Blue crabs are one of the most popular seafood. They are known for their sweet and tender meat. Blue crabs are versatile and could be used in many different entrees. For these crabs, they are available only once during the year. Therefore, most people will buy a lot of them when it becomes available. Blue crabs taste great when they are cooked right away, but what if you need to store them for later? Would you be able to freeze blue crabs?
In this short guide, we’ll through the proper way to freeze blue crabs, how to prepare them for freezer storage, and how long they’ll last. If this is the information you’re looking for, keep reading.
Can You Freeze Blue Crabs?
The best thing about blue crabs is that you can freeze the whole crab, just the crab legs, or the crabmeat. They will usually last for about 3 months, so if you’re planning to eat them before then, they will taste as fresh as when you’ve bought them. If it’s going to be longer than 3 months, blue crabs are still safe to eat, but the quality of it will diminish.
Depending on how you’re freezing the crabs, you’ll need to prep them first. If not, they won’t last very long in the freezer. Most likely, it will get freezer burn.
When freezing blue crabs, the shell is very important. Always try to freeze the crabs with their shell intact. The shell helps the meat retain its flavor and texture. Without the shell, the meat can become quite stringy over time.
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It’s not recommended to store uncooked blue crabs in the freezer. There are two reasons for that. The first one is the danger of getting sick from food poisoning. Like most other kinds of seafood, blue crabs are highly perishable and tend to go bad quickly. By freezing them uncooked, when the crab dies, toxins will spread to other parts of the body.
The other reason is the crabmeat will be damaged when it’s frozen. As the crab starts to freeze, the meat will start to expand against the shell. The problem starts when the blue crab is being thawed. As it thaws, the crabmeat will start to shrink and break apart. Some of the meat will stick to the shell. When you’re ready to cook and eat it, you’ll have a very difficult time trying to remove the meat from the shell.
Can You Freeze Leftover Blue Crabs?
When it comes to blue crabs that you have leftover, you can freeze them. Freezing leftover blue crabs should be frozen as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the chances of having bacteria growing on them. Also, it’s best to freeze them with their shell intact. Without the shell, frozen crabmeat will lose its texture and become stringy.
Before freezing them, make sure they’re completely cooled down first. Also, drain out any liquid that might be in the crab. Extra moisture in the crab could cause them to get freezer burn.
Again, it’s best to freeze cooked crabs as soon as possible. This means if you have any leftover crabs or you’re planning to freeze them for later use, freeze them right away. The longer that it sits at room temperature, the higher the chance it will go bad.
Since the blue crabs have been cooked already, the crabmeat has already shrunk. Therefore, after freezing them, once the crab is thawed, never refreeze them again. Doing so will cause the crabmeat to become soggy and watery.
Can You Freeze Dead Blue Crabs?
It depends on how long the blue crabs have been dead. The longer that it’s dead, the higher the chances that it will have bacteria growing on it.
If you bought blue crabs while it was alive and once you get home, they died, you can freeze them. You should freeze them as quickly as possible to avoid bacteria growth. Seafood is highly perishable and it’s not recommended they stay at room temperature once it’s dead.
On the other hand, blue crabs are left at room temperature and you are unsure how long they have been dead, you should check them first. Spoiled blue crabs will have a bad smell to them.
If it smells fresh, it’s best to cook dead blue crabs before freezing them. This way, if there is any bacterial growth on the crab, it will all be killed.
For blue crabs that are left for hours at room temperature and died, it’s best to just throw them out than risking food poisoning.
How Long Can You Freeze Blue Crabs?
In the freezer, blue crabs can stay fresh for up to 3 months. This is if it’s prepared correctly first and properly stored. Whole blue crabs and just the crabmeats have the same freezer storage life.
As stated, frozen blue crabs will stay fresh for up to 3 months, but they can last much longer than that. After 3 months, blue crabs can still be eaten, but they’ll start to lose their flavor and texture.
After 3 months, even though it won’t taste as fresh as when it was bought, you can use them as part of a meal. You can use them in soups, stir-fry, or used to make crabcakes.
How to Freeze Blue Crabs
Freezing blue crabs is quite simple, but you’ll need to prep it first. Prepping them will ensure they will remain fresh in the freezer for a long as possible.
Freezing Whole Blue Crabs
This is usually the easiest and quickest way of freezing blue crabs. Great for eating them fresh or using them for cooking a delicious meal.
Here’s how to freeze fresh blue crabs:
- After the crab is cooked, let it sit to cool down.
- Once it has completely cooled down, take a layer of cling wrapper and wrap each blue crab individually.
- Take a layer of foil wrapper and wrap the blue crab again. This double insulation will prevent any air from getting to the crab.
- Place it in the freezer.
They will remain fresh for up to 3 months.
This option is for those who are planning on using crabmeat to cook or prepare a meal that requires blending. Freezing just the crabmeat will result in the meat falling apart and becoming soft when it thaws.
To help retain the texture of the crab, you can cover the meat with milk. The milk act as a barrier to protect the crabmeat from getting freezer burn.
Here is how to freeze crab meat:
- Make sure the blue crab is cooked first.
- After the crabs are cooled down, start by separating the meat from the shell.
- Place the crab meat into a bowl or a deep dish.
- Pour milk onto the crab meat covering every part of it.
- Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- In a freezer bag, place the crabs gently into it. Fill the bag leaving about an inch of space at the top so you can seal it.
- Squeeze out excess air from the bag and seal the bag tight.
- Label the bag with a date and place it into the freezer.
Crabmeat will remain fresh for up to 3 months.
How Do You Defrost Blue Crabs?
The best way to defrost blue crabs or any other crabs is to thaw them slowly. This will prevent the crabmeat from breaking apart.
To thaw the crab, remove them from the freezer and place it into a bowl in the fridge. Let it sit overnight to thaw. Depending on how many and how big the crabs are, it could take up to 24hrs to completely thaw.
If you need to thaw the blue crabs sooner, place them into a bowl of warm water and let them sit for a couple of hours. Make sure that once it thaws, transfer them to the fridge right away or cook them. Leaving the blue crabs out too long could cause bacteria to start growing on them.
Using Frozen Blue Crabs
When it comes to blue crabs, most people will boil them and eat them fresh. Whiles boiling it is the most popular way, there are other ways of using blue crabs. This seafood is versatile and you can use it in so many different entrees.
Here are some of the delicious entree you can use blue crabs with:
- Baked Crab Rangoon
- Blue Crab Miso Soup
- Crab Bisque Soups
- Crab in Coconut Squash Sauce
- Deviled Crab
- Grilled Crab
- Imitation Crab Meat Sandwich
- Cajun Crab Stuffed Shrimp
- Crab Chili Recipe
- Delicious Crab Jambalaya
- Crab Nachos
- Crab and Corn Chowder
- Crab Stuffed Halibut
- Crab Meat Won Ton Recipe
- Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts Dinner for Two
- Crab Meat and Asparagus Soup
- Crab Meat With Mushrooms
- Crab Stuffed Portabella
- Vegetable Crab Soup
- Salt and Pepper Crab
- Steamed Blue Crabs
- Crab Stuffed Ravioli With Shrimp
- Crab Fried Rice
As you can see, there are many entrees you can make with blue crabs besides eating them fresh. Blue crabs are perfect for making the above entrees and other foods as well.
How Long Does Blue Crabs Last?
At room temperature, live blue crabs will last for a couple of days. It’s very important to store them properly to avoid them from dying. Once they die, they will go bad very quickly.
Fresh crab meat will last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. When keeping them in the fridge, it’s recommended to surround the crab meat with ice. This will keep the crab meat from breaking apart.
Steamed blue crabs will last for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
Does Frozen Blue Crabs Go Bad?
Frozen blue crabs will stay at their best quality for up to 3 months. Once it’s past that point, the crab will still be safe to eat, but the quality of it will start to diminish.
By keeping the blue crabs frozen at 0°F, they can stay safe for consumption indefinitely.
The time when frozen blue crabs start to go bad is when it is thawed. Once the crab begins to thaw, the crabmeat will begin to deteriorate due to the moisture within it.
If it’s left at room temperature to thaw, it will go bad within a couple of hours once it’s completely thawed. Bacterial growth starts immediately when the temperature begins to get warm.
For blue crabs that are left to thaw in the refrigerator, they can be kept for 3 to 5 days. After that time, you should not try to eat it. It’s best to just throw them away and boil new blue crabs.
Can you freeze raw crab claws?
You can freeze raw crab claws without issues. Unlike the meat in other parts of the body, crab claws don’t need to be boiled before freezing them. Just make sure to put them in a freezer bag and seal it tight so no air can get in.
Can you freeze live crabs in a zip lock bag?
You should never freeze blue crabs or any other crabs while it’s still alive. Freezing them will cause them to die. Since the crab takes time to freeze, toxins will slowly release into their whole body. This will cause you to have stomach aches and other digestive issues when it’s consumed.