The rigid shell imprisons the crab and limits growth. They are removed from the water as soon as they molt to prevent their shell from hardening. At this time of year in our neck of the woods, soft shell crabs become available and, as with the short-lived white asparagus season in France, lovers of these delicious creatures begin to get the shakes as soon as the first “Soft Shells Are In!” signs sprout on the roadway, in shop windows and on restaurant “Specials” boards. Statistics show that some 50% of all Dungeness crab varieties caught by crabbers are those with soft shells. Buy local! How much does a blue crab grow after molting? Soft Shells are fresh and delicious. Fast, easy preparation makes serving soft shell crabs a delicious meal for any occasion. What's the difference between soft- and hard-shell crabs? Soft Shell Crab (ปูนิ่มผัดพริกไทยดำ) at Fai Klom Thana Restaurant (ร้านไฟกลมธนา) - Duration: 6:09. For soft-shell crabs, dozens are generally sold “straight-run,” which includes all sizes, or graded as small, medium, and large. Buy local! Handy soft shell crabs are harvested at their softest, most delectable stage immediately after shedding their hard outer shells. During this short window, the crab is harvested quickly and can be prepared in a variety of different ways. This article will explain how to best prepare, clean and cook a Soft Crab for a fantastic meal. You eat the whole crab, since there is no shell! While both soft and hard shell crab have a bright, salty sweet flavor, the textures are quite different. Soft-shell crabs are not a separate species of crab. They are harvested and eaten when they molt their shell. As the crab grows, its shell does not expand to accommodate this change. They're no different than blue crabs with hard shells, they are just harvested after they have shed their old exoskeleton, while still soft. Crabs routinely molt their exoskeletons or their shells, which leaves them soft for about 2 to 4 hours, after which time their shells begin to grow hard again. A harvested clam has a life expectancy of more than a week. How to Prepare Soft Shell Crabs for Cooking . The most popular way to serve them is fried whole, on a sandwich (or as part of a sushi style presentation). Blue crabs may be found in other locations other than the Lowcountry—larval and juvenile crabs have been known to attach themselves to ship hulls or be transported in a ship’s water ballast. Most seafood mongers have them live even! Soft Crabs from Baltimore’s Cravin’ Crabs Carryout Crab House One of the best tasting delicacies in the world is a Maryland Soft Crab — but only if it has been harvested and dressed properly. 10. Soft Shell Crab Shedding Systems Albert “Rusty” Gaudé and Julie A. Anderson1 VI PR Southern regional aquaculture center begins to harden its new carapace or shell using calcium from the water. Normally deep fried, a light crunch gives way to the buttery soft meat inside. 9. The Skinny on the Soft Shell The name soft shell crab is actually a tad bit misleading. That’s because soft-shell crabs are just blue crabs in their molted state. They are the same species. Soft Shell Crabs Species Name: Callinectes sapidus Sustainability Rating: Yellow-Good Alternative What: Molting Blue Crabs harvested to take advantage of their “soft shell” When: May - September (Fresh) Where: Mid-Atlantic (USA) How: Wild Caught/Traps, Pots CHARACTERISTICS To enjoy them fully, you should eat soft shells within 4 days of being caught. The texture of a soft shell crab is unique. Sauteed Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich Makes 2 servings For example, soft-shell crabs must be harvested very soon after a molt; otherwise, they no longer remain “soft” and no longer garner high prices. You eat the whole crab, since there is no shell! Grilled Soft Shell Crabs! Soft shell crabs are available traditionally in June, July and August, but techniques have been developed which allow crabs to be held in tanks and persuaded to molt almost when required, so that the soft shell season has been greatly extended. What makes soft shells unique? That means their old shells have shed, and their new shells haven’t formed and hardened yet! They are harvested before they can regrow a new shell, so their skin is soft. To be legally harvested, a long-neck clam must be at least 2 … Fast, easy preparation makes serving soft shell crabs a delicious meal for any occasion. Most seafood mongers have them live even! Recommended Methods of Cooking: Sautéing, deep frying or pan frying. This means their entire bodies are edible: shell, claws, and all. Yes, you can really eat the shell! When the crabs fatten up for molting they shed their hard outer shell. Soft Shell Crabs are Unique. 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