Crabs are crustaceans that are most commonly available from summer through the winter. Almost all parts of the crab are edible, from the claws to the legs to the body.

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As with all food, fresh is best when preparing crab. They should have a fresh, mild, sea-breeze odor. Crabs should be purchased live and as close to the time of cooking as possible. They should actively move their claws; however, if the crabs have been refrigerated, they will not be very active. Do not purchase any crabs that do not show these signs of life.

Some of the most common ways to prepare crab are poaching, stewing, or steaming. We'll start
by taking a look at the best way to steam crab
on the next page.

Want more information? Try these:

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  • Shellfish: From shrimp and lobster to clams, mussels, and more, you'll find valuable information on shellfish at HowStuffWorks.
  • Shellfish Recipes: Dive into the many amazing shellfish recipes featured in this article. 
  • How to Cook Clams: Clams are a mollusk that are only available in the summertime and are delicious when steamed or eaten raw. Learn all about cooking clams here.