Brown Crabs

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 1-2kg, with an approximate 35% yield, and more white meat than brown. Other Crabs to look out for include the Spider Crab, Snow Crab and Blue Crab, which all have similar tasting meat, and the Blue Swimming Crab, found around the Pacific Rim. Whole Blue Swimmers can be imported, but the main demand is for the chilled packs of the succulent meat, which have a 6 month shelf life – superb for crab cakes, chowders, salads and pasta. Before cooking live Crabs, the RSPCA recommend 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 – death is instantaneous. You can then plunge them into heavily salted (40g per litre) boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes for 500g (add 2 minutes per additional 100g), then remove and cool. Alternatively the claws and body meat can be removed and steamed or stir-fried.