August 8, 2008, Newsletter Issue #76: How to Cook Crab

Tip of the Week

When you purchase pre-cooked crab (whole, crab legs, or crab meat) that is frozen, defrost it by taking it out of the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator overnight.

If you find that you need to defrost your frozen crab item quickly, wrap it tightly and securely in plastic wrap or in a large closable plastic bag and place it into a sinkful of cold water. When thawed, cook it immediately. Do not use hot water.

Plan on a two-pound whole crab taking one hour to defrost using this quick method.

Here is some information to help you cook your crab legs and crab meat. Once you have the whole crab cooked and cooled, you can remove the crab meat and crab legs.

How to cook crab legs (boiling method): Fill a large saucepan (or dutch oven) with water. Add 5 tablespoons of sea salt. Bring to a rapid boil.

Place crab legs into boiling water.

Bring the water back to a boil and only then start timing.

Once the water has started to boil again, reduce the heat and simmer. Cook large crab legs (e.g. King crab legs) for about 5-7 minutes. The shell will turn a bright orange when done.

Once the crab legs are done, quickly immerse them in cold water to stop the cooking process. This makes sure they do not overcook.

Either serve crab legs immediately for your guests to extract the meat or cool them down, crack open the shell, and remove crab meat yourself. Place crab meat into air-tight container and store in refrigerator.

Steaming live crab:

Pour 4 cups of water into large dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Place a steaming rack well above the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil.

As the liquid is heating up, place the live crabs into a large bowl of ice water for about 3 minutes. This is done to keep their legs and claws intact throughout the steaming process.

Place the live crabs onto the steaming rack. Sprinkle with seasoning.

Place lid on pot.

Steam for at least 20 minutes depending on the size and numbers of crab.

The crabs should turn a bright red or orange color when done.

Remove the crabs and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Serve hot.

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