Dungeness Crab ( A Little Seafood History )


Dungeness Crab, lives in and around eelgrass beds, and water bottoms on the west coast of North America. It grows to around 7.9 inches and is a very popular seafood prized for its sweet and tender flesh. Its name comes from the port of Dungeness, Washington. A small fishing village on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They range from central California to the Gulf of Alaska. They are a popular delicacy, and are the most commercially important crab in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the western states. Dungeness crabs have a wide, long hard shell, which they must periodically moult to grow, this process is called ecdysis. They have five pairs of legs, which are similarly armoured, the foremost pair of which ends in claws the crab uses both as defense and to tear apart large food items. The crab uses its smaller appendages to pass the food particles into its mouth. They prefer to eat clams, and other crustaceans and small fish, but is also an effective scavenger. Dungeness crabs can bury themselves completely in the sand if threatened.

Culinary use:

About one-quarter of crab’s weight is meat. The flesh has what’s considered to be a delicate flavor and slightly sweet taste. Dungeness crabs can usually be purchased either live, cooked or frozen. Live crabs are cooked simply by dropping them into boiling salt water. Another method is called half backing. Half backing is done by flipping the crab upside down and chopping it in half from the head to the tail, then the guts and lungs can be scooped or washed out. Many consider half backing to be superior to cooking the entire crab, because the meat is not contaminated by the flavor and or toxins of the guts. Two common tools for removing meat from the shell are a crab cracker and a shrimp fork.