Anna Blume

Softshell Crabs

92 posts in this topic

The Washington Post today reported that Whole Foods has halted sales of live soft shell crabs, opting instead to sell frozen pre-dressed soft shells, "in keeping with its commitment to the ethical treatment of animals."

You can get them at the farmer's market, Dupont Circle, on Sunday, May 21.

However, I am fairly certain the crabs are dead if not frozen.

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You can get them at the farmer's market, Dupont Circle, on Sunday, May 21.

However, I am fairly certain the crabs are dead if not frozen.

so much for bonding with them before they are eaten.

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You can get them at the farmer's market, Dupont Circle, on Sunday, May 21.

However, I am fairly certain the crabs are dead if not frozen.

The Market on the Boulevard (Glen Echo Seafood-301-229-2526) sells them. They don't have any in today, but will gladly get them for you. They carry only live ones.

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You can get them at the farmer's market, Dupont Circle, on Sunday, May 21.

However, I am fairly certain the crabs are dead if not frozen.

The ones at the DuPont market are LIVE (though they may have some frozen, but don't buy those). I believe that they will clean them for you, but you better head home to cook quickly as they don't last too long once killed.

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The ones at the DuPont market are LIVE (though they may have some frozen, but don't buy those). I believe that they will clean them for you, but you better head home to cook quickly as they don't last too long once killed.

When in season they are live, but he also stocks frozen ones and sometimes has them both at the same time. I was duped one day when he had larges and smalls for sale, and I could see the larges were clearly live. I bought a small for a sandwich and when I got home it was frozen. I don't like to believe that he pulled a fast one on me, but it never hurts to make your preferences clear.

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From the Black's Bar and Kitchen thread:

My wife was disappointed by the size of the soft shell crab (one, from the appetizers), but I contend that it's pretty much out of season so I wonder why it is still on the regular menu. Better in June, I am sure. At $14, we do better at home, though it was delicious, she said.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband called Wegmans to ask if they had softshell crabs, and was told the season was over. I thought the season lasted until September, with supplies waxing and waning through the summer.

In checking my facts, I found this on Virginia Seafood:

The soft-shell is the blue crab in its molted state.The molting process means an abundant supply of soft crabs from late spring to early fall, with May through September ranking as the most productive months.

So what's the real story? The live softshells that Wegmans had in June were wonderful and reasonably priced, but they don't seem to have any now.

Surely the season is longer than 1-2 months!

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The peak of the season is probably past, but softshells are generally available around these parts through the warm part of September. It is my understanding, however, that when it gets really, really hot, the crabs (softies esp) just kinda stop moving around, stop growing, stop molting, etc. They just want to dig into the mud and stay cool. Once the really hot streak passes, you should begin to see a few more in the market.

What I can't answer is what percentage of the softshells in our markets come from the Chesapeake, and what percentage come from NC, or even LA, etc.

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every month, the molting peaks at full moon, and the supply generally keeps up until the October's full moon. The size/heat part of the equation I'm not so sure about. :)

Dave Batista

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every month, the molting peaks at full moon, and the supply generally keeps up until the October's full moon. The size/heat part of the equation I'm not so sure about. :)

Dave Batista

Well, tomorrow is a full moon (yippee!) although it is kind of hot. We'll see what happens this week.

Thanks!

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From WTOP ---> clickity.

TANGIER SOUND, Md. - Softshell crabs, the delicacy that pleases gourmet palates and lines watermen's pockets, are in scarce supply this summer. "It's up there among the worst seasons. I'll put it that way," said Dwight Marshall, a Smith Island waterman who has crabbed for more than 40 years.

Crabs normally begin shedding their shells in May, starting the softshell crab season which provides the money that helps many watermen make it through the winter. The downturn in the catch this year is particularly tough because of rising fuel prices.

More than 90 percent of the state's soft crabs come from Tangier Sound and nearly every islander's living is tied to the season. Watermen from the island's three towns of Tylerton, Rhodes Point and Ewell head out every morning to check their traps or dredge the bottom, returning in the afternoon and putting their catch of molting crabs in a tank. The tanks are checked every few hours to see whether the crabs have shed their shells. Smith Island crabbers usually ship about 25 boxes a day to markets in Crisfield, each box holding up to 18 dozen soft-shells. Last month, the ferry to Crisfield carried about four boxes a trip.

While some say a cold spring may have delayed shedding until later in the summer, others are not so sure. Bill Goldsborough, senior scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the loss of eelgrass in Tangier Sound this spring deprived juvenile crabs of their shedding habitat. "If that die-off affected the population in such a way that would be observable, the time you would see it is in the peeler season, which would be now," Goldsborough told The (Baltimore) Sun. "My sense is that it's of a magnitude that it could have a lot of effect."

Marshall, 61, picks through grass in a crab pot that is noticeably absent of the glass shrimp, water fleas and other small creatures crabs feed on and offers another explanation. He blames pollution from sewage treatment plants and other runoff from recent heavy rains which is prompting algae blooms that rob oxygen from the water, killing the crab's prey. However, recent catches are up, with the ferry once again carrying about 15 boxes a day, raising hopes for a good end to the season. "You don't really know what kind of year it is until it all winds up and you see what's in the checkbook," Marshall said. "You have to trust in the Lord to supply your needs. I ain't never seen him fail yet."

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I've seen soft-shells on the menu at a couple places now (Tabard and Corduroy). Anybody seen them in stores or at farmer's market? I thought the season didn't really start until May, but I'm not complaining.

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I've seen soft-shells on the menu at a couple places now (Tabard and Corduroy). Anybody seen them in stores or at farmer's market? I thought the season didn't really start until May, but I'm not complaining.
Corduroy has soft-shell crabs???? Uh-oh. :blink:

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Corduroy has soft-shell crabs???? Uh-oh. :blink:

They were out of them by the time we got there, but they were on the menu. In hindsight, the fact that they were out meant that I went for the pork cheeks. Every cloud.

And the one I had at Tabard was good, stuffed with crabmeat and delicately fried. Not mindblowingly great, but pretty good. I wont be able to make the farmer's market tomorrow morning...if anybody goes, let me know if there are any softshell sightings.

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Soft shells at Citronelle: Tempura, stuffed with blue crab, corn risotto. Yummmm.

[Cue Barbara Streisand]

"Memories..."

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Where can you buy softshells for "restaurant-inspired meals made at home"? Someone suggested Cannon's in Georgetown; any place else?

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Where can you buy softshells for "restaurant-inspired meals made at home"? Someone suggested Cannon's in Georgetown; any place else?
Try Glen Echo Seafood in Cabin John- (301) 229-2526. It's located just past Seven Locks Road off of MacArthur Blvd., and would be a much easier drive than Georgetown.

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I got some at Slavin & Sons yesterday. Good sized, tasty, $4.99 each, cleaned to order.

Just in case anybody else has trouble locating an address... the web site is no help:

(703) 486-0400

2710 S Glebe Rd

Arlington, Virginia 22206

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Well, I think it's season for soft shell crabs. I would appreciate a heads up for any good sources for these. Thanks in advance.

Soup

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