22 Mar Freezing Crab Meat
Hard-shell crabs can be frozen when (1) alive and whole; (2) cooked and whole; (3) cleaned (bodies and claws); or (4) as solid crab meat in portions. When freezing crab meat in solid portions, you may want to rinse any yellow “mustard” from the meat, as this may affect the flavor and the texture of the frozen meat. The yellow “mustard” inside the blue crab is in actuality the hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the crab’s blood. It is, indeed, eaten by many people who consider it one of the tastier parts of the fresh steamed crab. This last bit of information is from Michael J. Oesterling at Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Soft-shell crabs can be frozen alive, or after they have been cleaned.
There are many types of wrapping and containers. Food dries out in a freezer unless carefully wrapped; it also expands, so allow some room for expansion. When freezing crabs or crab meat, use freezer bags. Label every package. Indicate the contents, date, weight, or other important information. Special, labels, pens, and tape for this purpose are available. Use packages with the oldest dates first.
Freeze the crab meat promptly after wrapping. Do not allow the package to stand at room temperature. Freeze and store crab meat at 0 degrees to -5 degrees.
When the frozen crabs or crab meat is removed form the freezer, you can cook meat thawed or partially thawed. Cook thawed crabs and meat at once. Allow more time for cooking at a lower temperature when starting your crab dish from a partially frozen state.
Never refreeze crabs or crab meat.