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Spider Crabs: Can You Eat & How to Catch

Yes, you can catch and eat spider crabs. They are similar to regular crabs except their bodies are thicker, and their legs are longer. In order to properly cook a spider crab, they must be boiled for about 20 minutes for every 2 lbs. If you have a live spider crab, you must kill it quickly by cutting its body in half in one swift slice.

Can You Eat Spider Crabs?

Although spider crab is not the type of crab most people associate with when people think of dining on seafood and delicious crab meat, they are edible and even enjoyed worldwide. 

The meat of a spider crab is very soft and slightly sweet. It will remind you of a stone crab.

The most famous type of spider crab in the world is the Japanese spider crab. This species of crab can grow to four feet in length and have extremely long legs. In some regions of Japan, the spider crab can grow to the size of a car or truck. You can see them in aquariums across the world, but their natural habitat is around the Tokyo bay, but they also live in the sea around Taiwan.

Not only are they indigenous to Japan, but the Japanese spider crab is also delicious and much enjoyed in Japan. There are even entire restaurants serving Japanese spider crabs cooked in various ways. 

Description of a Spider Crab

Spider crabs are similar to regular crabs, but they have extremely long legs. Also, they’re different from other crabs because their shells are much stronger and also more round. Because of their weight and their long legs, they move slower than other crabs. However, spider crabs make up for it with their unbelievable reach.

The Japanese spider crab can grow to 13 ft in length on average, and their total weight is usually around 40 pounds.

Where to Find Spider Crabs

Spider crabs live and travel along the bottom of the ocean’s continental shelf. The farthest they will travel below the water surface is about 90m. But they do travel up to the beach and shoreline every year to mate. When spider crabs are young, they tend to stay around rocky reefs and shallow waters.

The European spider crab lives in the Atlantic Ocean around North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the many different ocean currents in the region, the spider crab travels close to the surface in the summer. They live about thirty meters from the shore’s coast. But during the wintertime, they will travel farther below to around 90 meters.

Different species of spider crabs live in different areas of the world. Obviously, Japanese spider crabs live off the coast of Japan. But the great spider crab lives in the Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Their habitat usually starts in Rhode Island and then goes north.

How to Catch Spider Crabs

If you have your own small boat and plan to go into the water to catch your own spider crabs, there is one thing you need to know.

The most effective way to catch a spider crab is to scuba dive into the water and catch them with your bare hands. Because their red body is simple to find, they’re often found around kelp and other sea plants that group together in bunches. As long as you catch them and hold them by their body, they will be unable to pinch you with their claws. Always look for the male crabs because they have the most meat within their legs and pinchers.

If you have no plans to catch your own spider crabs, many different places sell them. You can find spider crabs at fish markets or in seafood-based grocery stores. Many Asian markets also have a fish department stocked with live fish, and they could have spider crabs. 

How to Cook Spider Crabs

The first thing you must know to cook a spider crab is if you have a live spider crab, you must kill it. A humane way to kill a spider crab quickly and painlessly is to place them on their backs, so their white belly is facing you. Then take the knife and strike the crab in the stomach directly through the middle. The knife must go all the way through and hit the other shell.

The best way to cook a spider crab is to cook them in boiling water. Wait until the water is in a complete rolling boil before you place the crab inside the pot. The water must also be salted, and the crab must be cooked for about 20 minutes for every two pounds. So if you have a 7lb crab, you need to boil it for about an hour and 10 minutes.

Recipes for Spider Crabs

Like the regular crab, spider crab is cooked by itself and is commonly served with a dipping sauce and. But you can also boil the crab in a flavored broth with garlic and spicy chilis.

If you have the patience, extract all of the boiled meat from the crab’s shell and use them to make crab cakes, crab ravioli, and even the famous New England crab rolls.

Crabmeat must be stored in the fridge properly, so it will last longer instead of spoiling quickly. On average, cooked crab meat can last in the refrigerator for about four days. Sometimes if your fridge is set to a temperature lower than 40 degrees, it can last a bit longer. Before you eat or prepare your crab meat, always smell and taste it so that you can check and see if it is spoiled.

Conclusion

Spider crabs are not only a crab species, but they are also extremely delicious and enjoyed throughout the world. The most famous type of crab is the Japanese spider crab, which can grow the size of a car. While spider crabs are slow, they make up for their full speed with their incredible reach. To humanely kill a spider crab, you must kill them with a single knife strike through the middle of their body. They can be cooked in salt water and served with a dipping sauce, or it can be cooked in a delicious spicy garlic broth.

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