Crab trap with large crabs.

Killing Crab is always easier when someone else does the deed but if you like fresh Blue crab meat then you’re going to need to master this skill.

Once you have either caught your crabs or purchased them from your local fishmonger you will need to get them cleaned as soon as possible. A Blue crabs health will deteriorate rapidly once it’s out of it’s natural habitat. Once a crab dies if it’s not immediately cleaned then the crab is unfit for human consumption.  So get yourself ready because these crabs aren’t going to last long.

Blue crabs are feisty critters so it’s easy to recognize if any have died. If you find a dead crab in the bunch make sure you throw it away. Read here to find out more about the harmful effects of dead crabs.

Your first step is to stun the crabs so you can kill them in the most humane way possible. You do this by putting them in the freezer for five minutes. When the crabs are cold they become slow and lethargic it may also have some desensitizing factors as well.

There are three different methods of killing a live crab, aside from cooking them alive. All three methods work equally as well and get the job done quickly.

The first method is to flip the crab upside down and chop the face of the crab off with a sharp cleaver.  Place the crab on a cutting board and aim your knife about an inch away from the edge of the shell, behind their eyes.

The second method is to flip the crab upside down on a cutting board and, with a sharp cleaver or a small hatchet, cut the crab right in half with one swift blow.  Aim for the center line between the legs. You do not need to cut the back shell, only the dividing part of the legs.

The third method is to again flip the crab over onto it’s back shell. Peel away the triangle piece called the apron and aim a sharp pointy knife in the whole and press down hard.

What ever method you choose you will now need to clean the dead crab. You do this by peeling off the back shell and discarding it. Under cold running water use your fingers to pull of the gills and clean out the remaining guts.

At this point you could freeze your crab prior to cooking it or cook it.

To cook your cleaned crab use the methods from this page but remember to reduce the timer by 3 minutes per process. (Cooking times are faster when you have an already cleaned crab)

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