Thank goodness for the blue crab!
These little bluish shellfishes are harvested from the mid Atlantic area crab fishery in Chesapeake Bay to Florida and along the Gulf states as far west as Texas. In its scientific name, calli is Greek for “beautiful”, nectes for “swimmer”, and sapidus is Latin for “tasty”.
Types of Crabmeat
The most common type of crabmeat is lump. It comes from the large body region that sits behind the face of a female blue crab (also known as a “bucket of lumps”). This is the same part that contains all of the delicious white meat in a crab leg. Lump has a slightly sweet taste and contains both large pieces (or “lumps”) as well as smaller pieces or “bits.”
Grades of Lump Meat
When buying packaged lump crabmeat, there are typically two grades: special grade or jumbo lump grade A (aka super premium). Special grade usually costs less per pound than jumbo grade A—but don’t be fooled! Just because one package costs more doesn’t mean it will taste better than one that costs less! In fact, many chefs prefer special grade because they feel that it has more flavor than its higher-priced counterpart.
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
The most expensive variety of crabmeat, jumbo lump comes from the larger backfin meat. It’s more tender and delicate than other varieties. It is commonly used in crabcakes because it retains its shape when cooked.
Cooking Lump Meat
As for cooking options? Anything goes! You can make cakes with lump, toss some into salads or casseroles…the possibilities are endless! This type of seafood works especially well when paired with lemon juice or vinegar because those flavors help balance out the richness found in this delicacy’s extra tender meaty bits.”
Lump crabmeat is the meat from the body of a crab. It’s by far the most expensive type of crabmeat, and it also tends to be more flavorful and tender than other types of crab meat. Lump crabmeat can be found in several varieties, including Alaskan king (mature male) and Dungeness (mature female), but all are delicious when cooked properly.
Buying Lump Meat
Lump crabmeat can be purchased whole or split into claws, legs and bodies. Buying your own split lump allows you to choose pieces that are easy for you to work with when preparing your dish—and often means less waste because you’re not left with an unusable claw like you would if buying pre-split lumps!
Special crabmeat is made from a mixture of jumbo lump and backfin. It can be used in any recipe that calls for crabmeat, but particularly well suited to crab cakes, dips, melts and salads.
Backfin crabmeat is the most common type of crabmeat. It’s sold in cans or packets, and it’s typically the most affordable brand on the market. Because it’s so versatile, backfin crabmeat can be used in a variety of dishes—from soups and salads to casseroles and sandwiches.
Backfin is usually labeled “white meat” because it doesn’t have that brownish-orange color like some other types of fish do. The texture is tender, but it does have some firmness to it as well; this quality makes backfin perfect for removing from its shell without losing too much meat when compared to softer varieties in other regions around the world such as Alaska King Crab legs or Dungeness Crabs from California (Alaska).
Find the crabmeat that is right for your cooking needs
If you’re trying to feed a crowd, imitation crabmeat can be the way to go. It can be used in a variety of different dishes and it’s much less expensive than real crabmeat. If you’re looking for something more familiar with your traditional seafood recipes though, then fresh or cooked lump crabmeat is probably what you’ll want. Lump crabmeat has large chunks of white meat mixed in with other pieces of shell and cartilage. This type of crabmeat isn’t as delicate as some others but it does add a lot of flavor.
From crab cakes to crab dip, the possibilities for cooking with crabmeat are endless. If you’re looking for a delicious way to spice up your next meal, look no further than our guide on the different types of crabmeat.
Serve and take pleasure in blue crabs at your next party or cook-out and guarantee yourself the adoration of an appreciative group of seafood enthusiasts. Lastly, do not feel sorry for the blue crab, they get more respect than they know.
More Blue Crab Details
- Callinectes sapidus means “Beautiful swimmer that is tasty”.
- Crabs reach maturity in 12 to 18 months.
- Few crabs live longer than 3 years.
- The largest crab taped from Maryland was a male measuring 9 inches; however bigger crabs (10-11 inches) have actually been captured.
- The yearly harvest of tough crabs from Chesapeake Bay represents over 50% of overall U.S. landings.
- A spring-spawned crab can reach a size of 2 1/2 inches by their very first winter.
A lot of crabs, except the glamorous King Crab, live out their meek and modest lives in the shadow of the lobster, the king of seafood. Seriously, where would ‘royal’ be without blue crab meat and scrumptious ‘Maryland Style’ be without tender and yummy blue crabs?
Soft Shell Crab
Normally the blue crab will yield only 10% to 15% of it’s body weight in crab meat. The crabs grow by molting or shedding their shell and growing back a larger one. Just prior to molting, the crab will be enclosed in both the soft, brand-new shell which is forming beneath the difficult old shell. The development of a new shell appears along the margins of the swimming paddles of a crab.
The crab is referred to as a “peeler” or “shedder”. Instantly after the molt, the crab’s new shell is soft, pliable and quickly extended. At this time the crab would be referred to as a” soft shelled crab”. Lots of crab enthusiasts will just eat a soft shell, which is simply a wonderful dish when lightly tossed in flour and pan fried.
Most crabs, other than the luxurious King Crab, live out their meek and humble lives in the shadow of the lobster, the king of seafood. Seriously, where would ‘imperial’ be without blue crab meat and scrumptious ‘Maryland Style’ be without tender and yummy blue crabs?