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Author Topic: How long can I store crabs?  (Read 560 times)
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JustEric
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« on: August 02, 2021, 10:05:33 AM »

Hi Crabbers,

I want to take crabs to my family in Ohio this Saturday.  After my last crabbing trip, I am afraid I cannot catch enough crabs on Friday for the Saturday trip.  I am considering going crabbing on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.  In the past, I have kept crabs in the basement where it is about 60 to 65 degrees in a bushel basket covered with a wet towel overnight and lose a half a dozen crabs.  My question is do you think I will lose many crabs if I put them in the basement on Thursday night and plan on eating them on Saturday?   

My plan is to move the crabs to a cooler and put them on ice on Saturday morning.  When I put crabs on ice, I always check each crab to make sure it is alive.  All the crabs that I put on ice get cooked, within 8 hours. 

My question, is it worth catching crabs on Thursday with in the hopes they will stay alive in my basement at 60-65 degrees until Saturday morning?

Thanks Crabbers,
Eric
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Stabilizer
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2021, 06:15:09 PM »

Sounds like you have little choice.  Plan on some dead loss, but enjoying MD crabs in OH will be priceless.

And only keep the hard crabs for the trip. (No lights).
« Last Edit: August 02, 2021, 09:10:49 PM by Stabilizer » Logged
lreops
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2021, 07:21:07 PM »

I've kept nearly a bushel in my garage, not quit as cool as your basement, for two days and steamed early on the third with, as I remember, just a couple died. Not much more than after a days catch. Just keep them as cool as you can, drape a moisten cloth, I prefer burlap, over them in darkness. And all of this with no icing down before hand. By the sound of your plan, I would think that you'll be alright.

Ron

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Ron

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Harford Crabber
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2021, 04:38:08 PM »

If you put em under ice when you leave for Ohio chances are a lot of them will be dead when you get there.  Especially the ones that are under water after ice melts.  I'm not sure if they're safe to eat after they die before steaming, even when very cold.  
I've never cooked a dead crab but often wondered what happens to em?    
I'm sure a lot of people have eaten crabs in a restaurant that were dead before they were cooked, hopefully with no ill effects.
Hopefully with all the learn-ed people on this site, someone will know the scientific reason it's so bad to cook a dead crab.  

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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2021, 10:07:46 PM »

The main reason its bad to eat a dead crab is that you dont know when it died. Or how long it has been dead and exposed to heat. Seafood in general goes bad fast. People eat dead crabs all the time that have been frozen. Dont say you havent or never would. Most of you that ordered a soft shell crab from a restaurant have eaten a dead more then likely frozen crab. I think a crab that has been put in the fridge alive and comes out dead would be fine to eat the same day. But if its been in there to long the meat will get mushey and not very appealing. It could still go bad if left in there to long so anything that does not taste right or smell right should be tossed away. Not sure what a crab in ice water for that long would do to the meat. But in general what I have noticed is I will loose 3 to 6 crabs the 1st night. Then each day double that number or more. So if you have crabs for 2 nights you might loose 12 to 15 crabs. Like stabilizer said only keep heavy crabs. They will live longer. Light crabs will get killed by the other crabs and die easier.
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JustEric
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2021, 11:09:25 AM »

Thanks for all the great feedback.  I have a cooler that has a raised bottom to keep the crabs out of the water.  I might need to get a second cooler and create a false bottom for it depending on how many crabs I catch. 

When I am eating crabs the same day I catch them, I put them in a cooler with ice on them.  It slows the crabs down and makes it so they don't lose their claws when they are cooked.  I think most commercially caught crabs are refrigerated before they are cooked.  Do you think icing crabs has a different effect than refrigerating them (assuming you keep them out of the water at the bottom of the cooler).

Thanks again for your feedback,
Eric
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indoe
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2021, 10:23:36 PM »

I put my crabs in an ice water bath for about 10 min before cooking. Like you said keeps the crabs from tossing their claws as well as easier to stack more in the pot. I think the fridge and ice do about the same thing.  But keeping them on direct contact with ice will kill them quicker. Would you survive long in a fridge or direct contact with ice.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2021, 07:00:57 PM »

Why not just cook them at home and then refrigerate them.  When it's time to get on the road, throw those chilled crabs in a quality cooler with some blue ice.  They'll be fine when you get to the next refrigerator.  Re-steam them if your friends/family want them hot.  Bet some want them cold Smiley  Good luck, I'm sure they'll enjoy them! 
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Crabcruncher
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 06:28:49 PM »

Why not just cook them at home and then refrigerate them.  When it's time to get on the road, throw those chilled crabs in a quality cooler with some blue ice.  They'll be fine when you get to the next refrigerator.  Re-steam them if your friends/family want them hot.  Bet some want them cold Smiley  Good luck, I'm sure they'll enjoy them! 
Easy to reheat, just put a half inch of water in pot with rack and heat on high until first wisp of steam comes from under lid, than turn off heat and wait ten minutes with lid on.
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