As seafood in general cooks very quickly is very easy to go from not enough cooked to overcooked in just a few minutes. What is the safest way to tell if the crab is cooked? Is it enough to check only the color? Can you use a meat thermometer? Let’s find out!
All the seafood is characterized by a short period of cooking. No matter what you have bought, it will take you little time to get it ready. The most tricky part is that the line between not enough cooked and overcooked is short so if you are not careful, you could easily overcook them.
The same idea is with the crab. The main sign to understanding that the crab is cooked is to check its color. It is like with shrimps. When they are ready, they change their color into a nice pink-red color.
When the crabs are raw, they have a greenish-brown shell. After cooking, they will become white with pinky or reddish shell elements.
The crabs will tell themselves when they are ready to be served on the table.
How to Pick the Best Crabs?
The easiest way to buy the best crabs is to buy them alive. By buying them alive, you will minimize a lot of headaches that you can have while you want to pick some delicious crabs for dinner.
But what to do if you are far away from the sea or ocean and in your local fish store you will find only partially frozen crabs.
First of all, check if the crabs look good. Did you notice any color deviations?
Sometimes, you can see crabs that are a bit blue or gray. It means that they will not be stored correctly.
They should be brown-greenish on the shell and the white part of them should have any dark spots. If you notice some darkening on the white spots, that means that they were exposed for too long to the air and they will not be juicy after cooking.
Besides the color, you also take a look if they don’t have some hint of sliminess anywhere. If you notice a slice or mucus on any part of them that means that the bacteria started growing on them and they are not safe to be eaten anymore.
After you are convinced that they look ok, pay attention to if they have any unusual odors.
Fresh crabs shouldn’t have any strong odors. Only the fresh smell of the salt water. If you notice a sour rotting smell, this is a straight indicator that the crabs go bad and are not good for consumption.
When you buy them frozen, you should know that their meat must be white. It is also important to look at the amount of ice on them. Too much ice is not good either. The main rule here is to store them frozen until you are ready to eat them.
How to Tell If Crabs Are Done?
So, you have chosen the best crab ever. It is time to cook it correctly. We have already mentioned that a well-done crab turns into a pink one.
If you are not sure about this way, there is also an alternative way to know that the crab is already done. Special thermometers exist.
They help to understand if the product is ready or not. If you want to know if a crab is ready, take it and measure the temperature.
It must be about 145°F / 63°C. If it is lower, you may leave them for a minute or so to cook more.
However, if you pick fresh crabs that are high-quality, you may consider eating them even slightly undercooked.
How to Reheat Crab Legs?
Reheating crabs may be a little bit tricky as it is very easy to get a dry or chewy texture.
One of the simplest ways to reheat a crab is to steam them over boiling water or you can also reheat the crabs in the oven.
Nevertheless, you need to do some extra steps to reheat them correctly. It must be done like a steam camera for a crab. Do it carefully, otherwise, crab meat will become chewy.
- Warm the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit;
- Take a deep glass plate. It must be filled with about ½” of water. The amount of water depends on how many crabs (and their size) you plan to reheat.
- Cover them with foil and make some holes to remove extra steam.
- Boil them for about 10 minutes and they are ready to be served.
How Long Should Crab Be Cooked?
When you have bought a crab, another problem appears. How to cook it right? How much time do you need to cook it in a turn?
The answer is simple here. If you buy a rather big crab, you will probably need about 15-20 minutes to make it ready. Be careful, if you overcook it, it will become chewy.
It can be eaten, but it loses the texture and pleasant taste. Smaller crabs will take less time. It will be enough for about 10 minutes to cook them.
When you decide to cook the crabs, and you don’t want to orient yourself only by their color, you can buy a thermometer for food.
All the problems will be solved with a couple of dollars. With this device, you can easily know when the crab will be fully cooked.
Put the thermometer in the thickest part of the crab meat and if it shows 145°F / 63°C, it means that the crab is ready to be served. You can solve several problems at the same time.
You won’t overcook it, and you will avoid the risk of being poisoned.
Can You Overcook Crab?
The problem of cooking seafood is connected with the time and temperature of preparing it. It usually takes very little time and a certain temperature to make it ready.
Quite often, people overcook it. As a result, it becomes unpleasant to eat. Usually, the overcooked seafood becomes chewy if you cook it for too long.
Even a few extra minutes can turn your crab into a chewy piece of crab meat. Sometimes it seems that it is almost ready, and the cooks decide to give it some more minutes to cook for a turn.
These minutes can ruin the dish totally. So, it is better to know that an average crab usually takes 10 minutes to get ready. Of course, if you buy a big one, it will take you some more time. It depends on the size. So, follow the time and the temperature of cooking.
Are Undercooked Crabs Dangerous for You?
The main danger that people can face while eating raw or undercooked crab has been connected to some infections. The main trouble that can appear is known as Paragonimus.
It is a kind of infection that can exist in the meat of raw and undercooked crabs. It will hardly lead to a fatal consequence, but still, some health problems can appear.
When the fluke gets into the nervous system, it can become the cause of a disease that is known as meningitis. It is not the best thing when you decide to eat such a tasty dish.
To avoid this unpleasant situation, always buy fresh crabs and cook them in the right way.
Can You Get Ill After Eating a Raw Crab?
It is like Russian roulette. You can, and you can’t at the same time. Nevertheless, it is better not to take risks. So, you already know that raw crab meat can contain some bacteria.
They can get to your body and strike your nervous system. It is not the best way to get acquainted with crabs.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that all the raw crabs are quite dangerous. So, you should remember that all the seafood must be correctly done.
It will prevent you from serious health problems. We have said that you are likely to have meningitis when you eat raw crab. If you want to avoid such problems, cook it the right way.