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  Gone Fishing  Fish Cuisine

Freezing Crabs

The most important thing to remember about freezing and storing crab meat is that it is very perishable. Since the meat spoils quickly, it should be used immediately after it is cooked. You must never let crab meat stand at room temperature any longer than necessary. Whole crabs or solid meat will only last two or three days, at most, under refrigeration; however, if properly wrapped and frozen, it will keep up to three month in the freezer.

Hard-shell crabs can be frozen when

  • alive and whole
  • cooked and whole
  • cleaned (bodies and claws)
  • as solid crab meat in portions.

When freezing crab meat in solid portions, you may want to rinse any yellow "mustard" from the meat, as this may affect the flavor and the texture of the frozen meat. The yellow "mustard" inside the blue crab is in actuality the hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the crab's blood. It is, indeed, eaten by many people who consider it one of the tastier parts of the fresh steamed crab.

There are many types of wrapping and containers. Food dries out in a freezer unless carefully wrapped; it also expands, so allow some room for expansion. When freezing crabs or crab meat, use freezer bags. Label every package. Indicate the contents, date, weight, or other important information. Use packages with the oldest dates first.

Freeze the crab meat promptly after wrapping. Do not allow the package to stand at room temperature.

When the frozen crabs or crab meat is removed form the freezer, you can cook meat thawed or partially thawed. Cook thawed crabs and meat at once. Allow more time for cooking at a lower temperature when starting your crab dish from a partially frozen state.

You should also never re-freeze crabs or crab meat.

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