In my opinion, no other crab in the world can match up to the rich sweet flavor and firm texture of these treasures from the Florida Keys. Lucky for Florida Stone Crab fans, the new season began earlier this October and we are receiving some of the first shipments of the season next week, ready for your dinner plates.
One really unique thing about the Florida Stone Crab fishery is that it is one of, if not the only, fishery in the world where the animal is not only returned to the water unharmed but is actually in a healthier state because of the fisherman. The Stone Crab easily loses its claws to escape from predators or tight places, but the limbs soon regenerate getting larger each time they grow back. When harvested by fisherman, only one claw may be pulled off of a male or non-egg bearing females and then the crab is returned to the water. Scientist have found that Stone Crabs with missing claws begin to consume mostly vegetable matter as a result of not being able to catch live prey which causes them to produce over four times more eggs per year than crabs with carnivorous diets. After harvest the claws are steamed within hours of being taken ashore (if not cooked the meat will bind to the shell), graded, and then sent for distribution for hungry Stone Crab lovers everywhere.
Stone Crab is served many different ways but the two most common ways are cold with mustard sauce or warm with drawn butter and lime juice. To access the delicate meat, one must crack the exterior shell. Typically this is done by holding the claw in your palm or on a flat surface and then gently striking the large areas of the shell with a small mallet or the back of a spoon to crack the shell. The pieces of shell are then removed as well as the smaller pincer claw. Remove the meat carefully and you are ready to go.
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