Cocks (males) contain more white
meat than Hens (females)and are preferred by chefs. To identify
them, Cocks have larger claws and their tail flap is narrower
and more pointed. Cocks range in size from 1 to 2kg, with an approximate
35%yield, and more white meat than brown.
There are other Crabs to look out
for such as the Spider Crab, Snow Crab and Blue Crab, which all
have similar tasting meat. Also available is the Blue Swimming
Crab, found around the Pacific Rim. Whole frozen Blue Swimmers
are imported, but the main demand is for the 454g tubs containing
large lumps of succulent meat, which is pasteurised and chilled,
giving it a 6 month shelf life. It is superb for crab cakes, chowders,
salads and pasta.
Before cooking live Crabs, the
RSPCArecommend you first place them in a freezer for two hours,
which renders them unconscious. Another method is to insert a
pointed rod (kebab skewer) just above the mouth and push to the
back of the shell. You can then plunge them into heavily salted
(40g per litre) boiling water and simmer for 15minutes for 500g,
adding 2 minutes per additional 100g.Then remove and allow to
Alternatively the claws and body
meat can be removed and steamed or stir-fried.