Saturday, November 24, 2018

How to Process Green Crabs Humanely

How to Process Green Crabs Humanely

Many people are concerned about killing a living organism for food such as shellfish more humanely. How do we determine what is humane? Some people may view a quick death as better than a slow drawn out death. Would you slowly freeze a lobster before boiling or steaming it or would you just place a live lobster in a pot of boiling water? For the green crabs it seems that placing them in boiling water will kill them much faster than spearing them with a sharp object through the brain or freezing them. Spearing them may cause you injury and believe me they do not die instantly. Removing the carapace and gills while they are still alive causes them to die nearly as fast as spearing them in the brain. If you believe that freezing them is the most humane way as many seem to think then be sure to freeze them in your home freezer for at least 2 hours before you process or cook them. Of course it all depends on how cold your freezer is. If you are unsure how cold your freezer is then you can start by placing a bag of crabs in your freezer. After 2 hours remove the bag and look inside to check for signs of life =  any hint of movement. If there is none then quickly process or cook the crabs.

One interesting survival instinct of these green crabs (applies to those with hard shells) that I see repeatedly is that they tend to self amputate one or more of their claws and/or legs when they sense stress, threat or danger. Hence, you may notice that when you drop the live green crabs in boiling water they tend to loose part or all their claws and legs. If you freeze them for at least 30 minutes and then drop them in boiling water, their claws and legs tend to remain intact. This indicates the crabs are not stressed and is the most humane way to cook them, and provides you a complete crab for your recipe.

frozen green crab from the freezer
cooked green crab--the most humane way

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