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.
- 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 "apron" flap in the center.
- Lift off top shell and discard.
Discard the shell once it has been removed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Crack claws with a mallet or knife handle to expose meat.
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.
Although not as common, stir-frying is another way to prepare crab. Find out more on the next page.
Carefully separate the meat from the cartilage using your fingers.
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.