How To Clean Crabs

There are various ways people prepare crabs.  I know there are stories from various cultures on how to catch, clean and cook crabs. All work but most follow the same basic steps in cleaning.  You may have heard not to eat certain parts of the crab. If you are fortunate enough to have netted your own crabs or you've bought some these tips are for you.

Some say the best way to clean the crab is while it is still alive, some may prefer a more humane way by boiling or steaming them first. Either way it is a personal preference.

Here is just one of the ways you can clean and prepare your favorite type of crabs:

First separate the two large claws from the body of the crab. Once removed, crack the claws open and take out the meat with a knife or other small tool. Alternatively, crack in the middle of the claw sections and just pull apart gently to eat that way.

Remove the top part of the crab. Set that part aside if you are preparing stuffed crabs, cleaning out the inner part of the shell.

Separate the face of the crab and remove the lungs (sometimes referred to as “dead man's fingers”) by scraping away and discarding.

To open the crab, remove the apron from beneath the crab at the peak. If a female crab, clean away the roe (eggs), or use for other dishes. There are recipes for She Crab Soup, for example, which use the roe or "mustard" - so named because of the color and consistency.  Remove the legs from the body of the crab.

Crack open the body of the crab to get to the white meat. Remove the meat from the chambers of the inner body.  That is the meat that is used most often; claw meat is used too but is not as tender and tasty as the white meat.

Once cleaned, prepare as desired and enjoy!


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