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Author Topic: Freezing whole, uncleaned, live crabs.  (Read 39627 times)
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Bubba Joe-Bob
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« on: July 22, 2008, 10:22:23 PM »

 Is it acceptable and safe to immediately place freshly caught crabs on ice, (and covered with ice), in a cooler, and keep them in a cooler, (covered with ice) for 7 to 10 days, until the crabbing trip is over ? .... Or, is it safer and more acceptable to remove each day's catch of crabs from the ice and cooler and then freeze the whole crabs in a freezer ?

The issue is, that I plan on spending 10 days to two weeks crabbing, shrimping, and fishing, and what I am trying to find out is; What method is best to keep my crabs safe for future human consumption.

I have read, in here, that dead crabs are very dangerous to eat, even after being cooked.  So, when I'm 4 miles out in the marshes, catching crabs in the morning, (and all throughout the day), am I alright by putting the crabs on ice, (and covered with ice), in a cooler ?
And letting them remain in the cooler until I can put them in a freezer that evening, where they will remain frozen indefinately untill we're ready to steam or boil them days, or weeks later, after I return home ?

It seems to me, that all my crabs will be dying very quickly after I remove them from the pot and place them in a cooler on ice, and also cover them with ice as well.  I always take 3 or 4 coolers packed with ice each time I head out. This way has always worked well for shrimp and fish, but it was the crabs that I am unsure of.

Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Bubba
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frankthirst
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 10:37:16 PM »

you could back and clean the crabs and freeze them.....or cook the crabs first then freeze them.....but i wouldnt do either of 2 anymore then a day after you have the crabs on ice......i mean we use to back and clean the crabs then freeze them and use em to make crab soup........and they freeze soft crabs raw after cleaning them
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Bubba Joe-Bob
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 12:53:08 AM »

Look folks, I really really appreciate all the advice.

But perhaps I still haven't made myself clear.

I do NOT have any resources available to clean my catch of crabs.

The ONLY choices I have are; Immediately after removing them from the Crab Pot, placing them on ice in a cooler, (in my boat), and covering them with another layer of ice. Then, after the day's crabbing is over, and I return to my little shack, I can either keep the crabs on ice, and keep adding ice, or I can take the crabs out of my cooler and and immediately put them in a freezer and deep freeze them.

As I will be out, in the marsh shack, for 10 days to two weeks before returning to civilization and heading home, what I am asking is, is it safe to keep crabs frozen for an indefinate period of time before thawing them out and cooking them ?

I greatly appreciate any pertinent advice on this issue.

Thanks, Bubba
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R D
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 06:24:18 AM »

NO
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 08:36:04 AM »

do not keep your days catch on ice... as the ice melts in a cooler the crabs will be in water and then die.

keep the days catch in a bushel basket / laundry tote that has some ventilation... periodically throughout the day dunk the basket, keep a moist towel on top of the crabs..... rewet the towel regularly.

each evening when you get back to the marsh house either clean and freeze the live crabs... or steam / boil them and then freeze the cooked crabs.

Whether frozen fresh (cleaned) or cooked they will keep as well as any other light meat for a few weeks in the freezer without freezer burn.

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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 10:05:01 AM »

I agree with what Prowler said.  Personally I think you should cook the crabs and then clean them before freezing them.  That is the only way they will stay fresh.  Shrimp lasts forever when you freeze it but crabs don't.  I take and pick the meat and then vacuum seal it and it lasts for quite a few months.  That is the only way that the crab meat has ever tasted fresh when I dethawed it.  If you put crabs in a cooler and put ice on them they will die and not be safe to eat.  Keep them in a bushel basket or a bin with holes in it and put some big blocks of ice on them.  They will last a couple of days that way maybe 2 or 3 but thats about it.  Good luck!
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Thats what I'm talkin' bout!
Bubba Joe-Bob
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 11:40:09 AM »

Now ya talkin' !

That's the info I was seeking !   Many and much thanks fellers !

I realize that my question may be pretty common sense to all you pros out there, but all this is new to 'ol Bubba.

Again, thanks alot, and good crabbing !

Bubba
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Wolfpack00
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 12:10:59 PM »

The way I keep crabs for a day or two alive is:

Put about 3 inches of ice in the bottom of the cooler with the drain plug removed. (This lets water drain as the ice melts.)  Cover the ice with newspaper. Place live crabs on the newspaper. Put another layer of paper over the crabs.  Wet the paper only slightly until it is damp.

The ice in the cooler will cool the crabs and slow their metabolism.  They are much less aggresive.  As long as they stay moist and cool they will last a few days.

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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 12:30:07 PM »

Frozen 2 liter bottles work well too.  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 04:36:11 PM »

 Grin
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unclebuttsy
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 04:41:27 PM »

I think Dr John is on to something but I have no experience in such matters.

I was going to suggest buying a turkey fryer and packing it in to your shack. Now you can steam & freeze your crabs. 20# of propane ought to last your fishing trip.
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Mutzy crab man
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 04:52:34 PM »

Freeze them clean.....Uncooked...They will last for a long time
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 07:28:54 PM »

i agree with mdjohn. keep them in the water. put them in a floating pen and feed them. if your catch is a big one (which i hope it is-best of luck Wink ), then get a few so that they wont get over crowded and kill each other. then when youre ready to head home pack them in bushel baskets or a cooler and they should be good to go. i think ive read on here that theyll eat dog food...then again theyll eat anything meaty...so maybe necks or lips.
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sighanson
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2008, 04:54:58 PM »

Never freeze crabs! Makes the meat turn to mush.
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R D
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2008, 10:44:42 PM »

Never freeze crabs! Makes the meat turn to mush.
It does??
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jgar529
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2008, 08:30:25 AM »

Never freeze crabs! Makes the meat turn to mush.

I do it all the time and my crabmeat isn't mushy when I unthaw it.  I would bet whatever crabmeat you see in the store has been frozen at some point.  They only turn to mush if you don't freeze the meat properly.
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Crab Monger
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« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2008, 12:31:54 PM »

It does??

it does...

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was employed to evaluate structural damage to blue crab (Callinectes saupidus) muscle resulting from thermal processing combined with freezing preservation in the course of developing the methodology for applying SEM to the study of processinglpreservation effects on muscle tissue. Specimens dissected from thermally processed, fast and slow frozen, conventionally frozen stored crabmeat were glutaraldehyde-fixed, solvent exchanged, freeze fractured, critical point dried, gold coated and examined and photographed with an Etec "Autoscan" microscope. Gross structural damage to the thermally processed tissue due to ice crystal formation and growth was clearly observable in low magnification (ca. 150) micrographs of freeze-fractured transverse surfaces. Ice crystal formation and growth followed the well documented patterns associated with fast and slow frozen native (i.e., raw) muscle tissue studied in thin section by means of transmission microscopic techniques following conventional freezer storage. It was determined that the low magnification images best depicted gross structural damage to intact fibers or fiber bundles while high magnifications (ca. ≥1000) depicted ultrastructural organization and damage quite satisfactorily. An accelerating voltage of 10 Kev was adequate for the former whereas 20 Kev proved superior in the latter case, although the risk of'charging' was increased at the higher voltage. An osmium post-fix was found to be unnecessary, gluteraldehyde being adequate. Freeze fracturing was essential for revealing'intracellular' damage especially, and critical point drying appeared to be superior to freeze drying prior to gold coating. Crustacean muscle is especially well suited to SEM study.

I cleaned and froze a bushell of crabs before the season ended and they are nothing but mush, still great for soup....I'll be cooking then freezing next time.  I'm talking regular freezing here by the way, not flash freezing...no experience with that.
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2008, 12:43:38 PM »

 i tried to eat frozen steamed crabs from a neighbor who is oriental and says she freezes crabs every year and eats them through the winter. the crabs tasted horrible and i could'nt finish eating 1. when i returned the uneaten crabs and told her how bad they were she said i was spoiled, she was right fresh steamed is all i will eat.
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Crab Monger
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2008, 02:26:51 PM »

i tried to eat frozen steamed crabs from a neighbor who is oriental and says she freezes crabs every year and eats them through the winter. the crabs tasted horrible and i could'nt finish eating 1. when i returned the uneaten crabs and told her how bad they were she said i was spoiled, she was right fresh steamed is all i will eat.

yah, you probably should have made soup out of them or tossed them and told her they were great.  That wasn't necessary or the polite thing to do to someone who gave you some of their winter stash
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2009, 12:25:44 PM »

 OH WELL, they were nasty and i won't lie to be nice.
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