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Thread: ? On preserving Crab

  1. #1
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default ? On preserving Crab

    I have been fishing tanner crabs in Homer the last few years and have always done real well with this.
    Every year we rent a cabin and spend some extra time crabbing.
    Last year we took a bunch of cooked crab to be processed at Coal Point. I wasn't real happy with the way they turned out after thawing and re-cooking this winter.
    I was always under the impression that crabs need to be cooked before freezing is this true?
    One of the issues with crabbing down there is you may not have more than one legal limit of crabs in your possession unless they are "fit for consumption after 15 days" basically that means frozen.
    We are camping across the bay in a rental cabin for several days. Going to Homer each day to drop off some of our excess crab is not a problem but I would rather not have to cook them before they are droped off to be vac packed and frozen.
    I know dead crabs should not be cooked and eaten as their body releases a toxin that will make you sick.
    If we just clean them well would we be ok to just have them frozen and vac packed ?
    If they need to be cooked would a reduced cooking time such as blanching make them taste fresher later on after freezing and reheating yet still be safe to eat?
    Thanks in advance.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Last year was my first year. I had talked with the biologist before I pulled pots and they recommend for quality of crab to cook them as soon as possible. I pulled my pots last year after fishing for the day and went strait to the harbor. We only crabbed for 3 days. Wish I would have had more time. I brought along a turkey fryer and a 120 qt cooler. I took the tops off, scraped out the guts, split them in 2 halfs and boiled them immediatly for about 5 minutes after a rolling boil. Cooled them down and pigged out for 3 days. Kept them in the cooler on ice blocks so the melted ice would not water them down. What was left, I removed all the legs and placed them in gallon zip locks and froze the legs and shucked all the meat from the bodies and vaccumed sealed it in portions we wanted and froze them to use in salads and crab rolls. They kept well for 3 months as thats as long as they lasted. They were not as good as they were fresh but we still liked them and will do the same process again in a week.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Chico99645 thanks for the reply.I have always cooked them in the past. I have a Turkey fryer/seafood cooker and my fishing buddy has one as well.
    Being we are camping across the bay in Halibut Cove Lagoon and need to enter/exit on the higher tide stages I was thinking if we could get by without having to cook them it would save a lot of time and hassle. I do not want to get stuck outside the lagoon and have to wait 10 hours to get back in but we should be ok.
    We still have plans to have a cooker camping with us as well as one in Homer to cook our excess crab to be brought to coal point.
    Last year they said they do not cook them there just vac pack and freeze witch they did a real good job of.
    I had dropped some crab off at my parents place last year and found out that early this spring they had still forgotten to use them like they had planned. My gf cooked them up andf they were good but nothing like when they were fresh.
    I will probably do like last year and cook them first unless I find out something different.
    6 of us this year 2 boats and 4 pots so if things go as well as I have done in the past we will have 24 crabs a day witch is more than we can eat for sure. It was a bummer last year with only 4 of us and one boat with 2 pots and we had to put legal crabs back in the pots for the next day because we had 25 keepers or so in a pick.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Chico99645 thanks for the reply.I have always cooked them in the past. I have a Turkey fryer/seafood cooker and my fishing buddy has one as well.
    Being we are camping across the bay in Halibut Cove Lagoon and need to enter/exit on the higher tide stages I was thinking if we could get by without having to cook them it would save a lot of time and hassle. I do not want to get stuck outside the lagoon and have to wait 10 hours to get back in but we should be ok.
    We still have plans to have a cooker camping with us as well as one in Homer to cook our excess crab to be brought to coal point.
    Last year they said they do not cook them there just vac pack and freeze witch they did a real good job of.
    I had dropped some crab off at my parents place last year and found out that early this spring they had still forgotten to use them like they had planned. My gf cooked them up andf they were good but nothing like when they were fresh.
    I will probably do like last year and cook them first unless I find out something different.
    6 of us this year 2 boats and 4 pots so if things go as well as I have done in the past we will have 24 crabs a day witch is more than we can eat for sure. It was a bummer last year with only 4 of us and one boat with 2 pots and we had to put legal crabs back in the pots for the next day because we had 25 keepers or so in a pick.

    You're killing me Chris!!!!

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    I think chico has the right idea shucking them and vacuum packing the meat. Freezing crab in the shell tends to make them briny IMO.
    When you're cooking them are you using salt water or fresh? I'm not sure if the processors use salt water or fresh to cook them.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Chris, are you fishing one or two pots for those numbers? Last year, I fished my pot and my buddy had a pot but gave me all his crab when I left for home as he lives down there and can't eat all he catches. I was doing well with one pot but not getting 20 keepers a day, more like 15 since we had tons of little ones and dungies in the mix. One day my buddy set his in 220 (way too shallow) feet and when we pulled it we had 77 dungies and no tanners. You know how much it hurts to dump them tastey little critters back in the water. I really wish they would open it for dungies also. Unfortunately, he had his pot stolen so I'm thinking of visiting Potbuilder again next week and getting another pot. If your reading this Steve, I know your smiling so get one ready for me. Also, Fullbush, I use sea water to cook my crab.

  7. #7
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=chico99645;776228]
    Chris, are you fishing one or two pots for those numbers?
    That was in 2 4x4 gear shed pots.in a 4 hour soak.
    One day my buddy set his in 220 (way too shallow) feet and when we pulled it we had 77 dungies and no tanners. You know how much it hurts to dump them tastey little critters back in the water. I really wish they would open it for dungies also.
    Me too. I thought they werte going to do a dungy survey last fall but have not heard if it happened or not.
    Unfortunately, he had his pot stolen
    I lost one too as did mone of my fishing buddies This year I am running 3x3 gear shed pots as the 4x4's got too heavy for my ace line hauler when full of crab.
    I use sea water to cook my crab
    I have been using fresh with a bag of crab boil seasoning thrown in the pot. I might just try salywater this year when I am down there kinda hard to do when cooking them at home.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I know dead crabs should not be cooked and eaten as their body releases a toxin that will make you sick.
    If we just clean them well would we be ok to just have them frozen and vac packed ?
    .
    So a coworked dropped off some uncooked crab that he caught yesterday (Sunday morning). Is it ok to cook and eat it for dinner tonight (Monday evening). It was on ice all day but it was cleaned.

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    Definitely ok to eat as long as they were kept cold. I have kept cleaned crab in the refrigerator for 3 days before cooking with no problem other than a loss of the sweet flavor a fresh crab has.

    There is absolutely no problem cooking and eating a dead crab! The issue is that in many cases you can't be sure when it died or how it was looked after since it died. Even lobsters, which generate toxins more quickly than crab, can legally be cooked and sold 8 hours after they died as long as they were kept below a certain temperature.

  10. #10

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    First off use saltwater, freash water will dilute the taste of the crab.
    There are two ways that I have found to preserve crab so they taste like the day you caught them.
    1. shuck all the crab and vac pac. It is a little time consuming but if you have a good pair of kitchen shears you can get into a good rythem.
    2. shuck all the crab and place it in empty milk cartons ( the paper ones work the best) then cool some of the water that you cooked the crab in and top off the carton and freeze. These stak well in the freezer.

    I cooked literaly millions of pounds of crab when I was younger woking for a prossecor, so I am pretty picky about keeping that fresh taste and the only way you can get that is to shuck the crab.

    The next best way, if your not going to shuck the crab, is to glaze the legs after they have been frozen. repeat this a few time untill the glaze builds up a nice thick coating. The onlytime I do this is if I want to use the crab for presentation.

  11. #11
    Member Trakn's Avatar
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    I to always shuck the crab. Boil then clean out all the meat put in small containers/ tupperware/ziploc plastic tubes/ small waxed milk containers( my mom used those) top of with SEAWATER. I like the idea of useing the water you cooked the crab in after it cools down that would add flavor. Flavor is always the issue hear.
    Chris if you went to the cabin cooked, cleaned,shucked, and packaged your crab then put them on ice in your cooler they will keep and are in good shape. You will have lots a time to do this since you will be at the cabin. Then the next day before you check pots go and drop your crab off to be frozen. Now you start out (over) with no crab and none on board or in camp. I think this is legal to do then start over.

  12. #12
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakn View Post
    I to always shuck the crab. Boil then clean out all the meat put in small containers/ tupperware/ziploc plastic tubes/ small waxed milk containers( my mom used those) top of with SEAWATER. I like the idea of useing the water you cooked the crab in after it cools down that would add flavor. Flavor is always the issue hear.
    Chris if you went to the cabin cooked, cleaned,shucked, and packaged your crab then put them on ice in your cooler they will keep and are in good shape. You will have lots a time to do this since you will be at the cabin. Then the next day before you check pots go and drop your crab off to be frozen. Now you start out (over) with no crab and none on board or in camp. I think this is legal to do then start over.
    FYI this is from before last years trip.
    We will be going back this year again to the lagoon and stay in one of the cabins. We did shuck and freeze the excess meat after cooking last year and that worked out pretty good. That is a good idea to cook them then drop off for freezing before pulling the pots on the second day. Makes good sense to me.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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