Crab meat is thick, filled with flavor, and an absolute delicacy that can go into a number of meals. From Japan to Louisiana, the ability to properly shell, cook, and serve crab meat is considered a valuable skill by top tier chefs. Thankfully, as food science has advanced, cooking this delicious meat has only gotten easier.
But as with any delicacy, the modern world deigns to ask it: Can it be frozen?
Yes, crab meat can be frozen, but you must cook it first. Not only that, but it can be frozen and stored for quite a while. Crab meat can be frozen for three months, which is far longer than any other meat can be frozen without preservatives. Though it takes some precautions to keep it safe.
How To Freeze Crab Meat
The first and biggest step to freezing and preserving your crab meat is cooking it. The reason for this is that crab meat spoils quickly when it is uncooked. Many meats spoil quickly when uncooked, but uniquely, crab meat can last for a long time after it is cooked. With chicken or beef, there is still a risk of spoiling after cooking.
Once you have it cooked, the next step is to keep it safe from the air as well as from touching anything in the freezer. No one likes to hear this, but bacteria are everywhere. They are on your hands, in your freezer, on everything in your freezer… But most of the time they do not affect humans. Some even help humans.
The first step is protecting it from the air by wrapping the crab meat in plastic. Try your best to keep the plastic airtight, even if that means double wrapping it. This will keep anything in your freezer from landing on the meat and spoiling it.
Crab meat does not host too many kinds of bacteria. But all the same, it does not have an immune system to kill any bacteria that land on it. As such, keeping it protected and clean is imperative.
Next, you are going to want to make it so your crab meat cannot touch anything else. What this means is placing it in a Tupperware container. Tupperware containers are also airtight, so it serves the double duty of keeping anything from landing on your crab meat as well. However, not everyone has Tupperware.
If you are lacking Tupperware, then there is a solution that can work just as well. All you have to do is take two plates, place your crab on one, then place the other one top-down onto the first plate. This is not airtight, but that is why you wrapped your crab in plastic.
If you have so much crab that you cannot do this, then you have two options: The first is to divide your crab into two piles and use four plates to make two different makeshift “containers”. The second option, though it is not preferable, is to use a ziplocked bag. Ziplocked bags are flimsy, but they work, and they are cheap.
Do all of this and your crab meat will be frozen for reheating for up to three months. Cook it, wrap it, and package it. It is that simple. You may still have some questions, however.
Can You Freeze Lump Crab Meat?
“Lump crab meat” refers to unbroken crab meat from the back swimming legs of the crab from which the meat was harvested. This meat is thick, filled with flavor, and an absolute delicacy that can go into a number of meals. But as with any delicacy, the modern world deigns to ask it: Can it be frozen?
Yes, lump crab meat can be frozen, but you must cook it first. Not only that, but it can be frozen and stored for quite a while. Lump crab meat can be frozen for three months, which is far longer than any other meat can be frozen without preservatives. Though it takes some precautions to keep it safe.
How Does One Reheat Frozen Crab Meat?
To reheat frozen crab meat, start by thawing it. This requires 24 hours of preparation time, so it is best to plan way in advance. Luckily, there is a strong overlap between people who make their own crab, and people who are good at planning out their food. So that is unlikely to be a problem.
Once your crab meat is properly thawed, you can begin to boil a pot of water. Bring it to a rolling boil, then place your meat into the pot (your crab meat, that is. Don’t hurt yourself!). You should boil it for five minutes for every pound of crab you are reheating. So, if there is two pounds, boil it for ten minutes.
If it has been less than a month since you first froze the crab, then the taste and texture could very well be as good as when you first cooked it. After two months, there will be a noticeable decline in the taste. After three months, it is basically pointless to reheat it, as the taste and texture will be unrecognizable.
Why Cook The Crab Before Freezing It?
Crab meat spoils extremely quickly. For this reason, you cannot really store it in a fridge. In fact, storing it in the freezer will not do you much good either… Unless you cook it before you store it.
Crab meat is full of water and bacteria before it is cooked. This is why it has to be carefully prepared before it is eaten, either through cooking, or the extremely careful cutting that a sushi chef does to prepare crab for including it in sushi. Unless you are a sushi chef, cooking is the far easier option of the two.
Cooking the crab gets rid of the bacteria you want to avoid, as well as the water that would make it suffer freezer burn much faster than it does after you cook it.
And besides, it means that you do not have to do much to the crab to prepare it for eating once you take it out of the freezer. All you need to do if you cook it before freezing is boil it for a few minutes. That means crab can be as easy to make as instant noodles if you cook it before freezing it.
Crab is a delicious delicacy, and modern methods of storage have done nothing but improve things for it. Whether you are saving a huge amount of crab for a feast weeks away, or a small crab meal you can reheat for lunch someday, crab is far easier and safer to freeze and reheat than most other meals. So, enjoy.