If you are seeking information on the Maryland Blue Crab, then you are probably well aware that the Blue Crab’s meat is considered one of sweetest meats there is.  On these pages we will try to give you some how to tips on getting the most enjoyment out of eating the Maryland Blue Crab. Place the crab belly-up (white side) on the table. Locate the apron. Jumbo. The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs.   You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws.  You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab.  The bottom apron is the shape of the Washington monument.  This shape is totally different from the females.  (please refer to #3 Sook Crabs).  The #1 Jimmy typically has a darker, older looking shell and sometimes has what looks like rust on the bottom of the shell.  Valued for the meat they contain, they are considered the crabs of summer. Difference between Male and Female Crabs. They are easily identified by their blue claws and inverted t-shaped apron which resembles the Washington Monument. Crab fat has been dubbed “mustard” because of the dijon yellow color of the fat, although it can also come in green or white. Stowaway blue crabs on ship ballasts have even showed up in the Mediterranean. The crab starts off life as a little egg which hatches and gives rise to a zoea which soon turns into a megalopa which looks a lot like a mini lobster. INSTRUCTIONS. First, take a look at the crab’s claws. Crabs, like these red rock crabs, often engage in a premating hug in which the male will wrap his claws and legs around the female. While all the crabs caught are the same species, the difference is the way in which the crustaceans are cooked. The rounded abdomen is free to open (not sealed shut) therefore allowing her to mate and carry eggs.   The sook crabs are typically sought after for the sweet taste and the egg roe that sometimes is present inside the crab. See Blue Crab Identification for more information.. Atlantic Blue Crab - Known by its scientific name Callinectes sapidus.. Backfin - The swimming or paddle fin. Let soak two to three days. The flavor-packed spheres come from the female crab and turn bright orange after cooking. Prime 5 – 5 ½ inches Add To Cart. Most of the crabmeat south of North Carolina and on the Gulf of Mexico gets boiled.” Crabmeat sourced from South America lacks the rich flavor that is particular to Maryland crabs. Allow about 500 g (1 pound) of unshelled crab per person. Keep on crabbing! The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs.   You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws.  You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab.  The bottom apron is the shape of the Washington monument.  This shape is totally different from the females.  (please refer to #3 Sook Crabs).  The #1 Jimmy typically has a darker, older looking shell and sometimes has what looks like rust on the bottom of the shell.  Valued for the meat they contain, they are considered the crabs of summer. Roe is often steamed until it solidifies, then served as a salty garnish on Asian dishes. There are two ways to identify your crab as being either male or female including claw color and apron shape. 4 a.m.: Lay trotlines (considered illegal for the bay) in the river where large populations of crabs can be found. Trotline: A long fishing line to which bait is attached at a series of intervals. Native Americans for centuries living on the Delmarva Peninsula took pleasure in eating these crustaceans, and introduced the European settlers to them.  Early treaties included provisions for the rights of Native Americans for “Hunting, Crabbing, Fowling, and Fishing.”. It was first seen off Egyptian waters in the 1940s, but reports of blue crab sightings in Italy, Israel, Greece, and Turkey have been made, too. The crab will stay in this soft state for 1 to 2 days before turning hard.  By looking at the swimming paddle of the blue crab, it can be determined how soon the crab will shed its hard outer shell.  Once caught, these crabs are separated and will be sold as peelers.  The peelers are placed in shedding tanks along with other peelers.  The shedding tanks are monitored  24 hours a day to make sure the soft crab is removed the instant it releases the old shell.  This reason for the monitoring is to keep the other crabs from eating the soft crab after it sheds its hard outer shell. 5 to 6 a.m.: Soak crab pots for bay crabbing. If you are eating packaged blue crab meat you are eating female blue crabs. You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws. For instance, a crab that is graded “large” in the lower Chesapeake Bay region would be graded “medium” in the upper regions. They typically range from 5 ½ – 6 ¼ inches. Increased crabbing restrictions for the fairer species have kept the Jimmy in more constant rotation. In the summer, ask your seafood dealer for female crabs; in the spring, ask for male crabs. Store in brine for tomorrow’s catch. Tomalley (from the Carib word tumale, meaning a sauce of lobster liver), crab fat, or lobster paste is the soft, green substance found in the body cavity of lobsters, that fulfills the functions of both the liver and the pancreas.Tomalley corresponds to the hepatopancreas in other arthropods. Male blue crabs are called “jimmies,” adolescent female blue crabs “sally,” and the adult female blue crabs … Before cooking crabs, let them come to room temperature so that you can see if they are alive or not. I am a crab fanatic and living in Baltimore crabs are everywhere. Use tongs. “People complain about the price of crab,” says lifelong crabber Bruce Shroyer, above, who sells supplies out of his Crabbing Barn in North East, MD, “but they have no idea what it takes to get the crab there in the first place.” To maximize fishing time, the professionals live by the clock, which starts ticking one hour before sunrise (the earliest time a licensed crabber can lay lines or place pots). #1 Male. Warm stone crabs have an iodine aftertaste, but cold stone crabs don’t. Pop the top shell off with a quick lifting of the shell with the knife. Sponge: The orange eggs of a female crab that spread across the abdomen; the average sponge contains about two million eggs. The #1 Male crab, also known as a “Jimmy”, are typically the most sought after type of crab. Growth is problematic because the old shell must be shed and a larger one formed in its place. Mustard: Yellowy substance found inside a cooked crab. Descriptions. When crabs enter to eat the bait, they are trapped; used for bay crabbing. While both can be eaten, limits have been set this year on the number of females crabbers can catch. 12:10 to 3 p.m.: Hold bladder, if possible, and continue to catch as catch can. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The #1 Jimmy Crabs are graded by size.  The measurement is taken from the left point of the hard shell to the right point of the hard shell.  The sizing is as follows: Colossal or Heavyweights 7 plus inches – These crabs are a rarity and therefore are not always available. Be sure to check out our 2014 Crab Buyer’s Guide and Home Plates. A Baltimore Photographer Once Captured John Lennon and Yoko Ono at The Dakota: Hampden Woman Searches for Beloved ‘Bawlmer’ Vanity License Plate. Additional research by Alexis Blair. Let’s get crackin’. Apron - Abdominal covering on the ventral (bottom) side of the crab. Mustard-- Yellow substance in a cooked crab under the carapace. Sift, sorting by size and sex. A “Jimmy” or male crab has blue claws and an inverted t-shaped apron (or abdomen) as his distinguishing feature. With summer in full force, and so many culinary treasures in the bay, there’s no time like the present to sing the praises of our blues (crabs, that is). “The crabs from our waters are steam-cooked,” says Andy Hoffman, owner of Pikesville’s Gourmet Again. Unlike male crabs that continue to molt and grow throughout their entire lives, females stop growing when they reach sexual maturity, usually after about 20 molts. Crabs are crustaceans, just like a lobsters and prawns, and so they share the same body structure. According to a survey of 20 crab houses in the Baltimore area, female crabs by the dozen were priced at between 51 and 85 cents to the dollar, compared to … • Specify gender: Crab gender is easy to distinguish: male crabs (or "jimmies") have a narrow, T-shaped "apron" on the back of their shell, while female crabs ("sooks") have a wide apron. The belly has an abdomen, or apron, with a distinctive shape. Hey Fred! Megalopa-- Final larval stage between zoea and crab stage. Male crabs will have bright blue claws like the first picture below. Silence in the classroom, kids. #1 Males tend to have flakier meat. Jumbo 5 ½ -6 inches A male blue crab’s apron is long and has a pointed tip, which is often facetiously called the “Washington Monument” by watermen. Females tend to have denser meat. View details. BLUE CRAB IDENTIFICATION #1 Jimmy Crabs: The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs.  Sooks tend to have less meat than the Jimmies and usually end up in the picking houses for crabmeat. Written by Jane Marion and Karen Nitkin.  Sooks tend to have less meat than the Jimmies and usually end up in the picking houses for crabmeat. You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab. In addition, live females have red-tipped claws, while male claws are blue. If you think your desk job is hard, try the labor-intensive work of commercial crabbers, many of whom go on little sleep during the season (running roughly May through October). That being said, it’s time to educate. This process, called The upper shell is called the carapace. Note that Toups uses the words roe and fat interchangeably, but both male and female crabs have the mustard-yellow fat inside. mustard Yellow substance found inside a cooked crab. During this terminal molt, mating takes place. Has a strong taste and is part of the crab's digestive system. Note to self: Crabs bite best during the first four hours of the morning when they are hungriest. They form in a female crab after she is fertilized by a male crab Male hermit crabs don't have legs on their abdomen. Whales 6 plus inches. The rounded abdomen is free to open (not sealed shut) therefore allowing her to mate and carry eggs.   The sook crabs are typically sought after for the sweet taste and the egg roe that sometimes is present inside the crab. There are 3 ways you can tell the difference between authentic crabs from the Chesapeake Bay and crabs from other waters. Sponge Crabs – The sponge crab is a female crab that has been mated and is carry eggs under her apron.  She will typically carry over two million eggs.  Due to sea predators only 1or 2 eggs of the over two million eggs will ever make it to be a blue crab. Billy’s signature mustard sauce is included with every stone crab order complimentary. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Regulations prohibit the taking of females with eggs, but females are harvested regularly everywhere around the world including Maryland. The sexually mature female crab or “Sook” (known to waterman as a “Sally” in its immature phase) is the best-groomed swimmer in the bay, with red tips on her talons and a trademark bell-shaped apron. Female crabs, however, have red tips on their claws like in the second picture. Noon: Crack open a can of baked beans for some quick refueling, but no sitting on the job. : Sell 10-bushel haul to area bars and seafood purveyors. Soft Shells are graded into the following sizes.  The measurement is taken from point to point of the soft shell: Hotel 4 ½ -5 inches In addition, live females have red-tipped claws, while male claws are blue. A molting crab is said to be a “soft-shell.”. The male has larger claws than the female and is marketed, primarily, for its white meat content; Male crab typically make up 5 to 10 % of the total brown crab catch. Below is a typical day in the life of a waterman, though during soft-shell season, crabbers stay up around-the-clock to check their peeler pots. I think the big, dark fall crabs taste the worst - the meat is tougher and doesn't have the good, sweet taste. Picking: The art of eating a steamed crab by teasing the meat out of those hard-to-reach appendages. There are no upcoming events at this time. By Edited by Jane Marion. – The number two Jimmy crabs which are sometimes called “whitey Crabs” are the male crabs that either do not meet a certain measurement (from shell point to shell point) or are not full of meat.  They are typically caught right after shedding their old shell and have not quite filled out their new bigger shell.  These crabs are typically harvested and sold to the crab picking companies because of their cheaper cost and the ease of removing the meat. **  Be careful when purchasing crabs by size.  The grading of hard shell crabs can depend on the region the crabs are harvested.  In the lower Chesapeake bay some companies call a 5 ½ – 6 inch crab a Large crab which only measures to be a medium on our scale.  There is no industry standard for grading hard crabs. Nicking or Breaking a Crab-- Break a moveable finger of the claws to prevent their use. Rebait trotlines at end of day. Crab pot:An enclosed framework of wire with four openings. While some crab-lovers say female meat tastes sweeter, many shy away from eating females to encourage reproduction. Whether coddled into cakes, picked over paper, or transformed into savory salads, these sidestepping sweeties fill us with local pride in all their glorious incarnations. – The Sally crabs or “she crab” are the immature female crabs which means they cannot mate, or carry eggs.  They also have an orange color on the tips of the claw like the #3 Sook Crabs.  They can be identified by looking at the bottom of the crab.  The apron on the bottom is the shape of a triangle or pyramid.  The sally crab has not yet mated and has not yet carried eggs.  She will be mated after she sheds her hard outer shell. Roe: This is the bright orange crab eggs found inside female crabs. But much as crabs can lead to innumerable pleasures on the plate, there’s a lot to know about cooking, cleaning, and consuming them. 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