You should cook large crabs (about 2lb) for around 15 – 20 minutes, whilst smaller crabs will only need around 8 – 10 minutes. 5.) Once the water has started to boil again, reduce the heat and simmer for the required time. The crab’s shell should turn a bright orange when done.
Steaming crab legs is very similar to boiling them. Some people say that steaming is actually better because it allows all of the crab flavor to stay within the shell instead of leaking out into the cooking water.
Check the color of the crab. If it is already orange or red, it is cooked and just needs to be reheated. If it is greenish or brown, you’ll want to make sure that you steam or boil it until it turns orange or red.
To steam the crab, bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is wide enough and deep enough to accommodate a whole crab. Place the crab in a steamer basket in the pot, cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the crab from the steamer and let it rest until cool enough to handle.
Cooking fresh crab legs is just as simple but requires a little extra time. Before you reheat or cook crab legs, be sure to thaw them. Thawing crabmeat ensures that it will heat up evenly. You can defrost crab legs in the refrigerator overnight (for about 8 hours) or by running cold water over them.
If you have decided to purchase pre-cooked frozen crab, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight in order to defrost. If you need to defrost the crab quickly, wrap it in cling film and place it in a sink full of cold water. Do not use hot water. A two pound crab will defrost in one hour.
Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 3 months, but will remain safe beyond that time. The freezer time shown is for best quality only – pasteurized crab meat that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
If this doesn’t indicate to you that Budweiser goes great with crabs, what will? This beer is a classic, and well-known for good reason. When it’s ice cold, it can balance out the Old Bay that will coat your crabs.
One at a time, grasp crabs as described above and plunge them headfirst into the boiling water; if you have too much water, ladle out excess and discard. Cover pan and start timing. When water resumes boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-pound crabs 15 minutes, 3-pound crabs about 20 minutes.
From my experience there are two things that cause crab meat to become mushy. Either the crabs were over cooked or the crabs died and the bacteria began breaking the meat down prior to steaming. I had some crabs that I steamed and ate 1 right out of the steamer.
Cases of illness from infection occur after a person eats raw or undercooked infected crab or crayfish. The illness is known as paragonimiasis. Paragonimus infection also can be very serious if the fluke travels to the central nervous system, where it can cause symptoms of meningitis.
Rinse the crabs with water before you steam them.
Be careful to use separate plates for raw crabs and cooked crabs to avoid cross-contamination. You will want to rinse out the green-brown guts from the crabs. Break off the mouth parts on either side of the crabs, and throw them away. Then, turn the crabs upside down.
An old wives’ tale says crab lungs are toxic, but they’re actually just not digestible and taste terrible. Now scrape out the gooey stuff in the center of the crab’s body’s two equal solid parts. The greenish stuff is the liver, called the tomalley. You can eat it and many love this part of the crab.
The vinegar will reduce the boiling point of the water present in your steaming pot, thus helping you to steam your crabs more quickly. The steam created by the water and vinegar solution will help you avoid the problem of the crab meat sticking to the shell.
Turn the crab over and clean out the guts, including the gray spongy lungs. Pinch the mouth and mandibles and pull them off. Rinse the body well. To serve, break the body in half and crack each segment of leg and claw at the joint using a mallet, the side of a heavy knife or a nutcracker.
Potential Risks of Crab
Brown crab meat can also have high levels of cadmium, which is toxic if you take in too much. Crab also has a good bit of sodium (237 milligrams in a 3-ounce portion).
According to Ingber, “the whole soft shell is edible—and delicious.” When it comes to cooking methods, he prepares the crabs a variety of ways: sautéed, fried or even grilled.
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