Can you eat all of a Soft Shell Crab? (1 Tip)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat all of a Soft Shell Crab? We will discuss the parts of crabs that are removed and the edible ones. We will also elaborate on how crabs are prepared and cooked.

Can you eat all of a Soft Shell Crab?

You can eat all of a Soft Shell Crab. The shell, legs, and body of the Soft Shell Crabs are edible. 

The Soft Shell Crabs are cooked whole and can be eaten in their entirety including, the insides. Sometimes the insides of the Soft Shell Crabs are not cleaned out. A yellow substance oozes from the insides of the crab, known as hepatopancreas, is also found to be delicious by many people. 

The parts of the Soft Shell Crabs removed by most people are the eyes, mouth, and gills. Most of the organs inside the crabs are edible.

The Soft Shell Crab can be cooked by any method of your choice. Softshell crab is either sautéed, fried, or even grilled after marinating them in olive oil, herbs, and garlic.

What is the Soft Shell Crab and, where can you find them?

The Soft Shell Crab is deep-fried and served whole. Softshell crabs are available from early March to late September in Florida, Atlantic Coast, and Maryland.

The Soft Shell Crab belongs to the same species as the hard shell crab. The Soft Shell Crabs undergo a process called molting, where they shed their shell.

After the soft shell phase is over, the crabs regain their hard shell. The crabs that have recently undergone the molting process have pale abdomen and wrinkled skin.

After the crab has shed its previous shell, new one forms within hours. 

The fishermen catch the crabs and leave them in tanks before the molting process starts. The tanks have controlled temperature where the crabs are caught before they get the time to reform their hard shell.

After the crabs are caught, they are enclosed in damp straws and seaweeds and shipped to the market, where they are frozen and sold.

The Soft Shell Crabs are usually found in specialty supermarkets. You should opt for fresh and live crabs because freezing or even refrigerating can make the crabs harden. 

The live crabs move very slowly and have soft, pliable shells, all of which are edible. Avoid buying crabs, whether dead or alive which have an unusual and strong smell.

Do not buy the Soft Shell Crabs wrapped in cellophane because they indicate that they were frozen. If you get frozen Soft Shell Crabs, they are dressed and ready to cook.

Dead crabs are not a viable option, because like other shellfish, they decompose immediately and give off an unpleasant odor of ammonia.

How to prepare a Soft Shell Crab?

If you buy the Soft Shell Crab live, you will need to clean and snip the unnecessary parts. You need a pair of scissors to get rid of the shell that lies behind the eyes. You can also use a knife or shears to cut the face-off. 

Then lift the shell to expose the lungs or gills and place the crab upside down. Remove the plate that lies at the bottom of the shell; then grab hold of the gills and pull them out from both sides. Lastly, get rid of a flap that lies underside of the craps body. Pull and snap off the flap or the apron.

The crab is ready to cook. If the dressing task seems daunting, you could talk to a fishmonger to clean them and set fresh Soft Shell Crabs aside for you.

How to Cook Soft Shell Crabs?

To fry the Soft Shell Crabs by coating them in flour and seasoning. The crabs can also be glazed in white wine, lemon juice, peppers, salt, and parsley. 

The fried crabs have a crispy outer layer, while the crabs are soft and crunchy.

You can either deep-fry or shallow-fry the crabs. Coat a skillet or pan with some oil and butter and fry the crabs for three minutes on either side. You can use either olive oil or canola oil to fry the crab. In case you choose to grill the crabs instead, fry for 5 minutes on either of the sides.

Some people like to bread the crab and deep fry. Any conventional bready and coating method will do. A recommended recipe is to use half flour and half cornmeal, garlic powder, and plenty of black pepper. 

When you eat fried crab, you do not need to have a sauce on the side.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat all of a Soft Shell Crab? We discussed the parts of crabs that are removed and the edible ones. We also elaborated on how crabs are prepared and cooked.

Citation

https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/national/how-to-eat-soft-shell-crab
https://www.thespruceeats.com/clean-and-cook-soft-shells-continued-1300650
https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-clean-soft-shell-crabs

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.