If you like eating crabs, then you will absolutely adore eating soft shell crabs.
Maryland is famous for its many fresh seafood varieties such as lobster, king crabs and snow crabs. Arguably the most delicious variety of them all, however, is the soft shell crab.
So what is soft shell crab? And what’s the difference between a regular crab and a soft shell crab?
Great question! Here is some soft shell crab information:
A soft shell crab is essentially a crab that has outgrown the size of its hard shell and thus shed its exterior layer by a process called molting. Molting consists of a soft shell being formed underneath a crab’s hard shell.
During molting, the crab’s body swells with water so as to crack its outer, rigid shell and to liberate itself to continue growing. Once the crab has stepped out of its original shell, it begins to create a new, larger shell. This process of creating a new shell can take a matter of days, during which the crab’s body is left soft and vulnerable.
It is during this period of vulnerability that crab fisherman catch beautifully delicious soft shell crabs!
In the United States, blue crabs typically comprise the majority of soft shell crabs.
Soft shell crab season runs from late spring to the start of fall. The months during which soft shell crabs are most abundant goes from May through September, inclusive.
While frozen soft shell crabs are available year-round, you can count on finding the most high-quality, fresh Maryland soft shell crabs during these summer months. Cameron’s Seafood prides itself on providing top-notch soft shell crabs during this exciting season.
While it might sound obvious, the main advantage of eating soft shell crabs over regular, hard-shelled crabs is that the former are softer and thus easier to eat. Rather than struggle to extract tiny pieces of crab meat from a traditional crab shell, you can enjoy every last bite of crab meat by consuming the whole soft shell crab!
That’s right – a soft shell crab can be eaten as a whole and it won’t have a tough or bony texture. And soft shell crab tastes just as delicious as a regular crab!
If so, here’s a quick guide on how to prepare soft shell crabs for cooking. Note that it’s a best practice to buy soft shell crabs on the day you intend to cook them, if possible.
- Rinse soft shell crabs under cold water to remove excess dirt
- If you wish to remove the crab’s face, use a knife or scissors to slice behind its mouth and across so as to shave off a strip
- To remove the gills from underneath the top shell, lift a corner of the shell and rip out the beige-colored gills at the base on each side of the shell
- Flip over the crab and remove what is called the “apron”, a long flap that is thin for males and wide for females, by peeling it off
Once prepared as outlined above, you are ready to start cooking soft shell crabs to be appreciated with company!
You could try incorporating soft shell crab into our recently suggested crab-stuffed bell pepper recipe or you could pick a mouth-watering Maryland soft shell crab recipe from the list below:
- Maryland-style waffles by Wild Greens & Sardines
- Soft shell crab pasta dish by Wishful Chef
- Curry butter soft shell crab recipe by New York Times Cooking
Regardless of what dish you cook, you can rest assured that you’re in for a treat.
Our soft shell crabs are shipped pre-cleaned, saving you time and energy while preparing your meal. We source crabs that have shed their hard shells within 12 hours of being caught, ensuring a premium quality product to our customers.
Treat yourself to a batch of soft shell crabs today and indulge in this wonderful seafood option!
Still have questions about where to buy soft shell crabs? Leave a comment below and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.
If you’d rather reach out to our team privately, feel free to contact us here.