Edible Seashore of the Pacific Northwest
> Shore Crab
all saltwater crabs are edible raw.
keep crabs alive until cooking time.
look for shore crabs under rocks at low tide.
varieties in the Pacific Northwest are
Purple shore crab
Green shore crab
other crabs found under rocks when juvenile or in shallow waters include
Red rock crab
Small purple shore crabs are usually easy to find by overturning flat rocks -- larger rocks often harbour larger crabs. Be prepared to act quickly, since crabs will scatter in every direction and waste no time in hiding under another (possibly impregnable) rock. Most people overlook these small crabs as a source of food; the trick is knowing how to use them.
When I'm ready to cook, I pull away the tops of their bodyshells by gripping their legs and pulling upwards on the edge of the shell until it separates, an action that kills them instantly. I wash away the guts and boil the crabs whole as part of my dinner soup. When they are cooked, I remove the legs and claws of the crabs, and also the sections where the legs are attached. I chew these parts whole, sucking out the meat as I carefully grind the shells between my teeth, spitting out the shell fragments. It's not a lot of meat, but when I'm done my taste buds feel like they've had a crab feast and the soup retains some of the crab flavour.
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