Soft Shelled Crabs – An Introduction to a Fancy and Delicious Delicacy
Many people are not fond of picking out crab meat as it yields only a few bits of meat but takes some good effort to do so. This is a very reasonable complaint among those who didn’t grow up around seafood. Different species of crab will yield different amounts of meat with regards to its body weight, though there is a different solution to this dilemma. Crabs usually have a hard shell. The hard shell of crabs will not grow along with the crab, thus they will regularly need to shed their hard shells as they grow.
Crabs will shed off their hard shells and replace it with a larger one as they grow. This process will usually occur once every month. This process is what is called “Molting”. Crabs grow about 33% larger each time they molt. But before they molt, crabs will already have a soft shell growing underneath its hard shell. This formation is apparent and can be seen on the crab’s paddles. The soft shell that the crab is left with after they molt is very pliable and stretchy. A crab that has molted and has a soft shell is literally called a soft shelled crab.
The crabs will literally just crawl their way out of their shells as they grow and then grow a new hard. Female crabs are estimated to molt 18 to 20 times in their entire lifespans. And for the male crabs, they will molt for about 21 or 23 times. And on an interesting note, the older the crab is, the harder it will be for the crab to molt. So its not out of the ordinary if a few crabs die during the molting process.
These crabs are what a lot of cooks are looking for and what many people choose to enjoy their crab experience. Soft shelled crabs are weaker due to the strain left by the molting process and it is at this moment that the crabs are ripe for consumption. These crabs that are in a weaker state is easier to catch. Crabs only molt in water.
These crabs can be caught in a variety of ways. The most common method is what is known as scapping. This is just a method where you take a long handled net and scoop up molting crabs on shallow waters.
Soft shelled crabs are a famous Cajun delicacy. There are a variety of ways of cooking soft shelled crabs.There are also stores that sell soft shell crabs online so you no longer have to go scapping or look for them in stores.