Saturday, August 4, 2018

How to Remove the Meat and Roe From a Cooked Crab

Is it worth removing meat from a green crab? According to my father it is equivalent to 'a tiger eating black flies', a direct translation from an old Vietnamese saying. Now you know my father's true opinion about eating green crab meat! All I can say is that if anyone dares to call or label me "lazy" I will have to challenge them to a green crab meat removal contest! Recently Dr. Bradt gave me some large green crabs that came from her university lab. These are the largest that I have seen, ranging from about 2 1/2 to 3 inches across the carapace. There are many ways to remove the meat. This post is a tutorial on how I generally remove meat from any type of crabs.

In order to remove the meat from the crabs the first thing is to clean them well with cold water. Discard any dead crabs. Either boil or steam them whole. Steaming takes a slightly longer time than boiling. Overcooking the crabs will cause the meat, roe and crab mustard to be too dry and less tasty. The crab mustard is the yellow-orange hepatopancreas (filtering organ found in lobsters and crabs). If you do not have time to remove the meat from all of your cooked crabs then once cooled, you may store them in a sealed container overnight in the refrigerator and process them the next day. Use a small knife with a pointy tip to remove the roe and/or crab mustard from the carapace and body. Use either your fingers or a small knife to separate the meat in between the cartilage from the body. I find that a small knife is an excellent tool to get between the cartilage and to scoop out the roe and crab mustard easily and quickly. Use a nut cracker to gently crush the claw to remove the meat. I prefer using a lobster/nut cracker (see my photo below). Save the unused parts for your garden compost if interested.

The freshly picked crab meat, roe and crab mustard may be kept a sealed in a glass or ceramic container in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days or sealed tightly in several plastic wraps and in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

How to Remove the Meat, Roe and Crab Mustard From a Cooked Crab

1) Boil the crabs in water for about 5-7 minutes. These crabs are small so the cooking time will be short. They will turn red when cooked. Once cooked the meat can be removed easily.
2) Once cooled to handle remove the carapace. Scoop out the roe and crab mustard (the yellow- orange matter) from the carapace if there is any and save. Discard the carapace.
3) Gently pull the apron to remove the intestine and discard.
4) Remove the roe from the body if there is any and save.
5) Use a knife to cut the body into 4 sections. Remove the meat between the cartilage and save. Discard the gills, cartilage, shell bits and any non-edible parts.
6) Use a nut/lobster cracker to gently crack or break the shell of the claw and remove the meat. Discard any shell bits. Remove and discard the cartilage located inside the middle of the claw.
7) At the end look through the meat, remove and discard any shell or cartilage.

remove the carapace (top shell)
separated carapace and body
(the yellow-orange matter is the roe and/or crab mustard)
sweep inside the cave-like areas of the carapace (by the spines)
to remove all of the roe and/or crab mustard and save
remove the apron on the body and pull out the intestine and discard
remove the roe and/or crab mustard from the body and save
cut the body into 4 sections
cut bodies and claws
remove the meat between the cartilage of the body section
use a nut/lobster cracker to crack the shell of the claw
remove the shell
meat from the claw
remove and discard the cartilage located inside the middle of the claw
Is this 'a tiger eating black flies'??
picked cooked crab meat
picked cooked roe and crab mustard

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