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;

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.