How to preserve crab meat

Let us just suppose that you find yourself in Nova Scotia one day soon.  Let us pretend that you are visiting family.  Let us imagine that they are wonderful and, to boot, they have access to very affordable seafood.  By very affordable, let us imagine that you can purchase almost 100 pounds of live crab for $80 Canadian.  What is one to do…

Look closely at the picture below – the large bowl in the front is wider than the back of the chairs at the table.  We estimate the total weight of meat below to weigh almost 40 pounds.

How to preserve crab meat Preserving Recipes Crab

The first step is cleaning the crab, cooking it (steam it in a very small amount of salted water – at least as salty as the ocean or even more so) and then breaking it down into pure meat.  2.5 people spent about 2 days prepping our crab.  We sat in the shade of an open air garage, sipped a few beer and worked away.  Make sure to keep the crab meat cold at all times.

Crab freezes very well (my family promises that the following technique will maintain flavor up to 2 years).  Freezing is simply a different form of preserving and one I frequently dismiss; mostly because we have the worlds tiniest freezer and any frozen goods are stored 30 kilometers from our house when there is room in my parents deep freezer.

Start by loading the crab into freezer bags – we used the Z on the bag below as a gauge when filling – it would show us that each bag had roughly the same amount.  When it comes time to defrosting you will have to defrost an entire bag at a time so be careful to create edible portions.

The easiest way is to scoop the crab into the bag with clean hands:

How to preserve crab meat Preserving Recipes Crab

Use a ladle to scoop salted water into the bag.  The key is to ensure that there is enough water to completely submerge the crab and allow the bag to close.  The water should be well salted; under-salted water will lead to flavorless crab while extra salty meat can be briefly rinsed in a colander after thawing.

Once the crab and water are in, seal the bag – try to remove as much air as possible.  We do this by sealing the bag from one side to the other and pushing down on the plastic as we near a complete seal to fore the final bits of air out:

Bags can now be frozen flat – a cookie tray works best for this – if you have a lot of crab, rotate the bags from top to bottom to speed the process.

Once frozen solid, wrap each in freezer paper, label and date the packages and get ready to enjoy!

When defrosting it is always best to let the temperature raise slowly – do so in the fridge for best results.

To see how you can transport frozen crab meat for up to two days without refrigeration, click here.

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