Crab Shopping Made Easy: The Best Advice For Buying Crab
#Seafood123/ Crab

Crab Shopping Made Easy: The Best Advice For Buying Crab Like A Pro

Hello, Seafoodies! 

When it comes to buying crab, navigating through the myriad options at the grocery store or seafood market can make you feel….well…a bit crabby! Fresh or pasteurized? Lump or otherwise? Who knows! 

As regular connoisseur of all things crab, think of us as your official consultant on everything you need to know to make your next crab shopping experience a breeze! 

First up, fresh crab. This succulent protein is picked straight from live-cooked crabs and then sealed in plastic containers to maintain its freshness. Fresh crab is a delight for your taste buds, offering a burst of savory-sweet flavor that’s hard to resist. Just make sure to cook it to at least 120 degrees F and eat within 3-5 days of purchase.

Now, onto pasteurized crabmeat. Similar to fresh, it also originates from live-cooked crabs, but it’s pasteurized to allow for a longer shelf life. Conveniently packaged in cans or plastic cups, pasteurized crabmeat is a ready-to-eat delicacy straight from the container. Remember to refrigerate it promptly and always enjoy it within 3-5 days after opening. Pro tip: unopened pasteurized crabmeat can last up to 18 months in the fridge! 

After you’ve decided on fresh or pasteurized, you might also notice that the crab in your local supermarket has a grade. Lump, jumbo, backfin—oh my! If you’re eyeing those pink, sizable chunks, you’re likely looking at jumbo lump crabmeat. This is a great option for dishes requiring generous pieces like salads, dips or even some crab cakes. On the flip side, flakier backfin crabmeat is a combination of jumbo lump and special grade crabmeat that results in smaller, browner morsels. Backfin crabmeat shines in casseroles and crab balls, bringing a depth of flavor that’s equally satisfying.

So there you have it—your ultimate guide to navigating the crab aisle or counter with confidence. Whether you prefer the freshness of live-cooked or the convenience of pasteurized, there’s a type of crab that is waiting to elevate your culinary creations. 

If you’re ready to practice your new lesson in crab selection—check out this roundup of 35 simple crab recipes that will make you feel like a crustacean pro.

Now, get out there and shop for your next crab dish with confidence!

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