Long ago, I would how on earth people ate crabs. I’ve always known crabs to be these dangerous crustaceans that live in the sea. I never knew they could be eaten until recently when it has now become a delicacy to many.
However, not all crabs are for consumption. Don’t just happily fish them from the sea to go and cook them just like that. We consume soft shell crabs whole since they are soft, whereas hard shell crabs are a bit hard and hence take time. Blue crabs are examples of soft shell crabs and are the most edible ones. Others include Dungeness crabs, king crabs, and rock crabs.
The meat of a crab is an excellent source of high-quality proteins. It is also rich in nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and minerals, which have lots of nutritional value. Crabmeat has become very common. Here are the ways of steaming crabs.
How to Clean Crab before Cooking
Only live crabs are suitable for consumption – the ones you can see are moving, discard the dead ones. It is to ensure your meat stays fresh. It is advisable to clean them right before or after cooking. Here is how.
- Use a knife or your hands (thumb) to get rid of the apron (a triangular part of the shell centered at the crab’s bottom) by hauling it off towards the crab’s front. In males, the apron is usually thinner and sharp, whereas, for a female, the apron is more significant in size and more egg-shaped.
- Remove the top shell (carapace). Push your thumb into the groove left after removing the apron. Pull up on the carapace firmly until it detaches itself from the crab body, the guts still affixed, some may come out though. Now altogether remove the top shell and also any remaining guts that may still be attached to the carapace.
- Sweep away the gills that are on the sides of the body. There is usually some soft, thick, yellow liquid in the hollow known as “crab butter.” It is a fatty substance from a crab’s back. Many people eat it, but if you don’t want to, then rinse it away.
- Crack the claws, knuckles, and mandible (mouthparts) and discard them.
- Use water to rinse your crabs, and you’re good to go steaming them.
You may steam crabs when they are still alive or frozen ones. A good recommendation, though, is cooking when they are iced already. Frozen crabs are easier to deal with, unlike uniced ones, which tend to get raucous during steaming.
How to Steam Crabs in a Steamer Pot
- Add 1-2 inches of water in a large pot and boil over medium-high heat.
- Put a steamer basket above the boiling water.
- Place your crabs inside the steamer basket.
- Cover it with a tight-fitting lid and steam for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove and serve it hot with melted butter, some Bay seasoning, vinegar, and sliced lemons if you wish.
Your steamer pot should be as large as possible. A 12-quart container or even more massive is most convenient to use. In place of water, you could use beer to steam your crabs. It surely gives them a tremendous outstanding flavor – Blue moon, to be specific, gives them the fruity vibe. To more taste, consider adding salt, vinegar, lemons, etc.
Steaming Crabs in a Stock Pot Using a Rack
- In a large stockpot, place a rack about 2 inches above the bottom.
- Add equal portions of water and vinegar to the 2-inch space. Vinegar prevents the crab meat from sticking to the shells.
- Place your crabs on top of the rack.
- Sprinkle each crab layer with spices.
- Cover with a lid and boil the water over high heat.
- Steam your crabs for 20-30 minutes until cooked. The crabs should have a bright reddish-orange color when thoroughly cooked.
- Remove the crabs, allow them to cool down a bit, serve while still warm, and enjoy.
When arranging your crabs on the rack, do not exceed six layers. In place of it, you may use crunched balls of heavy aluminum foil (3) and put it inside the water. Both methods will result in the same outcome.
Steaming Crabs in a Steam Oven
- Preheat the oven to 210 degrees-212 degrees Fahrenheit (99 degrees-100 degrees Celsius) for 5-7 minutes.
- Place your crabs on a steam tray and into the oven.
- Steam for 15-30 minutes until cooked.
- Remove them, allow them to cool down, and serve.
Do not overcook your crabs so that they do not dry out. You may also loosely wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them moist.
The results are satisfying with your crabs as delicious and tasty as ever. It is an easy way of preparing your crabs with not many activities. Furthermore, it is quick and convenient for the perfect crab results.
Crabs are not that difficult to steam, only that cleaning could seem quite a task. They probably are the sweetest flavor profiles of any shellfish.
Always choose lively crabs; look for crabs that are frothing a bit and showing signs of locomotion. Before relishing on the freshly caught and steamed crabs, prepare the table. Cover it with crab paper and plenty of paper towels. It is especially if you initially had not cracked the claws of your crabs. Then do not forget the ramekins filled with melted butter and any of your refreshing beverages.
Some of us do not like the odor of seafood, such as these crabs. That is why it is convenient to use vinegar in steaming them. Also, on your hands, you can rub them with a piece of lemon and rinse using vinegar.
All those ways of steaming crabs will result in very flavourful crab meats. You will end up salivating for more.