13 Crab Varieties

These are various cooked crabs with lemon and red sauce.

Crab is often regarded as one of the most delicious varieties of seafood available. When cooked, there are a variety of edible crabs with white, sweet, and delectable meat. With their long spiky legs and claws, enormous snow crabs or king crabs contain the majority of the crab’s flesh. There are also Dungeness and blue crabs, both of which have the majority of their delectable snow-white meat in the body.

Crabs are crustaceans that belong to the Brachyura order. There are about 850 species of crabs, which are classified into thousands of different varieties. Crabs have a hard exterior shell (known as an exoskeleton), three walking legs on each side of their bodies, and two pinching claws.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular edible crab types to try in various dishes.

Types of Edible Crabs

1. King Crabs

Due to their big size and delicate flavor, king crabs are among the most common and best edible crabs. In fact, king crab species are among the largest sorts of crabs on the globe.

Red King crab is a popular form of Alaskan crab among the several varieties of king crab.

When it comes to giant crabs, the Red King crab is undoubtedly one of the world’s largest. The bodies of these colossal crabs can reach 11″ (28 cm) in diameter and weigh up to 28 pounds (nearly 13 kg). The Red King crab’s legs, which can stretch over 5 feet (1.8 meters), contain a lot of tasty white meat.

In Alaska’s chilly North Pacific waters, Red King crabs are typically obtained in the Bering Sea and Norton Sound.

Red King crabs have a light brown jaggy body when collected in the wild. When cooked, this turns a rich crimson color. This also gives the tasty Alaskan crab meat that you extract from the claws and legs a pink color.

The Blue King Crab is another large Alaskan king crab. This crab isn’t as big as the Red King, but it may still weigh up to 18 pounds (8.2 kg).

2. Snow Crab or Rock Crab

Snow crabs are caught in the northern Pacific and Atlantic from icy seas. As a result, much of the snow crab we eat now originates in Canada. Steamed, boiled, or roasted chicken legs with a bit of drawn butter are popular. Some people prefer fried snow crab legs.

They acquire their name from the snow-white color of their meat, despite the fact that they live in snowy ocean conditions. They are closely related to the larger king crab, as their name suggests.

The protective shell of a snow crab is normally brown to light red, with a white or yellow abdomen. They have five spider-like legs, four walking legs, and one claw pair. Their eyes are a shade of green or a shade of greenish-blue. Snow crabs are prized for their exquisite sweetness.

3. Blue Crab

Blue crabs are huge crabs with blue shells and legs, as the name suggests. They’re mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico, Europe, Japan, and the United States East Coast.

Blue crabs are swimming crabs with two paddle-like feet that help them swim. ‘Beautiful swimmer,’ as its Latin name suggests. These crabs can reach a length of 3.5 to 5.5 inches, even longer in some cases.

When cooked, the Blue crab’s shell turns a distinctive deep red hue, as it does with other cooked crustaceans, and its meat has a salty-sweet flavor. Its body, legs, and claws contain the majority of its flesh.

Apart from the blue hue of its shell, the Blue crab has a peculiar body form. The sides of the carapace protrude to some extent, rather than being spherical. Blue crabs are soft-shelled meals that are normally eaten whole, sautéed, or deep-fried.

4. Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crabs are huge crabs with a purplish-brown hue that weigh between 1.75 and 4 lbs. They can be observed in the waters between Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and Alaska. The Dungeness crabs were called after a municipality in the state of Washington that used to exist.

According to a statute, only the males of Dungeness crabs are to be picked, and they must have reached a minimum length of 6.25 inches.

Dungeness crabs have five pairs of legs and an extremely hard shell. Baited pots, hooks and lines, nets, and even your hands are used to catch these crabs.

Dungeness crabs have a ten-year life span and are famous among restaurants due to the superb flavor of their delicious pink flesh, which is in season throughout the winter.

5. Peekytoe Crab

The peekytoe crab was once a throwaway by-product of lobster fishing, but today it’s a valuable shellfish that’s preferred by chefs all over the world. Peekytoe crab is commonly used in rolls, dips, salads, and crab cakes because of its sweet, mild flavor. It does not ship well alive due to its small size and delicate shell; therefore, it’s normally fried and plucked shortly after getting caught.

If you enjoy baked or sweet foods, peekytoe crab is a must-try. They are popular variations that work well in a variety of recipes. However, they are considerably less common types in numerous nations in the East, yet they are among Europe’s most popular dishes.

Salty, sweet, delicate, and juicy, peekytoe crab is a delicacy. You won’t be disappointed if you buy these crabs from a reputable brand. The meat is white with pink parts and has a hardness to it, but it’s delicate and silky at the same time.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

Japanese spider crabs may resemble creatures from a 1950s science fiction film, yet they are gentle giants. They’re giants, to be sure. Japanese spider crabs are the largest of the 60,000 crustacean species on the planet, measuring up to 12.5 feet from the tip of one front claw to the other.

They’re also one of the world’s largest arthropods, or animals without a backbone, external skeletons, or many joints. Those appendages in this crab’s case are its ten legs.

The spider crab’s Martian-like gaze should not deter you. Their meat is equally as excellent as brown crab meat, and some believe it is even sweeter, but our aversion to eating spiders’ may be due to their intimidating appearance.

7. Horsehair Crab

The horsehair crab is most well-known in Japan and other Asian cuisines. They are slender, delicate crab varieties that are presented in their shells. The meat ratio in these varieties is substantially lower than in other species; yet, they are most delicious when prepared in the boiling technique.

They’re only about 100 mm in length. They are little crab species with an orange color and a sweet delicacy and taste.

This crab is usually exclusively consumed as crab miso; however, it has a lot of rich and tasty meat. The crab hair meat also pairs well with a variety of western dishes.

8. Stone Crab

Stone crab is also known as the “moro” or “morro” crab because of its Latin name, Menippe mercenaria. Its claws are big and extremely hard, and its meat is highly desired. The majority of the crop is from Florida, where it is a renowned delicacy picked between October 15 and May 15.

Crabs are only eaten for their claws, so fishermen twist off one and toss it back to grow a new one. Within 18 months, crab claws will regenerate. They just have one claw remaining to defend themselves. According to the regulation, these claws must be boiled for seven minutes and then either iced or frozen.

The freezing process appears to eliminate an unpleasant iodine flavor that is sometimes detected in meat. The claws are floated in a tank of water to identify which ones contain the most flesh, with the less meaty claws floating to the top and being marketed as “lights.” The claws are served cold with dipping sauces after being cracked with a mallet. Claws must be between 2 and 2.75 ounces in size. The meat is solid and flavorful, with a sweet, luscious texture.

9. Southern European Crab

The Southern European crab is one form of an edible freshwater crab. This green crab can be found in rivers and streams throughout Italy, Greece, and the Balkans.

The Southern European crab is small in comparison to other types of marine crabs. Green crabs are a common food source for hundreds of years, even though they are only approximately 2″ (5 cm) long.

In North America, European green crabs have become an invasive species. They have a rich sweet flavor and can be cooked in the same way as blue crab.

10. Brown Crab

The meat of the brown crab is regarded for its soft, delicate, and sweet flavor by many people all over the world. The catch in the European Union (EU) countries is estimated to be over 45,000 tons per year.

The brown crab has two types of meat: white and brown. White meat comes from the claws and legs, while brown meat comes from the body. People in Norway eat whole brown crabs on a regular basis, but brown meat is more common in other countries, such as Portugal. Brown Crab has a sweeter flavor than most other crabs. Spider Crab is an alternative to Brown Crab.

11. Coconut Crab

Coconut crabs are an edible form of land-dwelling crab that is rarely found on the menu. Crabs that live on islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans are known as coconut crabs.

Their actions have garnered them a variety of nicknames. Coconut crabs, for example, get their name from their ability to crawl up palm trees, gather coconuts, and then open them on the ground. They’re also known as ‘robber crabs’ or ‘palm thieves’ since they’re curious creatures that will steal everything tasty they can get their hands on.

Coconut crabs are said to taste like a cross between a crab and a lobster. They have delicious white meat that is slightly oilier than ordinary crab meat. If you eat a coconut crab when visiting a Pacific Island, you could notice that it has a slight coconut flavor.

12. Hermit Crab

There are approximately 800 species of hermit crabs in the world, virtually all of which live in the water. However, most people are aware of the dozen semi-terrestrial species known as land hermit crabs, which are commonly kept as pets.

Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers who devour tiny mussels and clams, as well as fragments of dead animals and macroalgae.

These crustaceans have been given incorrect names for two reasons: first, they are not true crabs, as blue crabs are, because they lack a consistently hard exoskeleton and are unable to grow their own shells. On the other hand, hermit crabs have a hard exoskeleton on the front half of their body and a soft tail on the back, which they protect with the shells of other animals, such as whelks. They have more in common with certain types of lobsters than with genuine crabs.

Hermit crabs can be eaten; however, they are usually pretty little and hardly worth the effort. The coconut crab is actually a sort of hermit crab. Coconut crabs, unlike most hermit crabs, grow a hard, calcified shell to protect themselves.

13. Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe crabs dwell in the Atlantic Ocean along the North American shoreline and are found all over the United States. Horseshoe crabs can also be found around the United States East and Gulf coasts and in Mexico. There are three more horseshoe crab species in the world, and they may be found in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean along Asia’s coast.

Horseshoe crabs use various habitats based on their developmental stage. In late spring and summer, the eggs are laid on beaches along the coast. Juvenile horseshoe crabs are found offshore on the sandy ocean floor of tidal flats after hatching. Adult horseshoe crabs feed further out in the water before returning to the beach to reproduce.

Horseshoe crab eggs are an important part of the diet of many shorebirds, migrating birds, turtles, and fish. Within the Delaware Bay ecology, horseshoe crabs are a keystone species. Although this crab is edible, it is rarely consumed due to its poor meat content.

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