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Author Topic: Does crabs sweet taste diminish based on how long they are stored before cooking  (Read 416 times)
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JustEric
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« on: August 29, 2021, 01:04:19 PM »

Hi Crabbers,

On a couple occasions I have noticed that crabs are not as sweet as usual.  The common thread is that I stored the crabs in my basement for over 30 hours before cooking them.  The basement temp is around 65 and I keep the crabs in wood bushel baskets with a wet towel on top of them.  I find about 6 dead crabs per bushel and throw them away.   My wife says she does not taste the difference and my crab eating friends haven't mentioned anything.  I am not sure if it's in my head or if the crabs sweetness diminishes the longer you keep the before cooking.

I know that crab houses store their crabs in refrigerators for extended periods of time so keeping them cold must not affect them much. 

My thought is that the crabs in the basement at 65 are metabolizing (living off) the sugar in their body.  Refrigerated crabs might do the same but at a much slower pace since their metabolic rate is much less.  Just shooting from the hip here.

So what say you Crabber?  Does the amount of time you keep crabs before cooking them and the conditions you keep them in affect the sweetness of your crabs? 

Thanks Crabbers,
Eric
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rdbeard
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 07:30:15 AM »

Keeping crabs at the right temp will make them live longer after you catch the m but it still stresses them and at 65 degrees that would happen faster. crabs should be kept 50 to 55 deegres for best results and damp. I have kept crabs at those temps for up to 3 days with no noticeable change in taste, to me anyway. my crabs come from trotlinin which are less stressed since a potted crab can be in a pot 2 to 3 days with little feed the end up in a walkin box for another 23 to 3 days which would also cause more stress.
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JustEric
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2021, 10:08:42 AM »

Thanks for the response Red!

This is what I am trying. 

I have  a big cooler.  It has a false bottom to keep the crabs out of the water.  I have a few plastic cutting boards that fit perfectly in a grove near the top of the cooler.  I put holes in the cutting boards.  The cooler has a lid. 

I will put the crabs on the false bottom.  Then I will put the cutting boards above the crabs.  Then I will put ice on the cutting boards.  Then I will close the lid.

As the ice melts it will drip down and through the crabs into the false bottom.  I hope the ice will lower the temp in the cooler so it's like a refrigerator.

My wish is that the set up will lower the temp of the crabs like if they were in a 50 to 55 degree refrigerator.  The crabs won't die like they do when I pour ice directly on top of them.

I am going to give my setup a test this weekend.  I'll report back.

Thanks Crabbers,
Eric
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crabnrich
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2021, 10:47:43 AM »

Thanks for the response Red!

This is what I am trying. 

I have  a big cooler.  It has a false bottom to keep the crabs out of the water.  I have a few plastic cutting boards that fit perfectly in a grove near the top of the cooler.  I put holes in the cutting boards.  The cooler has a lid. 

I will put the crabs on the false bottom.  Then I will put the cutting boards above the crabs.  Then I will put ice on the cutting boards.  Then I will close the lid.

As the ice melts it will drip down and through the crabs into the false bottom.  I hope the ice will lower the temp in the cooler so it's like a refrigerator.

My wish is that the set up will lower the temp of the crabs like if they were in a 50 to 55 degree refrigerator.  The crabs won't die like they do when I pour ice directly on top of them.

I am going to give my setup a test this weekend.  I'll report back.

Thanks Crabbers,
Eric


Don't put the cooler lid on tight - prop it open so they can get air..
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LewCrab
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2021, 11:49:44 AM »

Opening the drain plug will give them enough air with a closed lid but I still prop it open to be on the safe side.
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Mikie
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2021, 03:41:37 PM »

You definitely want to leave the drain plug open, mainly because if the water should get deep enough to cover any of the crabs they will suffocate. They don't need a lot of air, but if they are submerged in water that's not being oxygenated, they die rather quickly.
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JustEric
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2021, 01:57:24 PM »

Reporting back on my new cooler design.  I can fit two small bags or one large bag of ice on the cutting boards above the crabs.   I have used the new cooler design a couple times.  I have only kept the crabs in the cooler for an afternoon before cooking them in the early evening.  The crabs come out cold, lethargic and alive.  I would say about 1/2 the ice has melted.  I keep the drain plug open for air and to allow water to drain.  I also keep the top cracked open about 1/2 inch to help with air flow.  So far the crabs have been really sweet but no sweeter than if I put ice directly on them for 6 hours.  I will have to try my new cooler method to keep crabs for 24 to 36 hours to see if the crabs stay sweet.    

As a reminder, I am trying to avoid putting ice directly on the crabs and keeping them an extended amount of time.  I am also trying to find a better way to keep crabs over night than putting them in my basement at 65 degrees.  

Thanks for everyone's feedback!

Eric  
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 03:40:49 PM by JustEric » Logged
Harford Crabber
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2021, 03:51:04 PM »

What is it that makes crabs sweet?   I'm wondering if there is sugar in the bluish clear "snotlike" stuff that crabs expel while in the basket before steaming?  A lot of times I'll put live crabs in a "crab fridge" that's in my garage. It's set on about 40 degrees. I've kept crabs alive in there 3 days after catching with only minimal dead loss.   The longer they spend in fridge the  more crab snot they expel.  And the longer they spend in the fridge the more taste they lose, less sweet they become.

 I tried steaming crabs after pre-cleaning (pulling shells off and rinsing guts out) for the first time a couple weeks ago.  I was very unimpressed with their taste after steaming.  Taste improved some on the pre-cleaned crabs after they were chilled to 40 degrees overnight in the fridge but the crabs with shells that were steamed with them had a "sweeter" taste both while hot and the next day after spending the night in the fridge. The only real difference in precleaned and steamed with shell is that rinsing and removing guts.   Are there any crab scientists reading this?  Is there sugar in crabsnot?
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Mr. Ray III
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2021, 05:56:18 PM »

What is it that makes crabs sweet?   I'm wondering if there is sugar in the bluish clear "snotlike" stuff that crabs expel while in the basket before steaming?  A lot of times I'll put live crabs in a "crab fridge" that's in my garage. It's set on about 40 degrees. I've kept crabs alive in there 3 days after catching with only minimal dead loss.   The longer they spend in fridge the  more crab snot they expel.  And the longer they spend in the fridge the more taste they lose, less sweet they become.

 I tried steaming crabs after pre-cleaning (pulling shells off and rinsing guts out) for the first time a couple weeks ago.  I was very unimpressed with their taste after steaming.  Taste improved some on the pre-cleaned crabs after they were chilled to 40 degrees overnight in the fridge but the crabs with shells that were steamed with them had a "sweeter" taste both while hot and the next day after spending the night in the fridge. The only real difference in precleaned and steamed with shell is that rinsing and removing guts.   Are there any crab scientists reading this?  Is there sugar in crabsnot?

Pretty sure that jelly stuff is blood.
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