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Author Topic: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?  (Read 772 times)

Offline STIKNSTRINGBOW

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I have been picking up a few crab on the coast, and am planning on a big "seafood boil" in a little over a week.
.
I like to use fresh, raw ingredients in these because I feel the flavors are better in the stockpot.
.
However, I have a trip planned to go geoducking in a couple weeks up north where the season isn't open until July 1st..
.
My question is that I have found it more convenient to kill/clean and save the legs instead of cooking whole.
.
Don't have to worry about keeping alive, so on days I only get one I can save until I have more...
.
However, storing them for over a week requires freezing.
.
If I catch/kill/clean/freeze, will it result in the same quality as catch/kill/clean/cook/freeze?
.
Or should I just catch/cook/clean/freeze?
.
Variations thereof?
.
I just am curious about quality of the meat.
.
I cannot keep them alive for a week.
.
I need to freeze.
.
But don't know if I should cook first, freeze, and add to boil.
Or freeze raw, and let it cook.
.
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Offline Angry Perch

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2021, 01:18:30 PM »
I have been picking up a few crab on the coast, and am planning on a big "seafood boil" in a little over a week.
.
I like to use fresh, raw ingredients in these because I feel the flavors are better in the stockpot.
.
However, I have a trip planned to go geoducking in a couple weeks up north where the season isn't open until July 1st..
.
My question is that I have found it more convenient to kill/clean and save the legs instead of cooking whole.
.
Don't have to worry about keeping alive, so on days I only get one I can save until I have more...
.
However, storing them for over a week requires freezing.
.
If I catch/kill/clean/freeze, will it result in the same quality as catch/kill/clean/cook/freeze?
.
Or should I just catch/cook/clean/freeze?
.
Variations thereof?
.
I just am curious about quality of the meat.
.
I cannot keep them alive for a week.
.
I need to freeze.
.
But don't know if I should cook first, freeze, and add to boil.
Or freeze raw, and let it cook.
.

In my experience, freezing raw crab does not end well.

Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2021, 01:27:19 PM »
Cook then freeze in shell. Good for a couple months. We vacuum seal crab legs all the time.

Offline MIKEXRAY

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2021, 01:49:56 PM »
We also clean, cook and freeze in shell , does surprisingly well.  I don't notice much difference at all.

Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2021, 04:01:47 PM »
I tried freezing raw, once.  We cook and remove all the meat and vacuum seal.  We've tried all common methods and for long term storage, I think it works best.  However, we take the last batch of the season and cook and freeze in the shell.  We make it a point to eat those within a couple months.  Generally not that hard to do.
Look man, some times you just gotta roll the dice

Offline STIKNSTRINGBOW

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2021, 07:03:40 PM »
Just trying to figure a plan.
"Main event" is the -4 tide on the 25th.
No crabbing until July 1st (Puget sound)
Figure to hit the coast for crabs on Mon/tuesday, rake up manila clams on Wednesday, get a few horse clams and geoduck on thursday.
Have a pot boiling at beach on Friday.
.
I have a group of "first timers" digging on Friday's low tide.
.
Thinking I want to have it simmering while we are digging then have lunch while I show them how to prep geoduck and horse clams..(throw in a butter clam, or two)
.
I just have always found that fresh is better.
.
Got no worries about my clam plan.
.
Just don't want to worry about dead crabs.
.
I have an aerator, but...
It's going to be busy keeping my clams alive.
.
.
So, I am now planning on cleaning/cooking the crab and freezing, then adding to the pot with the shrimp right at end.
.
Figure once the potatoes and corn are fork tender, throw in the rest, and bring it back to boil.
.
Have our feast, and the stock should make some damn fine chowder with the big clams..
.
.
Any reason why my "normal" recipe won't work?
.
Usually the crab is fresh when I do a "boil"
But, sometimes you just have to go with it.
..
I am just concerned about overcooking and losing flavor.
.
Won't do that with the clams, but 4 day old crab?
.
Always followed the rule about relatives and seafood.
" throw them out after 3 days"
.
I just have a reputation to keep, and my LDS friend is expecting me to "wow" them because I opened my fool mouth and promised a shore lunch he'll be amazed by, and if you have ever spent a morning digging geoduck, the last thing you get around to is eating (unless your doing it raw/cervichi)
.
They are not a catch/cook type trip for a flatlander with only one day.
.
Usually cleaning/prepping/storage takes most of the afternoon.
.
Having food already, then snacking while the tourist gets learns the process..
.
Really looking forward to this adventure.
But my "friend" is an old childhood neighbor.
He's also LDS, as in no drinking, no swearing, etc.....
.
Have not seen him in years.
.
My family?
.
It's my cousins.
Live on a reservation.
They drink.
They smoke.
They swear.
They especially like to set of fireworks, and drink and swear.
Several even burn "sage" to cleanse their.....
..
.
So, I just want to knock Friday right out of the park with an awesome lunch and day at the beach.
.
Then go hang out on the rez.
.
Last Friday before the fourth?
.
I think it's going to be a weekend to remember.
.
Once I send the tourists home.
The mountains are calling and I must go."
- John Muir
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
- John Burroughs
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Offline Remnar

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2021, 08:38:41 PM »
 If its 4 days cook crab like you normally would let cool/chill then put in bags to keep it out of water then keep it packed on ice and it will be fine .

Also live crab will stay alive for awhile (ive never done it more than a couple days) if you keep them on well drained ice . They go dormant .

Most people I know (me included) like to eat Dungies chilled anyway . Easier to crack also .

Of course could always add to your boil for a few seconds .
 :twocents:


Offline Mech

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2021, 07:54:01 PM »
I had the same question the other day.
I YouTubed it and saw a nice video.
The guy cooked and halved them.
He then cut off half the last digit of the legs.
He also folded/bent in the sharp edges of the crab body areas that would puncture the bag.
He then folded up a half and inserted it in to a vacuum seal bag.
He then added another one with the claw facing the other way.
When the vacuum seal started working he massaged the crab halves in to a good fit.
One of the crabs punctured the bag so he cut a bit of the bag off and added another bag over it.
He said he get about 2 out of 10 that fail.

Over all it was a pretty good video.
I am going to do this in a couple of weeks.

I used to do similar bagging with my whole abalone when there was still a season.
Meaning cut/remove sharp areas and double bagging when punctures happen.
Worked well for abalone.
Probably will work well for dungies.

Offline konradcountry

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2021, 08:51:42 PM »
Make crab crakes and vacuum seal

Chowder actually freezes really well

Offline Stein

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2021, 09:23:00 PM »
I have been picking up a few crab on the coast, and am planning on a big "seafood boil" in a little over a week.
.
I like to use fresh, raw ingredients in these because I feel the flavors are better in the stockpot.
.
However, I have a trip planned to go geoducking in a couple weeks up north where the season isn't open until July 1st..
.
My question is that I have found it more convenient to kill/clean and save the legs instead of cooking whole.
.
Don't have to worry about keeping alive, so on days I only get one I can save until I have more...
.
However, storing them for over a week requires freezing.
.
If I catch/kill/clean/freeze, will it result in the same quality as catch/kill/clean/cook/freeze?
.
Or should I just catch/cook/clean/freeze?
.
Variations thereof?
.
I just am curious about quality of the meat.
.
I cannot keep them alive for a week.
.
I need to freeze.
.
But don't know if I should cook first, freeze, and add to boil.
Or freeze raw, and let it cook.
.

In my experience, freezing raw crab does not end well.

Yeah, frozen crab is no bueno.  I've tried it all and it all ends up dried, strange texture and bad taste.  Freeze in the shell, vac pack, wrap in newspaper, arrange it with the angle of the moon on the second from bottom shelf, anything I have ever read about.

The only way I have preserved it with any luck is canning.  It isn't good by itself but decent to good in dip and pretty dang good in stew.

Otherwise I would echo others saying you should catch it the day before you leave and keep it on ice.  I can't think of another form of critter I only eat fresh, but dungies just don't store well at all.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2021, 09:43:02 PM »
Crab can freeze fine - if you cook them up and either blast freeze/glaze, or brine freeze them.  Any other way just doesn't get it done, imho.  I, like Stein, have tried a bunch of different ways with standard chest/vertical freezers.  Even tried freezing cooked shelled meat in a vacpac with milk (I don't know where I heard it, I was getting desperate - and it didn't work either). 

If you can freeze them fast (and I mean -40F with a lot of air movement, or brine freezing), it's a good product.  Other than that - keep them alive as long as you can and cook before eating.  You can make  dungy's go dormant and keep them alive out of water for about 3 days if you're careful.  Keep them lively and aereated when you're catching them, and right before you are ready to store them put them in a cooler with fresh seawater in it.  Add ice until the water temp comes down to between 34 and 36 degrees.  If you go below 33 you'll kill them.  If it's above 36 degrees, they don't go dormant.  Then you can take them out, carefully band the legs and claws (folded up and place a rubber band around each side to hold them in place). Drain the seawater from the cooler.  Then you layer them in in cooler with a thick layer of ice on the bottom, then wet newspaper/cardboard, then a layer of crabs, then a layer of wet newsprint, then thinner layer of ice, then newsprint, then crab, then newsprint, then thin layer of ice, etc.  The crab are sandwiched between the newsprint/cardboard, never in direct contact with the ice.  As long as you leave the cooler drain open and keep good top ice on the crab, they'll stay alive for quite a while.  This is the basic stategy to keep them alive for shipment to China, where after recieving them they place the crab in saltwater tanks at 34 degrees and then slowly let the temp come up to 40 prior to sale.  My understanding is they lose about 10% of the crab to deadloss this way, but the result for the survivors is lively crab for the live markets there.

I haven't tried canning them, but might here soon.

 :twocents:

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Offline Old Man8383

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Re: Freezing crab for boil, cooked first, or clean and freeze raw?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2021, 11:09:11 PM »
I think everyone has worked out what works best for them.  I kill, clean, then cook, place in a zip lock bag add water, salt and freeze.  No ones ever complained at one of my sea food fest BBQ's.  Skipping the cooking part, I put up all my bottom fish and trout this way also.

 


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