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Soft Shell Crab

by jughandle

One of the best things to eat are soft shell Crabs.  I just love the flavor of a nicely sauted crab and the way it’s naturally sweet sea food flavor is enhanced by the melted butter and herbs.  But my favorite is a soft shell crab Po Boy sandwich.  The crispy fried legs sticking out of  toasted French bread or hoagie roll and smothered with Tartar sauce.  Delicious


Soft shell crabs are in season from May until September, but if you aren’t near the beach, and even then, you’ll most likely be eating a frozen one.  Freezing is not quite as good if the chef doesn’t dry the crab out before cooking.  I’ve only had fresh soft shell crab once and it was amazing.

About the Crab

The crab is a Blue Crab that is molting (shedding its shell) in order to grow larger.  The crab farmers only have a 1-3 hour window of opportunity to harvest the crabs in the “soft” form by collecting the crabs just before they molt and watching them until the perfect moment.   After that the new shell starts to harden.  The hardening process can be slowed for fresh soft shells by putting them on ice, but freezing obviously stops the process completely.

How to Clean


To clean the crab before cooking all you need is a sharp pair of scissors.  First turn the crab over and find lungs (left picture above), which are a fibrous like tissue right where you might think they are supposed to be.  Cut them off.  Then look for the apron which is also on the bottom and is hard, cut it and anything that seems too hard to eat off.  Finially flip the little guy over  (right picture above) and cut off the head and eye section.  Pat him dry and you are ready to go.

Buying the Crab by Size

Look in the frozen sea food section of your store or ask the fish monger, they will point you to the right spot.  Many stores carry pre-cleaned crabs or the fish monger can clean them for you.  The Prime size is good for sandwiches, but any size will do.  The larger ones are easier to clean.


If you can’t find them at your local store, you can also buy 2 dozen small crabs from our Fat Farm Store , or here at the store for 12 crabs totaling 1.5 lbs and have them shipped to your home.

Look for several recipes from frying to sandwiches under the recipe tab – Jughandle




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Mittie Wooden August 23, 2011 - 9:54 am

Are the soft shell crabs in the Fat Farm Store pre-cleaned?

jughandle August 24, 2011 - 5:48 am

Thanks for asking about the Farm store products. I did a little research and found the following review of the Catalina sashimi grade crabs:

Beautiful product October 21, 2010
Reviewer: Aileen Wong from Albuquerque, NM United States
I love how simple these are: they are pre-cleaned and ready to dip in batter and fried! I appreciate that I don’t have to deal with cleaning a live one!

Hope that helps – Jughandle

Charlize August 25, 2011 - 5:30 am

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jughandle August 26, 2011 - 5:52 am

Thanks for the advise, but I have a FB icon at the bottom of each page in the footer. Let me know if you can’t find it – jug

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