We’re lucky enough to have a ready supply of seafood round our parts, and occasionally there’s a crab bonanza in the local fisherman’s cooperative.
I love crab meat but I’m frankly a bit put off by all the faff of killing and cleaning them; consequently, the House of Chopsticks more frequently consumes prawns than crab. But I saw them merrily waving their claws at me this weekend, and I thought I’d give it another go.
So – how do you kill & clean a crab? Here’s my step by step illustrated guide.
Now, I’m ashamed to say I’m a tad squeamish about the killing bit. Ashamed, because I’m not vegan, and I believe one should be aware of, and take as much responsibility as possible for, the well-being and ending of the lives of animals bred or caught for food. So I should be up for a bit of killing, right? Right. Trouble is, how do I know that what I’m doing to the crab is humane? I’m not getting much feedback from it. Just the odd silent claw wave and a keen scuttling sideways towards the edge of my worktop.
I read. Most commonly touted options appear to be swift knifing through the head/torso or freezing to stun them to sleep first. I went for freezing, on the basis that hypothermia in humans reportedly causes a sense of well being before caning it, and it if works for a mammal, why not apply the same (unscientific) guidelines to a crustacean?
In the deep freeze they went, for 2 hours. On reflection, perhaps the more widely recommended half to one hour would’ve been more sensible since 2 hours was enough to actually freeze it solid, making the next bit that much harder. You live and learn.
I know this can be a bit confronting for a first timer, so here is a step by step guide to Killing your Crab:
5) That yellow stuff is known as the mustard – it’s edible but if you’re just interested in the crab meat, you can scoop it out with the rest of the brown/black sloppy stuff in that central cavity.
Follow your recipe – but most will call for sectioning, thus:
Ready for cooking!
Next time – check out my awesome easy chilli ginger sauce for crab!