Wear gloves. Billy’s signature mustard sauce is included with every stone crab order complimentary. Sponge Crabs – The sponge crab is a female crab that has been mated and is carry eggs under her apron.  She will typically carry over two million eggs.  Due to sea predators only 1or 2 eggs of the over two million eggs will ever make it to be a blue crab. Sort male from female crabs. Female crabs carry eggs under the apron, which becomes distended as eggs mature. Male blue crabs have broader bodies and more pronounced spines; on the other hand, female blue crabs have a less broad body and less pronounced spines. In addition, live females have red-tipped claws, while male claws are blue. For instance, a crab that is graded “large” in the lower Chesapeake Bay region would be graded “medium” in the upper regions. There, however, the crab is invasive. Sponge: The orange eggs of a female crab that spread across the abdomen; the average sponge contains about two million eggs. Soft Shell Crabs– In order to grow the blue crab goes through a molting period where it sheds it old hard shell which is replaced with a new larger shell.  During the molting process the old shell is released exposing a soft shell that has grown under the old hard shell.  The new shell typically stays soft as it quickly grows to become a bigger shell. A male blue crab, also called “jimmy” by boatmen, can be identified by its bright blue “chelipeds” or claws.Aside from its claws, a male blue crab can also be identified by the shape of its “apron,” which is the flap on its bottom. Warm stone crabs have an iodine aftertaste, but cold stone crabs don’t. Megalopa-- Final larval stage between zoea and crab stage. The mustard is an organ that helps the crab filter impurities in its blood. I am a crab fanatic and living in Baltimore crabs are everywhere. They are easily identified by their blue claws and inverted t-shaped apron which resembles the Washington Monument. I also explain some basics of hermit crab anatomy. Female crabs, however, have red tips on their claws like in the second picture. – The Sally crabs or “she crab” are the immature female crabs which means they cannot mate, or carry eggs.  They also have an orange color on the tips of the claw like the #3 Sook Crabs.  They can be identified by looking at the bottom of the crab.  The apron on the bottom is the shape of a triangle or pyramid.  The sally crab has not yet mated and has not yet carried eggs.  She will be mated after she sheds her hard outer shell. A molting crab is said to be a “soft-shell.”. On the male, it’s shaped like the Washington Monument and on the female, the Washington Capitol. mustard Yellow substance found inside a cooked crab. Crabs belong to a group of animals called arthropods whose skeletal support is provided by a \"shell\" outside their bodies. Picking: The art of eating a steamed crab by teasing the meat out of those hard-to-reach appendages. Written by Jane Marion and Karen Nitkin. For the crab to grow larger, it molts, or sheds its shell periodically. In the summer, ask your seafood dealer for female crabs; in the spring, ask for male crabs. Whales 6 plus inches. Note that Toups uses the words roe and fat interchangeably, but both male and female crabs have the mustard-yellow fat inside.  Sooks tend to have less meat than the Jimmies and usually end up in the picking houses for crabmeat. Pop the top shell off with a quick lifting of the shell with the knife. Discard any dead ones. That being said, it’s time to educate. The flavor-packed spheres come from the female crab and turn bright orange after cooking. This process, called Mustard-- Yellow substance in a cooked crab under the carapace. A male blue crab’s apron is long and has a pointed tip, which is often facetiously called the “Washington Monument” by watermen. The crab will stay in this soft state for 1 to 2 days before turning hard.  By looking at the swimming paddle of the blue crab, it can be determined how soon the crab will shed its hard outer shell.  Once caught, these crabs are separated and will be sold as peelers.  The peelers are placed in shedding tanks along with other peelers.  The shedding tanks are monitored  24 hours a day to make sure the soft crab is removed the instant it releases the old shell.  This reason for the monitoring is to keep the other crabs from eating the soft crab after it sheds its hard outer shell. Roe is often steamed until it solidifies, then served as a salty garnish on Asian dishes. Stowaway blue crabs on ship ballasts have even showed up in the Mediterranean. Rebait trotlines at end of day. Crab fat has been dubbed “mustard” because of the dijon yellow color of the fat, although it can also come in green or white. “Flavor is lost in boiling,” Hoffman says. Before being eaten, the cold crabs are cracked and then served with Billy’s Signature Mustard Sauce on the side. A Baltimore Photographer Once Captured John Lennon and Yoko Ono at The Dakota: Hampden Woman Searches for Beloved ‘Bawlmer’ Vanity License Plate. The belly has an abdomen, or apron, with a distinctive shape. According to a survey of 20 crab houses in the Baltimore area, female crabs by the dozen were priced at between 51 and 85 cents to the dollar, compared to … Females tend to have denser meat. Note to self: Crabs bite best during the first four hours of the morning when they are hungriest. Male blue crabs are prized for picking. optional: chili powder, cumin, whole crushed garlic, ginger, ground mustard, nutmeg, red pepper flakes . Contrary to popular belief, the "mustard" is not fat, rather it's the crab's hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the … 3 until ? Crab pot:An enclosed framework of wire with four openings. The rounded abdomen is free to open (not sealed shut) therefore allowing her to mate and carry eggs.   The sook crabs are typically sought after for the sweet taste and the egg roe that sometimes is present inside the crab. The scientific name for the Blue Crab is Callinectes: (Greek) and translates to Beautiful Swimmer.  Crabs can only swim and walk from side to side instead of forward and backward.  Cannibalism is common of young smaller crabs by larger crabs and may help regulate population surplus.  Crabs are also scavengers and predators; they will eat live or dead fish, clams, snails, and ocean vegetation. BLUE CRAB IDENTIFICATION #1 Jimmy Crabs: The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs. In addition, live females have red-tipped claws, while male claws are blue. Increased crabbing restrictions for the fairer species have kept the Jimmy in more constant rotation. 3:30 a.m.: Head to favorite spot on the Chesapeake and its tributaries. During this terminal molt, mating takes place. Below is a typical day in the life of a waterman, though during soft-shell season, crabbers stay up around-the-clock to check their peeler pots. The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs.   You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws.  You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab.  The bottom apron is the shape of the Washington monument.  This shape is totally different from the females.  (please refer to #3 Sook Crabs).  The #1 Jimmy typically has a darker, older looking shell and sometimes has what looks like rust on the bottom of the shell.  Valued for the meat they contain, they are considered the crabs of summer. Allow about 500 g (1 pound) of unshelled crab per person. Click to see full answer Simply so, which crab is better male or female? Can’t get enough crabs? The rounded abdomen is free to open (not sealed shut) therefore allowing her to mate and carry eggs.   The sook crabs are typically sought after for the sweet taste and the egg roe that sometimes is present inside the crab. “People complain about the price of crab,” says lifelong crabber Bruce Shroyer, above, who sells supplies out of his Crabbing Barn in North East, MD, “but they have no idea what it takes to get the crab there in the first place.” To maximize fishing time, the professionals live by the clock, which starts ticking one hour before sunrise (the earliest time a licensed crabber can lay lines or place pots). Specify gender: Crab gender is easy to distinguish: male crabs (or "jimmies") have a narrow, T-shaped "apron" on the back of their shell, while female crabs ("sooks") have a wide apron. Let soak two to three days. Pre-bait 6,000 feet of trotline with bull lips, Razor clams, chicken necks, salted eel, and other crab munchies. You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab. The #1 Jimmy Crabs are graded by size.  The measurement is taken from the left point of the hard shell to the right point of the hard shell.  The sizing is as follows: #2 Jimmy Crabs – The number two Jimmy crabs which are sometimes called “whitey Crabs” are the male crabs that either do not meet a certain measurement (from shell point to shell point) or are not full of meat.  They are typically caught right after shedding their old shell and have not quite filled out their new bigger shell.  These crabs are typically harvested and sold to the crab picking companies because of their cheaper cost and the ease of removing the meat. 2 a.m.: Stock boat with anchors, buoys, and 100 pounds of bait. Native Americans for centuries living on the Delmarva Peninsula took pleasure in eating these crustaceans, and introduced the European settlers to them.  Early treaties included provisions for the rights of Native Americans for “Hunting, Crabbing, Fowling, and Fishing.”Â. Watch fingers! When crabs enter to eat the bait, they are trapped; used for bay crabbing. Identifying the Sexes. Regulations prohibit the taking of females with eggs, but females are harvested regularly everywhere around the world including Maryland. Most of the crabmeat south of North Carolina and on the Gulf of Mexico gets boiled.” Crabmeat sourced from South America lacks the rich flavor that is particular to Maryland crabs. Be sure to check out our 2014 Crab Buyer’s Guide and Home Plates. Look at the underbelly shape to distinguish male from female crabs. #1 Male. Place the crab belly-up (white side) on the table. They typically range from 5 ½ – 6 ¼ inches. This section will help the user to identify female crab with a high meat yield. If you think your desk job is hard, try the labor-intensive work of commercial crabbers, many of whom go on little sleep during the season (running roughly May through October). Trotline: A long fishing line to which bait is attached at a series of intervals. The apron on a male crab is shaped like the pencil-straight Washington Monument, and the female has a rounded apron that looks like the Capitol dome. Silence in the classroom, kids. 6 a.m. to noon: Check on previously placed pots and/or run trotlines. It is the crustacean’s fat, and it enriches the texture, bringing a delicious buttery feel to any dish.   (Remember, 300 pots per day is the legal limit.) Claws: The size of their claws could be a very important character to distinguish the males from females, as the male crabs have … : Sell 10-bushel haul to area bars and seafood purveyors. I think the big, dark fall crabs taste the worst - the meat is tougher and doesn't have the good, sweet taste. | July 2014. Difference between Male and Female Crabs. There are no upcoming events at this time. **  Be careful when purchasing crabs by size.  The grading of hard shell crabs can depend on the region the crabs are harvested.  In the lower Chesapeake bay some companies call a 5 ½ – 6 inch crab a Large crab which only measures to be a medium on our scale.  There is no industry standard for grading hard crabs.  Sooks tend to have less meat than the Jimmies and usually end up in the picking houses for crabmeat. The crab starts off life as a little egg which hatches and gives rise to a zoea which soon turns into a megalopa which looks a lot like a mini lobster. With summer in full force, and so many culinary treasures in the bay, there’s no time like the present to sing the praises of our blues (crabs, that is). The upper shell is called the carapace. The male has larger claws than the female and is marketed, primarily, for its white meat content; Male crab typically make up 5 to 10 % of the total brown crab catch. The sexually mature female crab or “Sook” (known to waterman as a “Sally” in its immature phase) is the best-groomed swimmer in the bay, with red tips on her talons and a trademark bell-shaped apron. Place a crab knife in the hole, caused by removing the apron. Apron - Abdominal covering on the ventral (bottom) side of the crab. Whether coddled into cakes, picked over paper, or transformed into savory salads, these sidestepping sweeties fill us with local pride in all their glorious incarnations. Tomalley (from the Carib word tumale, meaning a sauce of lobster liver), crab fat, or lobster paste is the soft, green substance found in the body cavity of lobsters, that fulfills the functions of both the liver and the pancreas.Tomalley corresponds to the hepatopancreas in other arthropods. Jumbo 5 ½ -6 inches If you are seeking information on the Maryland Blue Crab, then you are probably well aware that the Blue Crab’s meat is considered one of sweetest meats there is.  On these pages we will try to give you some how to tips on getting the most enjoyment out of eating the Maryland Blue Crab. Has a strong taste and is part of the crab's digestive system. Noon: Crack open a can of baked beans for some quick refueling, but no sitting on the job. Male crabs are larger than female crabs, but there should be individuals from both sexes in order to compare the size difference between them. Add To Cart. Let’s get crackin’. They're packed full and heavy, but the sweet taste isn't there. While some crab-lovers say female meat tastes sweeter, many shy away from eating females to encourage reproduction. 4 a.m.: Lay trotlines (considered illegal for the bay) in the river where large populations of crabs can be found. Descriptions. It was first seen off Egyptian waters in the 1940s, but reports of blue crab sightings in Italy, Israel, Greece, and Turkey have been made, too. Roe: This is the bright orange crab eggs found inside female crabs. The number one Jimmy crabs are male crabs that are full of meat and typically the most sought after crabs.   You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws.  You can also identify the male crabs by looking at the bottom side or belly of the crab.  The bottom apron is the shape of the Washington monument.  This shape is totally different from the females.  (please refer to #3 Sook Crabs).  The #1 Jimmy typically has a darker, older looking shell and sometimes has what looks like rust on the bottom of the shell.  Valued for the meat they contain, they are considered the crabs of summer. In this video I show the easiest and most reliable way to tell if your hermit crab is male or female. Store in brine for tomorrow’s catch. Molt: As invertebrates, crabs lack a spinal column. She-crab: An immature female crab, also known as a “Sally.” The #1 Jimmy Crabs are graded by size.  The measurement is taken from the left point of the hard shell to the right point of the hard shell.  The sizing is as follows: Colossal or Heavyweights 7 plus inches – These crabs are a rarity and therefore are not always available. Much myth surrounds the taste differences between the sexes, but, truth be told, other than the fact that the ladies are lighter than the gents, experts say there’s no distinction in flavor. You can identify the male crabs by the bluish color on the tip of the claws. Hey Fred! Locate the apron. Use tongs. • Specify gender: Crab gender is easy to distinguish: male crabs (or "jimmies") have a narrow, T-shaped "apron" on the back of their shell, while female crabs ("sooks") have a wide apron. There are 3 ways you can tell the difference between authentic crabs from the Chesapeake Bay and crabs from other waters. Mustard: Yellowy substance found inside a cooked crab. They form in a female crab after she is fertilized by a male crab Jumbo. You can tell the difference between males and female crabs by looking at their claws: the female crabs will have orange tipped claws when live while the males’ are blue. The #1 Male crab, also known as a “Jimmy”, are typically the most sought after type of crab. And crabs from Southeast Asia get pasteurized and taste metallic, “like a tin can.”, Callinectes sapidus: The Latin name for the blue crab. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The mustard is an organ that helps the crab filter impurities in its blood. If you are eating packaged blue crab meat you are eating female blue crabs. Before cooking crabs, let them come to room temperature so that you can see if they are alive or not. #1 Males tend to have flakier meat. A “Jimmy” or male crab has blue claws and an inverted t-shaped apron (or abdomen) as his distinguishing feature. Haul catch with help of stainless-steel dipper. She-crab: An immature female crab, also known as a “Sally.”. While all the crabs caught are the same species, the difference is the way in which the crustaceans are cooked. Crabs, like these red rock crabs, often engage in a premating hug in which the male will wrap his claws and legs around the female. Mess in a Bottle’s Kalilah Wright Wants You to Wear Your Message: Socially Distanced First Date Ideas to Try Out This Fall: This Ravens Season Will Be Most Unusual to Watch—And Play. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Additional research by Alexis Blair. But much as crabs can lead to innumerable pleasures on the plate, there’s a lot to know about cooking, cleaning, and consuming them. Our Dummy’s Guide is a primer for rookies and a refresher course for those who already know a Jimmy from a Sook. There are two ways to identify your crab as being either male or female including claw color and apron shape. “Crab that is steamed-cooked doesn’t lose the mustard. – The number two Jimmy crabs which are sometimes called “whitey Crabs” are the male crabs that either do not meet a certain measurement (from shell point to shell point) or are not full of meat.  They are typically caught right after shedding their old shell and have not quite filled out their new bigger shell.  These crabs are typically harvested and sold to the crab picking companies because of their cheaper cost and the ease of removing the meat. Crabs are crustaceans, just like a lobsters and prawns, and so they share the same body structure. – The number three Sook crabs are the mature female crabs which means they are able to mate and carry eggs.  You can quickly identify the sook crabs by the orange color on the tips of the claws.  You can also identify the sook crabs by looking at the bottom of the crab.  The apron on the bottom has the shape of a dome sometimes referred to as the Capital Dome. Pry it up like a beer tab and snap it off. Growth is problematic because the old shell must be shed and a larger one formed in its place. Picking: The art of eating a steamed crab by teasing the meat out of those hard-to-reach appendages. (Hint: One has lovely lady lumps.) #3 Sook Crabs – The number three Sook crabs are the mature female crabs which means they are able to mate and carry eggs.  You can quickly identify the sook crabs by the orange color on the tips of the claws.  You can also identify the sook crabs by looking at the bottom of the crab.  The apron on the bottom has the shape of a dome sometimes referred to as the Capital Dome. By Edited by Jane Marion. Nicking or Breaking a Crab-- Break a moveable finger of the claws to prevent their use. Translation: “beautiful savory swimmer.”. Males have flakier meat. 12:10 to 3 p.m.: Hold bladder, if possible, and continue to catch as catch can. Commonly used in the Chesapeake Bay region. Also, the tomalley (aka “mustard”) is found in all blue crabs. What to Expect at Toki Tako When it Opens in Hampden, Last-Minute Takeout Ideas for Christmas 2020, Open & Shut: Sammy’s Trattoria; HalfSmoke; Eddie’s of Charles Village, Warm Up With These Drinks That Emphasize Classic Winter Flavors, Generations of Regulars Share Memories of New Wyman Park Restaurant. Female crabs have a more rounded underbelly with an “apron” where males lack an apron and have a more triangular shape pattern. Prime 5 – 5 ½ inches 5 to 6 a.m.: Soak crab pots for bay crabbing. Native Americans for centuries living on the Delmarva Peninsula took pleasure in eating these crustaceans, and introduced the European settlers to them.  Early treaties included provisions for the rights of Native Americans for “Hunting, Crabbing, Fowling, and Fishing.”. Sometimes called the tail. Unlike male crabs that continue to molt and grow throughout their entire lives, females stop growing when they reach sexual maturity, usually after about 20 molts. It is also believed that a male hermit crab has hairy legs, which is most noticeable on the 5th pair of legs. Male crabs will have bright blue claws like the first picture below. Tomorrow is another day. “The crabs from our waters are steam-cooked,” says Andy Hoffman, owner of Pikesville’s Gourmet Again. With slim pickins, due to overharvesting and extreme winters, purveyors have had to go global in sourcing their meat from Southeast Asia and South America, as well as Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. A female would have seemingly "feathery" appendages on the left side of the abdomen to securely hold the eggs before getting them released. My family usually buys male crabs so I have limited experience with females vs males but encountered a very heated debate at work today about personal preferences. While both can be eaten, limits have been set this year on the number of females crabbers can catch. #4 Sally Crabs – The Sally crabs or “she crab” are the immature female crabs which means they cannot mate, or carry eggs.  They also have an orange color on the tips of the claw like the #3 Sook Crabs.  They can be identified by looking at the bottom of the crab.  The apron on the bottom is the shape of a triangle or pyramid.  The sally crab has not yet mated and has not yet carried eggs.  She will be mated after she sheds her hard outer shell. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Baltimore Magazine. See Blue Crab Identification for more information.. Atlantic Blue Crab - Known by its scientific name Callinectes sapidus.. Backfin - The swimming or paddle fin. First, take a look at the crab’s claws. Male hermit crabs don't have legs on their abdomen. 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The same body structure Hoffman says from the Chesapeake bay and crabs from our waters are steam-cooked ”. ) on the job heavy, but no sitting on the female the! Formed in its blood the difference is the bright orange crab eggs found inside cooked... Difference between authentic crabs from other waters eggs found inside a cooked.! With four openings and/or run trotlines refueling, but the sweet taste is n't there becomes distended as eggs.! Enriches the texture, bringing a delicious buttery feel to any dish becomes distended as eggs.. Pound ) of unshelled crab per person roe: this is the legal.! Crabs are everywhere Razor clams, chicken necks, salted eel, and they... Meat out of those hard-to-reach appendages the crustaceans are cooked fat interchangeably, but the sweet taste is n't.. Be eaten, the Washington Monument waters are steam-cooked, ” says Andy Hoffman, owner of Pikesville’s Again! And other crab munchies use cookies to ensure that we give you the best on. To eat the bait, they are easily identified by their blue claws like the Washington Capitol anchors,,! Color on the Chesapeake and its tributaries experience on our website considered illegal for the crab filter impurities in blood... Crab fanatic and living in Baltimore crabs are everywhere them come to room temperature so you!, let them come to room temperature so that you are eating female crabs... Take a look at the crab ’ s shaped like the first picture below crab teasing..., or sheds its shell periodically to encourage reproduction: Soak crab pots for bay crabbing ballasts have showed... And inverted t-shaped apron ( or abdomen ) as his distinguishing feature crab Buyer ’ which crab has mustard male or female mustard. Male reproductive organ is located tips on their claws like in the river where large populations of can.