Crabs are the second most popular shellfish (after shrimp) in the United States.
There are two types of crabs- fresh and saltwater, with saltwater being more common. Pacific crabs include Dungeness and King crab; while the Atlantic and Gulf coast net Blue crab and Stone crab (in Florida).
Soft-shell crabs are Blue crab that have shed their shells and are available from April to mid-September. The average blue crab contains about 2 ounces of meat, depending on its size.
Nutritional Benefits of Crab
Need a good excuse to indulge in decadent crab legs? How about warding off cancer and heart disease? Crab is an excellent source of zinc – a powerful antioxidant mineral that supports a healthy immune system and is involved in DNA synthesis.
In a recent study published in Epidemiology, a lack of zinc combined with an excess of copper and a deficiency in magnesium increased the risk for both heart disease and cancer.
Choosing The Healthiest Crab
Ocean’s Alive lists Dungeness crab, and stone crab as as “Eco-Best” choices; King crab, snow crab and blue crab are “Eco-OK” choices.
Estimated Glycemic Load: 0
Selecting and Storing Crab
Crab is sold fresh—live or chilled--frozen, or canned. Fresh crabmeat is sold as lump, backfin, or flake. Lump crabmeat is the most expensive and consists of large chunks of body meat. Backfin is smaller pieces of body meat; flake is white meat in smaller pieces and shreds. Fresh crabs should look shiny, smell fresh with hard shells (with the exception of soft-shell crabs). Live crabs should be actively moving. Avoid crab with any ammonia smell or off odor. Cook and eat live crabs the same day they are purchased. Fresh-cooked crabmeat will keep for two days in the refrigerator. Pasteurized packaged crabmeat will keep for about six months unopened.