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5 Things We Never Knew About Stone Crabs (Until Now)

October 28, 2010

Guest blogger: Gretchen Schmidt, edible South Florida

It’s a rite of fall in Florida. Every year in mid-October, stone crab lovers indulge their passion for this sustainable seafood, harvested in Gulf and Atlantic waters off Florida and elsewhere.

For our cover story on stone crabs in our fall edition of edible South Florida, we headed out to Everglades City, where City Seafood owner Richard Wahrenberger shared tales of nearly half a century of working with the succulent crustaceans. Here were some surprising facts:

  1. Crabbers will take both claws, not just one, if they’re both legal (at least 2 3/4 inches from elbow to tip).
  2. If you think having no big claws leaves the crab defenseless, it doesn’t; Wahrenberger says their predators, like octopuses, can get them with or without claws.
  3. Crabs are right- or left-“handed,” according to which claw is larger.
  4. If you must freeze stone crab claws, freeze them uncracked; otherwise, store them intact in the refrigerator. Otherwise, they dry out quickly.
  5. Recreational stone crabbing is allowed with a recreational fishing license; there’s a five-trap limit. Find more details here:

One thing we did know about stone crabs: Their sweet, firm flesh is a real treat. Whether you dip them in melted butter, mustard-mayonnaise dip (link to recipe) or spicy mayonnaise (mayo mixed with sriracha to taste), stone crabs are a true Florida treasure.


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