Recreational crabbing hand trap method of crabbing.

Tips on Buying & Preparing Blue Crabs

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Cooking Blue Crabs

In cooking blue crabs, it is critical that the crabmeat reach an internal temperature of 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) and maintain that temperature for at least 1 minute to insure the destruction of the bacteria Vibria Cholerae, which may contaminate blue crabs.

For safety, steam the crabs for 25 to 30 minutes or boil them for approximately 15 minutes. Either method is fine.

Here are some other tips for buying and preparing blue crabs:
  • Do not buy or cook dead blue crabs. You can buy blue crabs either raw or cooked in the shell.

  • Blue crabs bought in markets usually range from 5 inches to 6 inches long and are sold by the dozen or by the bushel.

  • Under no circumstances should live blue crabs and cooked blue crabs touch each other. Live crabs may contain bacteria that could contaminate the cooked crab.

  • For the same reason, never put cooked crabs back into the bushel basket in which they were purchased alive.

  • One 6-ounce steamed crab yields about 3 ounces of picked crabmeat. One pound of crabmeat yields about 3 cups.

  • Three-and-a-half ounces of crabmeat provides 78 calories, 15.9 g protein, 1.3 g fat, 102 mg cholesterol, 244 mg potassium, and 337 mg sodium.

  • The shelf life of steamed crabs and cooked, fresh crabmeat is 3-5 days under constant refrigeration.

  • Frozen, cooked crabmeat held at 0 degrees F has a storage life of 3 months. If uncooked, 6 months.

  • Frozen crabmeat tends to lose its flavor and become tough or watery. However, prepared crabmeat, such as crab cakes or crab imperial, yields better results that unprepared.

  • Store all crabmeat products in a moisture-proof, vapor-proof wrapping or in a rigid, airtight container.
*Information courtesy of the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service.

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