TEXAS: HOME TO THE CRÉME DE LA CRAB
With over sixty varieties of crab in the Gulf, you don’t have to visit the West Coast to get the smooth, buttery sweet taste of crabmeat on your plate. Here in Texas, we harvest blue crab year-round from shallow, brackish waters to the deeper, saltier bays of the Gulf. Our most bountiful harvest occurs in the warm summer and fall months, when blue crabs are their largest and populations are highest.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Greater blue crab, hard-shell crab, soft-shell crab
- Hard-shells: baked, blackened, boiled, broiled, deep-fried, grilled, sautéed, seared, steamed
- Soft-shells: sautéed, grilled, deep-fried
Eating crabs gets messy, so lay down butcher paper or newspaper and grab plenty of paper towels
Year-round, with peaks in the summer and fall
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE
Mild, sweet, delicate and tender
SAFETY, STORAGE & BUYING TIPS
- Crab should be alive and moving before cooking, and kept cool and moist (dead crustaceans start decomposing and releasing ammonia immediately)
- If cooked, blue crabs will be reddish-orange in color with a slightly sweet smell
- Picked meat will be chilled or frozen and free of excess shell and cartilage
Low-calorie, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and packed with protein, B vitamins and in minerals like selenium and other nutrients
HOW TO PICK & PREPARE CRAB
Join Marine Scientist Kimber Anderson as she visits her local grocery store to show you how to pick and prepare blue crab from Texas.
WITH CRAB, IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THE SHELL
The best part about blue crab is that it’s sold in both hard-shell and soft-shell forms. Crabs must shed their shells to grow, so soft-shells are just blue crabs that have recently molted. These “softies” are harvested before they can regrow a new shell, so their skin is soft. No matter which style you crave, one thing is for sure: blue crab meat is delicious, low in fat and a great source of protein.
HARD-SHELL CRABS ARE COOKED LIVE
Boiled or steamed, you have to use a mallet and crab crackers to get the meat out of hard-shell crabs. Boiling allows the crab’s shell to really soak in the seasoning—in other words, more flavor locks into the meat. Steaming allows the crab to cook faster and more efficiently without having to worry about water logging or running the risk of overcooking. With either method, you’ll discover tender, flaky, and delicate meat encased in an orange-red shell when cooked.
SOFT-SHELL CRABS ARE OFTEN FRIED
Entirely edible whole, legs and all, soft-shell crabs have a delightfully crunchy texture. These are adult crabs that have molted within the last twelve hours. When it comes to traditional cooking methods, they’re typically fried and enjoyed in a sandwich. So if you’re not ready to claw your way through a thick shell, soft-shell crabs are a delicious option and typically in season from early March to late September.
ARE BLUE CRABS 100% BLUE?
While blue shells and blue patches on the legs give this crab its name, females’ claws are actually red or orange-tipped.