It’s stone crab season here is Florida, which is my favorite season. Stone crab claws are delicious, but if you want to catch and cook your own there’s a few things to know:
- You can only harvest stone crab claws, not the whole crab
- For sustainable harvesting practices, take one claw only so the crab can regenerate more quickly and has a good chance of survival
- DO NOT REFRIDGERATE UNCOOKED CLAWS
- Stone crab meat is very rich, so you don’t need many claws to make a meal or appetizer
*This post is not necessarily a recipe, but a tutorial on cooking and cracking stone crabs.*
The stone crabbing adventure started last year. William caught one stone crab by accident and harvested the claw. It was huge, and so delicious. He did not refrigerate the claw out of knowledge on the subject, but because the claw got left in the bottom of the boat. We cooked it when he got home and toasted to the happy accident. He vowed it would not be an accident next time. He was going to catch stone crabs. He got some traps and put them out and we learned a lot. We learned if you put the stone crabs on ice before you cook them, the meat tastes bitter. He learned that you have to move your traps, even if you feel like it’s a good area, because stone crabs don’t move that much.
This year, he set out traps and crossed his fingers and got lucky! Well, he says he knew what he was doing, that it was all intentional. I still think fishing or crabbing is part knowledge and a lot of luck, but thats just me. I also don’t catch much, so take that for what it’s worth. He brought in the crab leg haul and we set to work.
- First step is to set a pot of water to boil and add salt.
- When the pot comes to a boil add your crab legs and pull it off the heat.
- Let the crab legs sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. The shells will turn red.
- Take the crab out of the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water.
- After the claws are cool enough to handle you can shell your crab meat or refrigerate for later.
Cracking stone crabs is not technically difficult, but it can be hard. They’re shells are so thick that it is hard to crack the shell and get it off. In order to crack the shell we use a tablespoon. Our cutlery is pretty heavy, so if your spoons aren’t cracking the crab, try a heavier utensil. Now time for some friendly competition. William and I faced off to see who could shell it faster, and who got more presentable pieces. I went first, then William.
William won the contest, but we both win because we have stone crab to eat.
I like the crab pure, just dipped in melted butter.