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Author Topic: Crabs dead? safe to eat?  (Read 2431 times)
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divedeeep
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« on: August 23, 2017, 06:29:12 PM »

So I caught 26 BIG crabs yesterday in the Chester.....refrigerated them last night in a cold fridge with a wet towel on top of them.....today they are warming up for our dinner and it looks as if a dozen or more are dead....are they?  Are they safe to eat?  If they are dead, why did they die in 24 hours?  I thought keeping them cold would keep them alive......help!
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bgfishhook1
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 07:24:39 PM »

You can take an ice pick and kill a crab remove his shell clean out the body cavity and remove the lungs ( GILLS ) and steam him within 10 or 15 minutes and the crab - meat will be firm and tasty. However if he has been refrigerated over night and he dies chances are the crab - meat will be mushy and will loose a lot of that fine taste. You ask would he be safe to eat and that answer would be if he died in the refrigerator overnight YES YOU COULD EAT HIM BUT YOU WILL NOT BE A HAPPY CAMPER. I have steamed crabs that had just died and they were still firm meat and good taste, but if he died an hour ago you will know that when you open him up to consume him because he will most likely be SOFT AND MUSHY. I never got sick from eating one that was mushy but you won't want to eat but one of them! IMHO don't eat dead crabs unless you killed them yourself !

P.S. You could steam the dead crabs, take a rubber band to mark him so you know that he was a dead crab and after they are steamed open him up and check the crab - meat if it  is firm he might  have just died and the meat will be safe to eat but if he is mushy discard him.
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 08:02:19 PM »

What did you do to refrigerate them?  In the refrigerator or put ice on them. Not sure, but crabs need air r they will die. Stories I've read is to leave the cooler lid open slightly. If you put them in the refrigerator, no air .

 When you see crabs in the store, they are cleaned and cold.  I've only steamed live crabs, so I don't know what to tell anyone about what you are dealing with. Like the other poster said, experiment with them, if you want to. Let us know the results so others will know.  Good luck, they may be okay or not.
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bgfishhook1
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 09:45:45 PM »

What did you do to refrigerate them?  In the refrigerator or put ice on them. Not sure, but crabs need air r they will die. Stories I've read is to leave the cooler lid open slightly. If you put them in the refrigerator, no air .

 When you see crabs in the store, they are cleaned and cold.  I've only steamed live crabs, so I don't know what to tell anyone about what you are dealing with. Like the other poster said, experiment with them, if you want to. Let us know the results so others will know.  Good luck, they may be okay or not.
What you said was correct Evinrude about cracking the cooler lid open. Putting them in the fridge could kill them when the fridge comes on to keep things cold if the crabs are exposed to the cool air it could kill them they do not like a draft but they do need to breathe. Might I suggest to steam them as soon as you get home then  after they are cooled down put them in the fridge and clean them in the morning , problem solved !
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Get it on !
A good one to remember is !
Keep your friends close, BUT keep your enemies CLOSER !
I am nobody, and nobody is perfect, therefore I am _________!
A truth that's told with bad intent  beats all the lies you can invent.
It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am ! JUST JOKING.
I thought that I made a mistake once , but I was WRONG.
Remember " A rose by any other name will smell just as  sweet  "
divedeeep
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 10:40:54 PM »

What did you do to refrigerate them?  In the refrigerator or put ice on them. Not sure, but crabs need air r they will die. Stories I've read is to leave the cooler lid open slightly. If you put them in the refrigerator, no air .

 When you see crabs in the store, they are cleaned and cold.  I've only steamed live crabs, so I don't know what to tell anyone about what you are dealing with. Like the other poster said, experiment with them, if you want to. Let us know the results so others will know.  Good luck, they may be okay or not.

I placed the crabs in a large commercial refrigerator...it has 3 sliding doors and a fan that runs inside to circulate air.....the crabs were in my crab basket with a wet towel on top of them to help protect I thought.
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divedeeep
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 10:44:45 PM »

You can take an ice pick and kill a crab remove his shell clean out the body cavity and remove the lungs ( GILLS ) and steam him within 10 or 15 minutes and the crab - meat will be firm and tasty. However if he has been refrigerated over night and he dies chances are the crab - meat will be mushy and will loose a lot of that fine taste. You ask would he be safe to eat and that answer would be if he died in the refrigerator overnight YES YOU COULD EAT HIM BUT YOU WILL NOT BE A HAPPY CAMPER. I have steamed crabs that had just died and they were still firm meat and good taste, but if he died an hour ago you will know that when you open him up to consume him because he will most likely be SOFT AND MUSHY. I never got sick from eating one that was mushy but you won't want to eat but one of them! IMHO don't eat dead crabs unless you killed them yourself !

P.S. You could steam the dead crabs, take a rubber band to mark him so you know that he was a dead crab and after they are steamed open him up and check the crab - meat if it  is firm he might  have just died and the meat will be safe to eat but if he is mushy discard him.


I like the rubber band idea to mark the dead ones....we did lose at least half of the 26 crabs and decided to eat the biggest dead ones anyway figuring they would still be fresh.....I personally didn't eat a dead one but nobody who did said they were mushy.  I am definitely not gonna use the fridge again to keep them.  It will be a cooler with the crabs suspended above ice with the lid cracked open.  Or Im gonna just keep them in the basket with a wet towel or newspapers.  Lesson learned!
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divedeeep
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 10:46:04 PM »

Can I clean the crabs the day I catch them, then refrigerate them til the next day and then steam them?  Would that change the texture or quality of the meat at all?
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bgfishhook1
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 01:50:16 AM »

You will only have a short window of about 15 to 20 minutes to get them in the steamer and steam them. I personally like the clean and steam method, however if you do it this way go really easy on the seasoning because now the seasoning is going to be on the crab meat and not on the shells. Why not just steam them when you get them home, let them cool down and then put them in your fridg until the next day sometime then clean them out ?
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Get it on !
A good one to remember is !
Keep your friends close, BUT keep your enemies CLOSER !
I am nobody, and nobody is perfect, therefore I am _________!
A truth that's told with bad intent  beats all the lies you can invent.
It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am ! JUST JOKING.
I thought that I made a mistake once , but I was WRONG.
Remember " A rose by any other name will smell just as  sweet  "
ChrisS
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 02:03:23 AM »

Crack the leg from the carapace, if it falls limp it's trash. If it sucks back in, it's good to steam
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double E
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 06:19:36 AM »

divedeep, what was the temperature of your refrigerator?
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bgfishhook1
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 07:23:34 AM »

Crack the leg from the carapace, if it falls limp it's trash. If it sucks back in, it's good to steam
How close to the carapace do you crack it the whole way to the body ?
I never checked them this way but it looks logical to me, good information to an old Crabber.

Thank You Much !

Bob G
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Get it on !
A good one to remember is !
Keep your friends close, BUT keep your enemies CLOSER !
I am nobody, and nobody is perfect, therefore I am _________!
A truth that's told with bad intent  beats all the lies you can invent.
It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am ! JUST JOKING.
I thought that I made a mistake once , but I was WRONG.
Remember " A rose by any other name will smell just as  sweet  "
divedeeep
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 09:26:46 AM »

divedeep, what was the temperature of your refrigerator?

around 38 to 40 degrees...its a large 3 door commercial fridge like you would see in a deli
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divedeeep
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 09:29:20 AM »

Crack the leg from the carapace, if it falls limp it's trash. If it sucks back in, it's good to steam

Crack any leg?  In half or pulled from the body?
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 11:36:00 AM »

 I just open the apron . Set them down , if no movement, pretty sure it's dead. Also look at the mouth, live crabs mouths are tight. If it's drooping. another sign of being dead to me.

 Never took a chance steaming dead crabs. I did get a bushel years ago from a local seafood place that steamed them. Several folks eating them smelled  a crab and said it had a ammonia like odor.  Those folks shortly had stomach cramps, the sweats , and the runs.  Assumed the crabhouse steamed dead crabs and sold them. Last time that place got my business.    
You'll know if a dead crab  affects your health, that's for sure.
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rdbeard
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 12:32:47 PM »

38 to 40 is way to cold for crab storage alive. Most crabbers i know keep their walk ins at 50 to 55. In my experiance with a comm 2 door fridge that runs from 47 to 51 is still just ok for overnite. On the plus side while 38 to 40 is too cold for live storage, bacteria cannot live below 40 degree's. Also keeping a wet towel directly on the crabs transfers the cold much quiker to the crab and can kill quicker that way, i leane a wet big burlap bag drapped over the basket when in my fridg. btw 47 to 51 is as w2arm as i can make my fridge without changing the thermostat.
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Seaweed
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 12:33:11 PM »

around 38 to 40 degrees...its a large 3 door commercial fridge like you would see in a deli

That's too cold.  Keep it 55 degrees.
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2017, 02:02:17 PM »

Found this online, hope it helps.
http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Blue-Crabs-Alive
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double E
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2017, 02:18:21 PM »

around 38 to 40 degrees...its a large 3 door commercial fridge like you would see in a deli
Way to cold I keep my walk-in at 53-54
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Seaweed
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2017, 04:47:22 PM »

You need a special thermostat that will allow a standard refrig unit to go up to 55 degrees.  I have one on mine, but I can't remember what it's called.
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2017, 12:06:45 AM »

I have had little dead loss in the past, but when I did I just threw them out.  Like the head mobster in "CASINO" said when he had Alan King wacked...."Why take the chance?"
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