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SOFT-SHELLED BLUE CRAB – FIRST O’ THE SEASON!

SOFT SHELLED CRABS WILL BE ARRIVING IN CALGARY THURSDAY MAY 12.

To celebrate the first of the season, here is some info about callinectes sapidusis – the beautiful, savoury swimmer:

Soft-shell Blue crabs are a favorite seafood delicacy. While all crabs shed their shells to grow, only a few species of crab can actually be eaten in this form. The Blue Crab is the only commercially available soft-shell product. The scientific name, callinectes sapidusis, derived from Latin and Greek. Calli = beautiful; Nectes = swimmer; sapidus = savoury. The translation is not only accurate but surprisingly poetic.

Blue crabs grow rather rapidly, 12 – 18 months, from the juvenile stage to adulthood. A full-grown Blue Crab will measure nearly 8 inches across.

During its lifetime the Blue Crab will go through several growth stages. In order for a Blue Crab to lose its shell, the body of the crab physically grows 30%. The commercial crabbers will harvest the Blue Crab and place the crab in floating tanks according to its expectant shed dates. The crab expert looks for a faint line next to the crab’s paddle-like finlet. The color of this line will determine when the crab is about to shed its shell.

Soft-shells are split up into 5 basic sizes; whales, jumbos, primes, hotels and mediums.

The primary producing states are Maryland, North & South Carolina and Louisiana. Maryland produces the more expensive, higher quality Blue Crab. Maryland’s colder waters and estuaries produce a Blue Crab high in favorable fat.The best way to store a soft-shell crab is in cool, moist packaging. Wet newspaper and straw have all been used to maintain the moisture content.

First of the Season coming in next Thursday, May 12th.  Dredged and deep-fried, they are tasty to be sure. (And show off to your friends by talking about a crab that’s also a whale. If you’re into that sort of thing).

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