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Cooking Crabs


Cracking Crabs
While it is possible to eat a crab straight out of the shell, many recipes require you to remove the meat. For example, crab cakes or various salads feature loose, cooked crabmeat.
  1. Place crab on its back. With thumb or pointed tip of a knife, pry off "apron" flap (the "pull tab" looking shell in the center) and discard.

    Using a knife, pry off the
    Using a knife, pry off the "apron" flap in the center.

  2. Lift off top shell and discard.

    Discard the shell once it has been removed.
    Discard the shell once it has been removed.

  3. Break off toothed claws and set aside. With edge of knife, scrape off 3 areas of lungs and debris over hard semi-transparent membrane covering edible crabmeat.

    The claws will require some cleaning and preparation.
    The claws will require some cleaning and preparation.

  4. Hold crab at each a side; break apart at center. Discard legs. Remove membrane cover with knife, exposing large chunks of meat; remove with fingers or knife.

    Hold the crab on either side and break apart.
    Hold the crab on either side and break apart.

  5. Crack claws with a mallet or knife handle to expose meat.
TIP: To remove cartilage and shell from picked crabmeat, gently squeeze a teaspoonful at a time between fingers. Feel carefully for small bits. The shells may be white or orange and cartilage milky white and thin.

Carefully separate the meat from the cartilage using your fingers.
Carefully separate the meat from the cartilage using your fingers.

Although not as common, stir-frying is another way to prepare crab. Find out more on the next page.

Want more information? Try these:
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Cooking Seafood: Get your feet wet by exploring the best ways to prepare seafood.
  • 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.


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