Tide to Table
Data from US Department of Commerce Report "Fisheries Economics of the United States 2012", released by NOAA Feb 2014
Soft shell crabs are created through a process called molting. Molting occurs when a blue crab outgrows its shell and sheds it. You'll find soft shells crabs immediately after the molt, before the new shell hardens. With the exception of the face, mouthparts, gills and abdomen, Soft Shell Crabs are eaten in their entirety and are typically fried or sautéed. A blue crab will molt several times during its lifespan.
Blue crabs feed on almost anything they can get their "pinchers" on - dead or live fish, organic debris, aquatic plants, snails, oyster spat, adult oysters, roots and leaves of marsh grass, sea lettuce, ditch grass, and other crabs (including smaller blue crabs). They are opportunistic bottom dwelling predators and are sometimes call the scavengers of the sea.
Males can reach nine inches in shell width, females are usually smaller. The lifespan of the blue crab is about 3 years.
HOW TO COOK: If you purchased your crab meat from a Alabama Licensed Seafood
Shop it's already cooked, ready for your favorite recipe. If your crabs are live they
are generally prepared by just boiling in plain water for about 5 minutes. Blue crabs
turn orangey-red when cooked. Eating blue crabs requires the right tools and a lot of
With their quick reflexes, omnivorous appetites, prickly disposition, and sharp front pinches - the Alabama Blue Crab lives up to its reputation as a member of Alabama's Wild Seafood family!
Callinectes sapidus - "Savory beautiful swimmer" named for the blue tint on its legs and its claws. The Blue Crab has a thick shell and 10 legs - allowing it to swim and scuttle across the bottomlands. As an adult it lives in Alabama's bays and estuaries amid marshes that offer protection and abundant food sources.