Shore Crab
  • all saltwater crabs are edible raw.
  • keep crabs alive until cooking time to avoid toxins building up in their systems.
  • look for shore crabs under rocks at low tide.
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Field Notes
The small purple shore crabs that live under rocks are always plentiful and easy to find, though it's a bit of an art to guess which rock will be sheltering the largest crabs. Large flat rocks are usually good candidates. Be prepared to act quickly after flipping a rock, since crabs will scatter in every direction, wasting no time in hiding under another (possibly much larger) one! Most people overlook these small crabs as a source of food; the trick is knowing how to get at the meat.

When I'm ready to cook, I remove the tops of their bodyshells by gripping their legs and pulling upwards on the edge of the shell until it comes off, an action that kills them instantly. I wash out the guts and boil them whole for ten minutes, often as part of my dinner soup. When they are cooked, I remove the legs and claws of the crabs, and also the side-segments of the body where the legs are attached. I chew these parts whole, sucking out the meat as I carefully grind the shell between my teeth, spitting out the shell fragments. It's not a lot of meat, but when I'm done my taste buds feel like they've had a crab feast!