Blue crabs are a popular favorite in the vast world of seafood. The tender and sweet-tasting meat stand out in some delicacies from different cultures. Blue crab is packed with a ton of nutritional benefits and is a healthy meal option.
It is a seasonal food that’s typically available once a year so you’d have to get them in large quantities. When you cook a lot of it, you want to find a way to store them for later.
So can you freeze cooked blue crabs?
Yes, you can freeze blue crab safely for about three months by freezing before they start to go bad. It is best to cook blue crabs before freezing to retain that incredible taste and flavor.
Can you freeze uncooked blue asscrabs?
It is not wise to store uncooked blue crabs in the freezer. Blue crabs can go bad very quickly and there’s the possibility of getting sick from food poisoning. If you don’t cook the crabs before you freeze them, the toxins might spread and the meat will be contaminated.
Also, the meat could expand against the shell during freezing. This will make it very difficult to thaw the meat as it will shrink and start to break apart. You’ll have a hard time separating the meat from the shell when you want to cook it.
It is recommended to cook the blue crabs before freezing to avoid any issues whatsoever. It is safer and ensures the crab meat is tasting just as good as the first time. If you can’t cook them first, seal them tight in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to six months.
How to freeze cooked blue crabs
You can choose to freeze the whole crab as is or just the crab meat. Depending on which way you want to go about it, you will need to prep them for storage. It is recommended to freeze the crabs with the shell as it helps retain the flavor and texture of the meat.
The first step is to cook it and it’s recommended that you cook the whole crab. This is to prevent discoloration of the meat while it is in the freezer and is pretty straightforward.
- Fill three-quarters of a pot with water and add a pinch of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil and use a pair of tongs to place the crabs in the pit.
- Cook the blue crabs for about thirty minutes.
- Drain the cooked crabs and put them under running water so that they can cool to room temperature.
- Leave the drained crabs on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
Now you’re all set to freeze the crab meat and this next part should be a breeze. Now that the crabs are cooked, you want to:
- Use your kitchen shears or fingers to remove the crab claws, this is so they don’t puncture the freezer bag.
- Pull back the top shell and rinse the inside with cold water.
- Pull out the stomach and gills as well as the flap before properly discarding them.
- Now you can choose to wrap the blue crabs individually or together. Wrap each crab in a layer of cling wrapper or put the crabs together in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Alternatively, you could choose to remove the shell before freezing. Break the joints to access the leg meat, remove the meat with your fingers. Use a mallet to break open the body and claws and remove the rest of the meat in those areas.
- Wrap the crab meat in cling wrap and transfer to a freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air.
- Re-wrap the bag in aluminum foil to prevent any air from getting to the crabs.
- Label the bag with the freezing date and place it in the freezer right away.
Tip: It is recommended that you freeze the blue crabs with the shell to prevent the meat from drying out. Also, the meat will taste much better that way. Pouring regular milk over the crabs before freezing will help prevent freezer burn and retain the texture/taste.
When you’re ready to thaw the crabs or crab meat, just rinse off the milk and you’re good to go.
How long will blue crabs last in the freezer?
If prepared and stored properly, blue crab meat will stay good for three months in the freezer. The meat has to be kept at 0 degrees F, that way it will stay safe for consumption within this time. The meat will still be safe to eat after three months but the quality will not be the same.
Uncooked crabs will last for about six months in the freezer before the quality starts to deteriorate.
Can you store blue crabs in the fridge?
If you want to keep them in the fridge, you have to keep or surround the crab meat with ice. This will help retain the texture and prevent the meat from breaking apart.
Fresh blue crab meat will last for three to five days in the fridge. Cooked crabs on the other hand can be stored for about five to seven days. Consume/use within that time and discard if the meat has gone bad.
How to defrost frozen blue crabs
It is best to thaw blue crabs slowly in the refrigerator. Crabmeat is quite delicate and you don’t want the meat to break apart.
- Remove from the freezer and transfer to the fridge.
- Allow thawing overnight in the fridge.
- If you need to defrost the meat quickly, wrap the crabs in some cling film first. Then put it in a bowl of cold water or put it in the sink and run tap water over it.
- Cook the meat once it has thawed.
Do not leave your blue crabs out for too long so that they don’t get contaminated with bacteria.
How to recognize blue crabs that have gone bad
Leaving cooked or thawed crab meat outside the freezer/fridge for too long will make it go bad. The blue crab will become sticky and give off a bad odor, the color will also turn yellow.
To get the most out of your blue crabs, best to use them once the meat has thawed. Once it is spoiled, dispose of it. Consuming bad crab meat can cause food poisoning.
Blue crab meat is versatile and you can enjoy it in so many ways. It is perfect for making a vast amount of dishes including crab bisque soups and many others. It contains a good amount of protein and vitamins for great nutrition.
Freezing your leftovers or even fresh blue crabs has never been easier. Now you can get enough of them while they’re in season and enjoy them whenever.