Crab is one of the most popular kinds of seafood, and many people enjoy it. When cooked, edible crabs come in a variety of colors, tastes, and textures. The majority of the crab’s meat is found in the large snow crabs or king crabs with their long pointed legs and claws. Dungeness crabs and blue crabs contain the majority of the delicious snow-white flesh in their bodies.
Crab belong to the Brachyura order of crustaceans. Hundreds of species of crabs are divided into thousands of varieties. Crab externally have a tough exoskeleton, 3 walking legs on each side of their body, and 2 pinching claws. Crabs may be found in chilly saltwater seas, warm sea waters, fresh water bodies, and on land.
Snow crabs, for example, may be found in Alaska’s frigid seas, Greenland’s frigid seas, Siberia’s frigid seas, and Japan. In addition, the Gulf of Mexico, along Florida’s coast, and in salt marshes in several US states are home to the Florida stone crab.
Types of Crabs (With Pictures and Names)
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common crabs you may consume. You’ll also learn about a few crab species and unusual kinds of crabs that aren’t often ate at the conclusion of the article.
Red King crab is a popular type of edible Alaskan crab
Because of their large size and delicate flavor, king crabs are one of the most popular and best types of edible crabs. King crabs, in particular, are among the world’s biggest crab species. Red King crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is a popular kind of Alaskan crab, as it belongs to numerous species of king crabs.
The Red King crab is one of the world’s largest crabs, and it comes in large sizes. These super-sized crustaceans may reach up to 11 inches (28 centimeters) in width and weigh up to 28 pounds (approximately 13 kilograms). The legs of the Red King crab, which may stretch over 5 feet (1.8 meters) in length, contain much of the delectable white meat.
In freezing North Pacific waters near Alaska, such as the Bering Sea and Norton Sound, red king crabs are commonly harvested. Red King crabs have a jaggy body when they are caught in the wild. When cooked, it takes on a rich red color. The edges of the savory Alaskan crab meat extracted from the claws and legs get a pink color from this.
The Blue King Crab (Paralithodes platypus) is another variety of huge Alaskan king crab. This may weigh up to 18 pounds (8.2 kg), although it is not as big as the Red King crab.
Snow Crab (Rock Crabs)
Snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) are an edible Alaskan crab with long legs that is species of rock crab. The cold waters off the coast of Alaska, as well as the North Atlantic Ocean, are home to this crab species. This dark-brown crab’s body may reach up to 7 inches (17 cm) in diameter.
The white meat in the legs and claws of this kind of crab is highly valued. The legs are easy to break open and the meat is accessible, unlike with some other types of edible crabs.
When captured in the wild, the Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) has a blue shell and legs that make it a popular kind of edible crab. The seas off the East Coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, Japan, and Europe are home to these enormous crabs.
The paddle-like feet of blue crabs help them swim. They are a kind of swimming crab. In reality, these swimming crabs may expand to over 9 inches (23 cm) across (excluding the legs). Their scientific name literally means “beautiful savory swimmer.”
One of the distinguishing characteristics of this common crab species is the form of its body (carapace), in addition to its blue color. The side of a Blue crab’s body protrudes to a point, rather than being round like a carapace.
The shell of a cooked blue crab takes on a vivid deep red hue that is seen in most cooked crustaceans. Salty-sweet meat from cooked Blue crabs is said to be delicious. The body, as well as the legs and claws, are frequently full of meat. As a soft-shelled crab, blue crabs are particularly popular. When a crab has just shed its exoskeleton (outer shell), the new one hasn’t yet hardened. Soft-shell crabs are usually cooked in a pan or deep-fried until they’re done.
The Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) is brown to purple in color and has a hard shell, making it a popular large variety of crab. The body and meat of these crabs are a superb source of food, growing to 8″ (20 cm) in width. A single crab may weigh up to 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms), with tasty crab meat accounting for one-fourth of its weight.
One of the greatest crabs to consume is Dungeness. The pleasant flavor of Dungeness crab meat is one of the reasons they’re so popular. This crab variety has a wet and tender texture, as well as salty undertones of the ocean, according to taste testers.
Dungeness crabs get a pink to crimson tint after they’ve been cooked. Crab crackers and shrimp forks are usually supplied to extract the pinky-white sweet meat because the shell of Dungeness crabs is particularly hard.
Florida Stone Crab
The Florida Stone crab (Menippe mercenaria) is a well-known kind of marine crab due to its rich and succulent meet, which is prized for its exquisite flavor. The warm seas off the coasts of Central America and the United States’s East Coast are home to these crabs.
The pincers on the front of the Florida Stone crab’s body are one of its identifying features. The hard outer shell is the same color as these brownish-red colored claws (chelae) with black tips. This is a medium to large-sized crab, with the carapace measuring up to 6.5″ (17 cm) wide.
When these crabs are captured, one claw is removed instead of being caught and cooked. After 18 months, the crabs are released back into the sea to develop a new claw. The meat from the larger claws is solely consumed by the Florida Stone crab.
Its claws change color from light pink to red while cooking. One of the greatest meats to consume is from the claws’ claws – it’s sweet and juicy, with a firm crunch. You’ll need a mallet or crab crackers to get to the meat since the claws are so hard.
The Peekytoe crab (Cancer irroratus) is a brown rock crab species that lives in chilly seas in the Atlantic Ocean. The brown color and purple spots on the hard shell of this kind of crab are characteristic. The Peekytoe crab is a medium-sized crab when compared to other popular types of edible crabs.
It may have a carapace that is up to 5.25 inches (13 cm) across. As compared to other well-known crabs, such as the Florida Stone crab, it has smaller chelae. This crab’s popular name originated in Maine. The Atlantic rock crab is another name for this seafood delicacy.
Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaempferi) is a large crab with long legs. It tops the list of scary-looking crabs. Among all the edible crab species, this is without a doubt the biggest. So, how big is the Japanese spider crab? It has a huge body that may be up to 16 inches (40 cm) broad. A massive 18-foot (5.5-meter) leg span is possible. The colossal cold-water crab can weigh up to 42 pounds (19 kilograms).
Despite the fact that this big crab has a frightening appearance, it is not a combative species. The meat of a Japanese spider crab is a delectable delicacy, rather than being something to be afraid of. The spider crab has a sweeter flavor than brown crab varieties when it comes to flavor. Of course, extracting all of the delicious flaky white meat may be a challenge due to the length of the spindly legs.
The Horsehair crab (Erimacrus isenbeckii) is a popular edible crab variety in Japanese cuisine, ranging from tiny to medium-sized. The shell of these little brown-orange crabs is rough, with orange or lightly colored dots on it. Because of the spiky hairs on its body, it is also known as the “hairy crab.” The seas around Alaska and Northern Japan are home to horsehair crabs.
This crab is between the size of a pea and a walnut. Cooking it usually involves boiling it in salt water. The quantity of flesh in this crab variety’s body is admired. Horsehair crab meat has a sweet and delicate flavor, which is regarded as one of the greatest tastes of crab.
Southern European Crab
The Southern European crab (Potamon fluviatile) is a little edible freshwater crab found in Southern Europe. In Italy, Greece, and the Balkans, this is a kind of green crab that may be found in rivers and streams. The Southern European crab is tiny in comparison to other varieties of seawater crabs.
Green crabs have been a favorite cuisine source for hundreds of years, with an adult green crab averaging only 2″ (5 cm). In North America, European green crabs have become an invasive species. They have a rich sweet flavor and can be cooked in the same fashion as Blue Crab.
Brown (Edible) Crab
The Brown crab (Cancer pagurus) has a reddish-brown shell, legs, and claws and is one of the most popular edible sea crab varieties in the UK. The claws of this seawater crab are black at the tips, similar to those of the Florida Stone crab.
In the United Kingdom, the brown crab is one of the most common types of crab. The carapace of this crab species ranges from 6 to 9 inches (15 to 22 cm) wide and is a medium-sized variety. Brown crabs may grow to be up to 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms) in weight, with meat accounting for one-third of the total.
The body of a brown crab is oval, and the edging is shaped like a pie crust. When cooked, the brown shell becomes a lighter brown. The sex of the crustacean determines the flavor and appearance of sweet crab meat. Female crab meat has a strong flavor and is of a dark color. Male brown crabs have whiter meat with a sweeter flavor than female brown crabs.
Coconut crabs (Birgus latro) are a edible land-dwelling crab that varies in size and color. The Indian and Pacific oceans host coconut crabs.
They’ve also been given different names as a result of their actions. Their capacity to climb up palms, pick coconuts, and then open them on the ground is what gives them the moniker coconut crab. Because they are speculative creatures that will steal anything edible they can find, they are also known as “robber crabs” or “palm thief.”
Coconut crabs are described as having a crablike flavor with a lobsterlike flavor. They have a buttery feel to their white flesh than that of regular crab. You may discover a mild coconut flavor in a coconut crab if you eat one while visiting a Pacific Island.
Hermit crabs are a family of little crabs that includes marine and terrestrial hermit crabs. Hermit crabs do not have their own hard shell. Because they don’t belong to the Brachyura infraorder, hermit crabs aren’t a genuine crab species. Squat lobsters are more closely related to these crabs.
The fact that this crab-like species does not create its own hard exoskeleton is one of its distinguishing characteristics. Hermit crabs must discover empty shells they will ‘live’ in for protection from predators. Various types of snails have left behind hard shells, which they can use to protect themselves.
Hermit crabs must abandon their shells as they increase in size. Hermit crabs may be eaten, although they are generally tiny and unappealing. In actuality, the coconut crab is a hermit crab. Coconut crabs, on the other hand, have a tough calcified shell that protects them from predators.
The Horseshoe crab is an arthropod that has a low meat content, making it difficult to digest. In shallow coastal waters of the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans, horseshoe crabs belong to the Limulidae family. Despite the fact that it is an edible crab, people choose not to eat it due to its low meat content.