Can you freeze blue crabs?

It’s got ten legs, a hard shell, and lives in the ocean? It has to be a crab. There are many types of different crabs, but one of the sweetest and most succulent is the blue crab. But when you catch crabs, you don’t want just one. You want them by the bucket load, which inevitably means you have more than you can eat. How do you keep the blue crab?

Do you know that blue crabs are closely related to lobsters and shrimp? Blue crabs have legs with paddles to help them swim, but this little crustacean can give you a nip to remember if provoked.

This article will look at freezing blue crabs and how you can keep them at their very best for the most extended period. We answer frequently asked questions to provide you with relevant information.

Let’s dive in.

Do blue crabs expire?

Yes, Blue crabs are delicate crustaceans, and the meat is quick to spoil or expire if you like. So preparing blue crabs for the freezer is essential to keep your crab meat sweet for longer.

Chill them in an ice bath with salt if you have fresh live crabs. The mixture of salt and cold will make them subdued, almost anesthesia which makes handling these snapping critters a whole lot easier. 

You can achieve the same by placing a box of crabs in the freezer for an hour. They will soon become quiet and subdued.

If you have a couple of dead crabs in the mix, toss them out, and bacteria soon set up in dead crabs making the meat mushy and unpleasant. Plus, you may become sick if you eat a crab that has died before it’s been cooked.

If you just cooked a batch of blue crabs, you may wonder how soon they need to be eaten. Well, eat until you are satisfied, then place some in the fridge in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for around 5 to 7 days.

Do blue crabs need to be covered in the fridge?

The idea of keeping the blue crabs in an airtight container or ziplock bags is to prevent bacteria growth. Crabs and crustaceans carry bacteria; once the bacteria growth accelerates, the blue crabs could cause food poisoning.

However, appropriately stored in the fridge, a cooked blue crab has a reasonable shelf life and can be enjoyed any time of the week.

Can you put warm cooked blue crab in the fridge?

If you can handle the crabs from the steamer, they should be placed in the fridge as soon as possible, so yes, place warm crabs in airtight Ziplocs or an airtight container. 

To keep the crab meat tender and to prevent cooking, clear out the vegetable container in the fridge and give it a good clean. Place the warm cooked crab in the vegetable container and cover it with crushed ice.

Does blue crab need to be refrigerated?

The fresh live blue crab will stay alive for approximately two days in the fridge, so yes, they need to be kept cool and alive if they can’t be cooked immediately.

When the blue crabs are cooked, you have three options. 

  1. Dig in and eat as many as you want.
  2. Place the blue crabs in airtight Ziplocs and store them in the coles part of the fridge.
  3. Palace the steaming blue crabs in an ice bath to stop the cooking and then freeze them.

If you choose option 2, you can keep the blue crabs in good condition and taste sweet for 5 to 7 days.

How long can blue crabs sit out?

Its recommended that blue crabs should only sit out for 2 hours before being cooked, and in this time, they should be moist and chilled to keep them alive and fresh.

On the other hand, cooked blue crabs should not be sitting on the side for more than two hours maximum. When you serve steamed crab, you and your guests should immediately dive in and eat these delicious crustaceans.

Leaving cooked blue crabs on the side will cause accelerated growth of bacteria as you blue crabs sit in the food temperature danger zone of 40 to 140℉, where bacteria multiply exponentially, rendering food inedible.

If you have a blue crab that has been sitting out for two hours or longer, consider the crab as being bad and toss it in the garbage.

Does blue crab go bad?

Yes. Crab meat, in general, goes bad pretty quickly. Once a crab dies, don’t cook it. The bacteria will start to multiply, affecting the crab meat and making it mushy and not taste as it should, which is sweet and delicate.

Cooked crab meat in the fridge still has a short shelf life, but it can be kept for 5 to 7 days. After this time, the crabs should be thrown in the garbage.

How long does blue crab last in the fridge?

Fresh live and kicking crab will last 24 hours on the fridge if the fridge is at 40℉ and the crabs are moist and chilled. If you spot a couple of dead crabs ( they will be moving slowly when they come from the fridge), discard them. They could make you sick even if you cooked supper well.

Do frozen blue crabs go bad?

It depends. Never be tempted to freeze live blue crabs or any crab that is still alive, for that matter. It doesn’t matter how cold the freezer is. The bacterial load in the crabs’ intestines will rot the crab even if frozen solid.

On the other hand, one caveat to successfully freezing blue crab is the freezer temperature being set at its lowest setting. Blue crabs are best frozen quickly.

To freeze cooked blue crabs, you must place the crabs in an airtight freezer bag and expel as much air from the bags as possible. This will help to prevent freezer burn.

If you have a lot of crabs to freeze, place them in batches that represent the size of portions you would typically eat at a meal setting.

Blue crabs will store in a freezer for six to nine months without spoiling the quality of the meat.

However, if you exceed 9 months in the freezer, the texture of the crab meat will start to diminish, and the meat will start to lose some of its flavors. If you reach the point of 12 to 18 months, consider the crab as not being edible and chuck them in the garbage.

Can you freeze leftover blue crabs?

It depends. How long has the blue crab been sitting out? If you have been sitting around the table eating blue crab with friends and family and having a few beers, the time can pass quickly. If the crabs have been sitting for two hours or longer, they should not be frozen but discarded.

Only freeze leftover blue crabs if the crustacean is intact. Exposed crab meat does not really freeze well. You can be diligent with your packing method to avoid freezer burn, but the meat will change the texture and become tougher and somewhat stringy.

If you are going to freeze leftovers, place them in the fridge to cool completely before placing them in a Ziploc bag. Once in the Ziploc bag, wrap them with foil. This will help to prevent freezer burn.

How do you thaw frozen blue crabs?

If you wish to achieve the best possible meat quality, it pays to use a slow method of thawing blue crabs. Slow thawing protects the crab’s meat and keeps the texture and flavor.

To thaw blue crabs is an easy process. Take the frozen crabs from the freezer, place them on a platter or bowl, and place the blue crabs in the fridge.

The thawing time is not an exact science because it will depend on how many crabs you are thawing. However, as a rule of thumb, the crabs should be thawed completely within 24 hours, give or take an hour each way.

Surprises happen, and you may need to thaw the crabs faster. In this case, the best option is to place the crabs in warm water. You can get a bowl and cover the crabs with water. You will need to check every 20 minutes or so and replace the water, so it remains tepid if you want to use the crabs within a couple of hours.

Keep in mind that keeping crabs outside of the freezer will cause bacteria growth. When the crabs are thawed, place them in the fridge immediately to prevent further bacteria growth.

How long can thawed crab stay in the fridge?

2 days maximum. The thawed crab should be consumed quickly, especially if you have thawed it rapidly. After two days, the crab should be discarded, the bacteria load could be high, and you risk food poisoning.

Final thoughts

Blue crab is delicate and sweet when cooked, and it has a reasonable shelf life in the fridge from 5 to 7 days. After this, it must be discarded and considered as bad.

If you decide to freeze the blue crab after cooking, chill the crab down to stop the cooking process. Placing the crab in a bucket of ice water works best. Before freezing, shake the excess water from the crabs.

In the freezer, a blue crab will have a shelf life of 6 to 9 months, with the crab degrading.

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