Unless you are located on or near the coast, it can be difficult and expensive to buy fresh seafood. Depending on how far away from the crab supplier you are, this will influence how the crabs you buy will be shipped. It will also affect the shipping costs, which can be quite high the further from the company you are located.
Shipping Fresh Seafood
Many of the seafood companies that offer fresh crabs, lobster or shrimp will buy their stock directly from fishing boats on a daily basis. They will select the seafood they want and then prepare it for shipping to customers all over the country. Since crabs and other seafood are best when cooked and eaten right after being caught, within an hour after it is caught it has to either be steamed or frozen if it is going to be shipped a long distance.
Fresh crabs can be shipped, but they have to be flown so they get there as soon as possible. The quality of the meat can be affected if the fresh crabs take too long to get to their destination. It is better to allow the crab supplier to steam or freeze the seafood before they ship out an order to you. With crab, they will be less meaty if the crabs are not cooked quickly after they are caught and sold.
The best time to buy crabs is when they are in season. Blue crabs, which have a soft shell, are in season between April and September. If you buy from a crab supplier located on the east coast, they should have plenty of blue crabs available during those months. Snow and king crabs, which are caught in Alaska, will come from your supplier frozen because they have to travel some distance to get there.
Selecting Your Crabs
Since you will not be personally selecting the crabs you buy when you get them from a seafood supplier, try to make special requests to get the best crabs you can. Most of the crabs sold in markets or by suppliers are male, but try to request female crabs as they are meatier and they may contain crab roe, which is a delicacy for many people.
If you live in an inland state, it can be difficult to get real crabs in the grocery store. Most crab meat you will find is prepackaged and imitation crab, which is made from a fish called white Pollock. While this may be adequate for salads or sandwiches, there is nothing that tastes like real crab meat. While it will be expensive to buy fresh crabs from a supplier and have them shipped to you, the taste is worth the cost.
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