Cooking Louisiana - Louisiana Crab Facts

The Blue Claw Crab is a dominant feature of the Southern marshes of Louisiana. In season during the summer months the blue claw crab is as staple a seafood as are fish, crawfish and oysters in Louisiana.

In Louisiana as in other places we have the salt water and fresh water blue claws.

Blue claw crab production runs on an average of 50 million pounds and about 100,000 pounds of soft shells.

Now let's get to the facts you can use.

Catching the blue claw crab:

Commercially the crab is caught in wire traps. Recreationally you can catch them with nets and even with string and some chicken necks and a net. Crabs are most plentiful around water control dams.

Keeping crabs alive:

Why do you want to keep crabs alive? After they die the meat turns to mush; it's that simple.

Crabs do not live upside down; therefore put them in the container as they swim... right side up.

First thing you DON'T do is pack them in ice (hard packed). The only thing this does is keeps them from stinking, that's it.  Crabs are not like fish and shrimp, they MUST be alive to be good. 

Here's how you do it... crab fishermen do the same thing, it's simple. You must prepare by keeping burlap sacks or material, or an old bath towel in the boat... really hard to do huh?.  100% humidity and cool temperatures will keep crabs alive for a few days; it's a proven fact. I used to fish crabs with my dad; I'm not making this up. If you drop the temperature to around 50 F the crabs' metabolism slows. You extend their life without food but this only lasts for a few days; then they start to die. 

Let's say your catching crabs (if the fish aren't biting) and you're keeping them in an ice chest. Here are the cardinal rules. First off while your catching them open the plug to let any water out (you'll drown them with low oxygen water). Wet them occasionally especially if it's hot and let the water out of the ice chest (you're keeping them cool and wet). Now for transport from camp to home.

Prop the ice chest so water will drain. Wet your burlap or towel and cover the crabs with it. Sprinkle a a few double handfuls or two of ice on top just to drop the temperature a bit.. As the ice melts it adds moisture. If it's going to be a long trip consider wetting and re-icing...be sure to drain. If you want to keep them good it takes a little attention. 

When treated right you'll save 95% of the crabs you bring home and I think that's your objective...right?

Here's more info...

Peeling Crabs

Cleaning Soft Shell Crabs

Cooking Crabs

 

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