Preparation / Directions:
Live crabs should be cold and sluggish, but showing some leg movement.
The shells should be clean and without cracks.
The crab should seem heavy for it's size.
Store live crabs in your fridge for up to 24 hours. Don't put them in a airtight container, don't put them in water, and don't put them on ice Live soft-shells should be stored at 50 to 55F, and all other live crabs at 40F
At the market, look for cooked whole crab in a refrigerated case or stored on ice. Crabs should feel extremely cold to the touch.
The shells should be bright orange or red-orange, and without cracks.
The crab should feel heavy for it's size.
Give the crab a gentle shake; you should not hear any "sloshing" sounds of water in the shell.
When you get them home, you can store whole cooked crab (or cooked meat in an airtight container) in the coldest part of the fridge for up to 3 days. Cooked meat will freeze well for up to two months.
Use the sniff test for freshness with packaged crabmeat: Open the container, wait a few seconds, and take a whiff. There should be no hint of ammonia.
Pasteurized crabmeat will keep in the fridge for up to six months unopened. Once you open it up, use it within three days.
Any crab you buy that isn't alive should be pre-cooked. Almost all crabs are cooked while still alive, often within hours of capture, so they retain their "just caught" flavor. Some fish markets will cook crabs onsite from their own live tanks. Either way, the quality of the cooked meat is very high and you're spared the trouble of handling live critters. A crab that dies before being cooked - even for just a few hours - will not only wither in quality, but the meat bonds to the shell, making it nearly impossible to extract.
The shell should have a smooth glaze of ice without areas of frost on the crab or the packaging.
A brownish coloring of the meat, caused by oxidation, shows poor handling or crab beyond it's prime.
Allow frozen crab to thaw overnight in the refri