The Crab Variety You Shouldn't Can

Crabs are some of the most delicious shellfish you can get your hands on. They are fantastic in crab and corn chowder, can be baked into Maryland-style crab cakes, or boiled in a buttery Old Bay seasoned seafood boil. Crabs are delightful short-tailed crustaceans, which live in all the world's oceans, fresh bodies of water, and on land (via Britannica). 

There are thousands of different crab varieties around the world, but according to Order Maine Lobster, people today tend to prefer Dungeness crabs, king crabs, stone crabs, snow crabs, peekytoe crabs, and blue crabs for eating. They tend to grow on the bigger side (which means there is more bang for your buck) and have flakey, delicious meat that you have to crack through their exoskeleton to chow down on. Eating crab is a messy experience, but if you buy yours canned, you're less likely to fight for every bite, but not all crab meat should be canned.

It's better to freeze this type of crab

Crab meat is best eaten as fresh as possible, but that's not always an option for people who don't live close enough to a seafood market. So, people have turned to canned crab meat. The UCCE El Dorado County Master Food Preservers says that crab meat must be canned by boiling the whole crab for 20 minutes, leaving it to cool in cold water, and then removing the exoskeleton. After the meat is exposed, clean it with brine made out of a mixture of two tablespoons of salt, one cup of lemon juice, and one gallon of water. Squeeze the brine from the crab and then can the shellfish meat.

But before you can fresh crab, take a moment to examine what kind it is. While Dungeness and king crab meat is perfectly fine to can, the National Center for Home Food Preservation warns that blue crab meat should not be. Canning blue crab meat can bestow an aggressive acidic flavor to the shellfish. Instead, it's best to freeze blue crab meat if you want to save it for later consumption. Robust kitchen advisees that the best way to do that is to prepare the crab meat as if you were going to follow the canning instructions above, then vacuum seal and freeze it. When it is finally time to make a seafood dinner, remove the frozen crab from the freezer two hours before cooking to thaw in cold water.