Processing Live Dungeness Crab

Celine - August 12, 2021

We often have fresh Dungeness crab pick-ups at Fishermen’s Wharf for our members in Vancouver. Randy Kitagawa, your crab fisher (his stepson, Matt, is pictured above), and his crew normally set their crab traps for a few days before the pick-up, then pull them out of the water on Thursday morning. Then they’ll catch a ferry in time to get these crabs to Fishermen’s Wharf in time for our 3pm start! Randy’s crab is super fresh, and caught in the waters off the Sunshine Coast.

If you’ve ordered crab and are worried about handling and preparing these pincer-laden creatures, fear not! We have all the tips and tricks you’ll need. Picking up live crabs is exciting and makes for the freshest crab meat you’ll ever eat! Keeping Dungeness crabs alive before cleaning, boiling or freezing them is a must for your safety. Once the crabs are dead, they must be cleaned right away, otherwise the meat will spoil pretty quickly.

Come to the pick-up with a cooler and some damp tea towels. Keeping the live crabs cool, damp and well aerated will keep them alive the longest. Do not put the crabs in fresh water, as they might die due to lack of oxygen.

Your best bet is to cook your crabs the day you pick them up. You can either eat them right away or keep the cooked crab meat refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving or making into your favourite dish.

Dispatching Your Crab

Wondering how to dispatch your crab? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The easiest method is to drop your live crab into a pot of boiling water. Boil for 7-8 min/ lb of crab. Then follow these simple steps to clean and serve your crab.
  2. You can insert a screwdriver into the two nerve openings in the crab to destroy its nervous system which will also instantly kill it.
  3. You can also cut the crab from nose to tail (if you have a cleaver, use that!), rinse out the body cavity and remove the gills, and keep the two crab halves on ice until you are ready to cook them.

In any case, when you come to a live crab pick-up, we’ll be happy to explain more in person how to handle and dispatch your crabs!

Celine - August 12, 2021


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Processing Live Dungeness Crab

Celine - August 12, 2021

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