The history of commercial harvesting the blue crab dates back to the 1800s and is currently a major part of Maryland’s economy. With a focus on catch limits, and an annual census to ensure a steady population, this interesting shellfish has become an integral part of many people’s diets all across the United States. Soft shells are simply hard shelled crabs that have gone into their molt. The benefit to eating a soft shell is that the entire animal can be eaten except for the face, gills, and minor internal organs. For some people, this added amount of edible goodness is a much better value than the hard shell version that only provides a small amount of meat, so they will actively seek out suppliers for freshly molted animals during the summer months.
Some Popular Ways to Prepare and Serve the Soft Shells
While there are a variety of recipes for crabmeat, the most common way to enjoy a soft shell is by breading and pan frying the whole body, or sautéing the delicious creature in butter and oil, then seasoning it to be eaten whole. Many people enjoy their soft shell crab on a bun like a sandwich, along with lettuce and tomato while others prefer to enjoy their crab as is and only dipped in a custom sauce.
* While the blue crab is commonly called the Maryland Blue, most of them are actually caught in the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia.
* They get their blue name from the color of the front claws which have read tips. The body is normally a deep olive color.
* Males and females can be distinguished by the size of their abdomen. Many people prefer one sex over the other for the differing amounts of meat.
* There are three harvesting divisions for blue crabs; adult males over 5 inches, peelers which are almost ready to molt, and soft crabs which have just recently molted.
Who’s Ready for Steamed Blue Crabs?
Whether it’s a soft shell or a hard shell, steamed blue crabs are delicious and savory. Their meat is much sweeter than most other varieties of crabs, and can greatly compliment a large amount of unique dishes. When lightly seasoned or breaded and sautéed the enhanced juiciness of the meat and the deeply infused herbal flavor can create a mouth-watering dish for you and your friends. But be sure to bring along a lot of crabs! These tasty little creatures don’t really have much meat on them.
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