an undesirable taste. Softshell crabs are typically harvested during the spring, which is why they are often served in restaurants during the summer.
At Farm-2-Market, we have a variety of live crabs for sale such as our delicious Dungeness crabs and Alaskan king crabs. When ordering a shipment of live crabs, preparing them in a humane way is always a concern. The best way to kill live crabs is by bringing them to a low temperature in a freezer or a container full of ice. By cooling down your live crabs, they quickly lose the ability to feel pain. After pulling the crabs from the ice bath or freezer, we recommend cutting just behind the eyes to kill them as quickly as possible.
Softshell crabs have the benefit of being eaten whole, which makes them much easier to prepare than hard-shell crabs. To add a substantial, meaty element to a fresh summer salad recipe, home cooks can simply boil or fry their soft shell crabs and arrange them atop any salad. For a more complex, decadent treat, crab cakes are another popular option.
Armed with this guide, you should have all the tools you need to prepare a delicious soft-shell crab recipe. Browse our online selection of live king crab for sale and contact us to order your fresh seafood shipment today!