All About Blue Crabs
Louisiana may be known for its blue crabs, but did you know that they’re not all blue? The crabs get their name because of their bluish color, but some of these shelled creatures can also be gray or turquoise. Yet despite the color, the crab is a favorite with Louisianans everywhere!
A blue crab is found in both salt and fresh water in all almost all parts of the world. Here they are typically found in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Because they are bottom-dweller, a young crab is prey to many animal species. Birds, sharks, eels, catfish, sea turtles and even their own kind will hunt them.
But animals are not the only prey they must look out for. Fishermen harvest the crab for commercial use. Trotlines or crab pots are used to trap the crab during the warm months when they are more active. Sometimes a dredge is used during the winter months when they are not so open to the cold waters.
Once a crab is harvested, workers must separate male from female. The easiest way a fisherman will distinguish a male crab from a female crab is by looking for a “T” shaped apron and blue-tipped claws. A young female crab will have red-tipped claws and a triangular shaped apron that forms a “U” as an adult.
When an adult female becomes pregnant she will carry her eggs under her abdomen until they are released into the water, which takes about two weeks.
Once the eggs hatch, the crab grows to its adult size in about a year and a half.
During their growth, a crab will shed its shell many times. During this process, the new shell will be soft which at this time are often harvested for their delectability.
Those that are left to harden are no strangers to a Louisiana table either. A hard-shell crab is one of the most common delicacies of Louisianans.
What Cajuns Do with Blue Crabs
The hard-shell crab is often boiled and served whole in the shell. Louisianans then crack the shells and enjoy the meat inside. Much of the meat is found in the claws for hard-shell lovers, but the entire crab maybe eaten when cooked as a soft-shell.
Boiling a blue crab isn’t the only way to prepare it. A crab may be fried, steamed and even baked, there are hundreds of Cajun recipes for blue crabs. But many Louisiana chefs will agree that the best way to cook a crab is by boiling or steaming it.
But no matter how a crab is prepared, one thing is for sure, it’s all good!
Click Here to Learn
How to Boil and Eat Louisiana Blue Crabs