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trotline #3

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2) How do I keep the claws on? If you would like to keep the claws on, the safest and easiest way is to fill a keg tub with lots of ice then add water and crabs. Give the crabs 20-30 min in the ice bath and then add to the pot. Another method is to electrocute them, do a search if you would like to use this method. A more time consuming method is to pith the crabs. Two methods work well here. The first method is to insert a ice pick just anterior to the point of the apron and wiggling it in the posterior direction. The second method is to insert the ice pick in the membrane surrounding the swim fin and move the pick toward the eye on the opposite side. Move the pick from side to side until most movement ceases.

Keg Tub with Ice


3) How can I tell if a crab is dead? When the mouthparts hang loosely or do not retract when pulled out from the mouth the crab is dead. DO NOT COOK DEAD CRABS!

4) What makes a good crab? A good crab is full of meat, sweet, with both claws, and steamed in front of me. To make sure you are keeping good crabs and not light crabs; or balloon crabs, paper-shells, buckrams, or trash crabs as they are sometimes referred to, you can use several methods. The most obvious method is to simply look at the color on the underside of the shell. A light crab will typically have a snow white underbelly whereas a heavy one will display a darker tint to the underbelly. This tint can vary in color from yellow to brown and even jet black. Often this color will reflect the type of bottom the crab as been spending time in. i.e. lighter color for a sandy bottom and darker for muck. This color rubs onto the belly over time so the more area that is dark on the underbelly they longer the crab has had the shell and therefore will contain more meat. If you encounter a crab that you are unsure of use the “pinch” test. The “pinch” test is performed by squeezing the crab’s shell in the point area to determine if there is any give in the shell. If the shell has any give then it is considered a light crab. Light crabs also have a more translucent appearance to their shells and if you hold one up to the sun the legs will appear almost translucent. My favorite crab is one that has a small area of brown just above the point of the apron. I find that these crabs tend to have a good amount of meat in them but also maintain the sweetness of the meat that heavier crabs sometimes lose.

A nice dark crab

Pinch Test


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