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Mud crabs are originally mangrove dwellers but now widely farmed in ponds with brackish water. They range in size from tiny babies to the giants at about 1.2 kilogram a piece. They have medium to firm textured meat with a delicate sweet flavor. They have much thicker shells than the blue or orange shelled crabs.
Salted water, ideally with water coming from the crab source, is used for cooking the crabs. Washing in fresh water results in watery crab meat with reduced flavor. Using salty water makes crab meat tough and tasty. In the absence of seawater, cooking salt is added to tap water at 25 g/l a large pot and then boiled. The crabs are placed in the pot on their backs, and then cooked for 20-25 minutes. The water may be seasoned with sliced lemon, black pepper, celery, garlic and onion. Cooked crabs are easier to pickle or season when two tablespoons of vinegar are added to the water. Cooked crabs should be immediately drained, cooled, and chilled in the refrigerator. The edible meat of crabs in the legs and along each side of the body is eaten as is or used in more elaborate dishes.