Revered for their delicate, sweet flavor and cooking versatility, delectable Louisiana blue crabs have become a standard of fine dining and backyard boils alike. Blue crabs thrive and are abundant in the bayous, inlets and shores of Louisiana, and are one of the most popular of the more than 4,500 species of crabs found worldwide. Blue crabs are harvested in traps year-round, but May through October is the height of the season.
The meat of the blue crabs is rich in nutrients and low in calories. Blue crab meat has fewer calories than king crab and more iron than either snow crab or Dungeness. An average 3 1/2 oz. portion of blue crab meat has half of the USDA daily allowance of protein and only 80 calories.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Callinectes spaidus
Blue crab is available year round, with the warmer months being more plentiful and the colder months being a little scarcer.
Blue crabs bought fresh should still be alive. (This means their claws still pinch. Consider your fingers warned.) Keep the crabs well-iced in an ice chest until you're ready to cook them.
Crabmeat can be frozen for up to two months. Chill the crabmeat; package it in small, moisture-proof, vapor-proof containers and expel any air before sealing. Spread out in the freezer for rapid freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator for a day before using.
The shelf life of fresh-picked, cooked crabmeat is 10 to 12 days from the packaging date. Once at home, it’s best to use it in one or two days.
A bushel of medium blue crabs usually contains between five and six dozen crabs, but check with your grocer or fishmonger—the size of the crabs varies by catch, and that will affect your yield. Six to eight crabs serves one adult, and one pound of crabmeat serves three to four people.