Four Star Seafood

Live Dungeness Crab


Live local Dungeness Crab!  1.5# and larger.  From our local boats.

Origin: California

Method of Capture: Pots

Wild or Farmed: Wild

Good Alternative MSC
Live Dungeness Crabs has a light reddish, brown hue on their back, sometimes with a purplish wash in the front portion. Some will have characteristic patterns of lighter streaks and spots on their back as well. They will have white-tipped pincers on their claws.

When cooked, they will have a sweet, delicate, and a slight nutty flavor. This is the crab everyone on the West Coast waits for in the winter!
If you are going to boil this crab, make sure the water is as salty as seawater. The delicate flavor of the meat can be diluted and weakened if it is not cooked in saline water. Although a Dungeness freezes well, but nothing compares to the flavor of a fresh, live crab.

Dungeness Crab is perfect in a Cioppino, though some would say it is an essential ingredient. Drawn butter, Crab Louie, even a simple cocktail sauce are all perfect for this seasonal treasure.

If you are making a crab cake with Dungeness, try using a minimal amount of spice and breadcrumbs so as to not overwhelm the delicate flavor of the crab meat. (Ideally use the meatier Blue Crabs with Old Bay seasoning for the crab cakes). And by all means, save the carcass for crab stock.
Ideally you want to cook live crabs as soon as you receive them. If you do need to store them, place them in an open container, like a large bowl, and line it with wet newspaper or towels, and place inside the refrigerator or a cooler. Temperatures at around 48 degrees or lower is ideal. You want to recreate a cool, moist (not wet), and dark environment open to oxygen. This will keep the crab alive for one extra day, at most.

If the crab appears to be sleepy or dead to you, fear not! First, we check if it is alive by placing it on its back so its legs are facing towards you. If the legs immediately flop away, then it is likely to have died. If the legs have some spring to them, they are still alive, but very sleepy. It will be best to cook the crab sooner than later. Be careful if you suspect a dead crab, as you only have a slim 1-hour window to cook it after it has died. Otherwise, its digestive enzymes will have spread to most of its meat making it mushy and inedible.

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