SOFT SHELLED CRAB – incoming Wednesday May 11
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. A sizing and weight chart is provided as follows;
|SIZE||DIMENSIONS||AVERAGE WEIGHT||DOZENS PER TRAY|
|Whales||5 ½ inches +||5.9 oz||1|
|Jumbos||5 – 5 ½ inches||4.5 oz||1.5|
|Primes||4 ½ – 5 inches||3.3 oz||2|
|Hotels||4 – 4 ½ inches||2.5 oz||2.5|
|Mediums||3 ½ – 4 inches||1.8 oz||3|
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.
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.
First of the Season coming in next Wednesday, May 11th. Dredged and deep-fried, they are tasty to be sure.