Crabs don’t relinquish their sweet meat easily. Cooking, cleaning, cracking, and shelling crab can be a chore. Fortunately, you are able to purchase freshly cooked crabs, and even pre-cooked and picked crab meat from your local seafood monger/supplier.
While there is nothing wrong with these, and in truth they are quite convenient, the fact is that if you want to lower the cost of purchasing the prepared crabs, buy them fresh and try it yourself… Not only will you have the satisfaction of rescuing the delicious meat from the maze of shells, you will get great value for your dollar. Here’s how.
Using about ¼ cup of salt per 4 litres of water fill a large pot ¾ full and bring to a boil.
Immerse the crabs whole and again bring the water to the boil to cook the crabs for about 15-20 minutes depending on size.
Remove the crab from the pot and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the shell for handling.
Remove the abdomen with your fingers (also called the apron, it is the flap of shell on the underside of the crab).
Remove the outer shell (the back of the crab, also called the carapace) by sticking your thumb into the hole left from removing the abdomen and lifting up firmly.
The shell will detach from the body with some guts attached. Cut the crab in half.
Remove and discard the leaf-like, spongy gills (also known as dead mans fingers) from either side of the body.
Rinse out the greenish-brown guts. Break off and discard the mandibles, which are the mouth parts at the front of the crab.
Pull all of the large chunks of meat out of the body, then break open the legs and claws using a mallet or nutcracker. Once all the meat is out, make sure you crumb it through your fingers to check for any bones you missed. Better check it twice….and enjoy.