Crabs are among the favorite seafood dishes of millions of people worldwide. They are delicious and provide various nutrients.
What should you do if you buy a bunch of crabs and can’t cook and eat them for dinner that night?
Can you freeze live crabs? It is a bad method of storing crustaceans. It’s time to dive into this post to know the reasons. Scroll down!
Can You Freeze Live Crabs?
It’s not a good idea to freeze live crabs. Since live crustaceans deteriorate at temperatures under 32°F, special handling is essential before freezing them.
Due to bacterial development and leftover foodstuff inside the shell, live crabs are easily prone to rot.
To prevent foodborne illness, you should prepare and cook them properly, like steaming or boiling, before applying any storage method.
However, you may suspect that these creatures are hardy and they can withstand cold temperatures. Why can’t you keep them in the freezer?
The dry and cold temperatures of the freezers may cause the fluid in the gills of these crustaceans to freeze, which suffocates them.
Lack of natural air is another factor contributing to crab deaths inside freezers. Remember, these creatures also need oxygen to breathe.
Cooking dead crustaceans is always a bad idea. It poses a health risk and dramatically reduces the taste and quality of the flesh.
The flavor and appearance of the crab flesh will worsen if you leave them for too long. The meat is stale and tastes funky.
These crustaceans are not clean creatures. When crabs die, harmful bacterial growth begins.
They frequently carry a lot of dirt and pathogens because their main diets are algae and decaying animal parts.
When you store live crustaceans in your fridge, these things still exist. They only go away after you clean and cook this seafood properly, eliminating the bacteria to make them safe to consume.
Generally, if you place these creatures in the refrigerator for too long, they may swiftly decay and subsequently get a bacterial infection.
How to Freeze Crabs Properly
As shared earlier, you must clean and prepare crustaceans before storing them in the freezer. Follow the methods below to prolong the shelf life of this seafood!
Pick the Crabs and Freeze the Meat
This method is relatively straightforward. Your crab flesh will remain sweet and tasty with the help of a good vacuum sealer.
The main drawback to this method is that crustacean flesh kept in the refrigerator may get stringy.
The flavor seems acceptable, but it pales compared to the taste and texture of freshly caught seafood.
Many experienced chefs agree that soups are the finest way to use crab flesh stored in this manner for months.
Here are simple steps to follow:
- Pick the crustacean, remove all its flesh, and put it in vacuum-seal bags to preserve it.
- Throw the bags in the refrigerator quickly before sealing them to harden the meat.
- After that, use a paper tissue to pat the flesh to absorb the juices. Now it’s ready for vacuum sealing.
- Remember to write down the storage date. This way, the meat can last around 3 to 6 months.
Related: Can you freeze lump crab meat?
Freeze Cooked Crabs
Leave the flesh inside its shell if you don’t want to pick it. This way, you can preserve the meat’s juicy sweet taste and texture.
It is a simple storage method. Follow these steps:
- Ensure you cook the seafood by boiling or steaming them for 10 to 20 minutes to kill all bad bacteria inside the crustaceans.
- Before vacuum-sealing them, wrap each crustacean with paper towels. These paper towels may stop the sharp shell from piercing the bags.
- Seal the bags and place them in the freezer. This way, the meat may last for less than three months.
Cook, Clean, and Freeze Crabs
Finally, you may prepare and clean these crustaceans before putting them away. It is similar to the previous approach.
However, this time, you separate them and rinse off any remaining guts rather than keeping the crustaceans in their shell, but don’t pick the flesh.
Then, apply the same vacuum-sealing steps above to freeze these crustaceans.
This way, the meat is always fresh for about three months. Nevertheless, this method is not for you if you like the crabs’ mustard.
How to Defrost Frozen Crabs
If you’ve purchased whole, frozen, pre-cooked crustaceans, you only need to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
However, if you want to defrost these crustaceans faster, you can wrap them in cling film and place them in a big bowl with cold water or in a sink with running cold water.
It would be best to remember that a hot water bath can ruin the crabs, so be cautious to avoid it.
You can defrost crab legs by placing them in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours until they are thawed.
This way, the crustacean legs will stay at safe temperatures during defrosting. More details about thawing crab legs can be found in this post.
The last method you can apply to defrost these crustaceans is using a colander. All you need is to place them in this utensil under cold water for 5-7 minutes.
How to Cook Frozen Crabs
You can purchase frozen crabs if you don’t want to work with fresh ones. They are cleaned, prepared, and stored well.
These frozen foods are often fully cooked, so you should only reheat them before eating. Follow the guides below to cook this seafood properly:
Step 1: Fill a big pot with two to three inches of water and put a steamer basket over it. After that, bring it to a boil.
Step 2: Arrange the crustaceans loosely in the steamer. Ensure you leave enough space to circulate the steam.
Instead of packing the steamer to maximum when you’ve got many crustaceans to cook, it’s better to steam them in small batches.
Step 3: Put a lid on the pot. Start timing when steam starts to billow again from underneath the cover.
Depending on the size of the crustaceans, steam them for 4 – 7 minutes.
Step 4: Take the steamer from the pot. Remove the cover. Be careful to avoid the hot steam. Lift all crabs and place them on a tray using tongs. That’s all done.
How Long Can You Freeze Crabs?
Depending on the storage methods, you can store these crustaceans in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
Can Crabs Go Bad in the Freezer?
Yes! If you freeze live crabs, they can quickly go bad because the bacteria inside them will destroy the meat, causing a fishy and sour odor.
For this reason, you should clean, cook, and pick the meat correctly before storing this seafood in the freezer.
If you don’t know how to pick the crab meat properly, you can watch this video:
How Do You Preserve Fresh Crabs?
Here are some simple guides to preserving fresh crabs:
- Put the crustaceans in a container with ventilation.
- Don’t entirely submerge them. Pour enough water to reach the container’s bottom.
- Use a clean wet towel to place over the crabs.
- Put ice bags on this damp towel. This way, the ice melts and drowns live crustaceans.
- Cover the container. Keep it in a cool dark place.
Does Putting Crabs in the Freezer Put Them to Sleep?
Freezing crustaceans may cause them to suffocate due to oxygen deficiency.
What Can I Do with Fresh Live Crabs?
It’s best to cook fresh live seafood immediately to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Otherwise, you must apply the proper storage methods, like cleaning, preparing, and picking the meat before putting it in the fridge.
Can you freeze live crabs? It’s a big no-no! Keeping live crustaceans spoil when the temperatures drop under 32°F, causing bacterial growth and the foodstuff inside their shell to rot.
To prevent foodborne illness, you should clean and prepare them correctly, like steaming or boiling, before placing them in the freezer.
Hopefully, this post is helpful for you. Thanks for reading!