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    How to Clean Crabs and Clams

    Are you looking for a step-by-step guide on how to clean crabs and clams? You've come to the right place. Cleaning seafood is an important step to ensure food safety and maximize your enjoyment. 

    Before you take any steps to prepare seafood for consumption, confirm it is fresh. If you purchased live seafood, check each crab or clam and remove any dead ones from the package. You know a crab dies if its body is limp and its fins are unresponsive (note: the average mortality rate when ordering live Maryland crabs is 20%). When you receive your order of live clams, only use tightly closed clams  – open clams or clams with damaged shells indicate they are dead. You should also remove any fishy-smelling seafood – fresh crabs should smell mildly sweet; fresh clams should be clean and briny, like the ocean.  

    Cleaning and cooking seafood according to food safety guidelines will retain maximum freshness. Enjoy crabs or clams anytime when you order Crab Dynasty’s high-quality seafood. 

    How to Clean Blue Crabs

    You should know how to clean blue crabs before you cook them and after. If you want to add crabs into soups, stews, or other dishes, clean blue crabs before cooking so the seasoning soaks into the body of the meat as they cook. 

    How to clean a blue crab before cooking:

    1. Put crabs on ice for at least half an hour so you can easily, humanely clean them.

    2. Slide an oyster knife or another thin, flat tool under the shell at the soft spot just in front of the rear leg. 

    3. Lift the knife, popping the crab shell free and exposing the gills.

    4. Spray out the crab with a hose, leaving it clean and free of the digestive tract and gill material.

    If you’re cooking blue crabs whole for a seafood boil, you can clean them after you cook them. 

    How to clean blue crab after cooking:

    1. Remove crabs from the pot and let sit until cool enough to handle (rinsing under cold water speeds up this process).

    2. Find the apron (a flap on the underside of the crab that will be long and thin on male crabs and wide on female crabs) and remove it by grabbing the point toward the front of the crab and pulling it off.

    3. After you remove the apron, locate the carapace – a small hole between the body and the top shell. Hold the body with one hand and grab the carapace to pull off the crab shell.

    4. Remove the gills by pulling them off and discarding them.

    5. Remove the mandibles at the front of the crab by snapping the two pointy parts to break them away from the crab and discard them. 

    6. Rinse the crab clean under running water, removing the guts.

    Cleaning Soft Shell Crabs

    Cleaning soft shell crabs is a little easier than hard shell crabs because we harvest soft shell crabs when they shed their protective shells. Rinse them under cold water before you prepare them to remove dirt or debris clinging to the crabs. After that, follow these steps to prepare and clean soft shell crabs.

    How to clean soft shell crabs:

    1. Use shears or a sharp knife to cut across the front of the crab behind the eyes and mouth to remove them.

    2. Lift one of the corners of the top shell to expose the gills. Grab them and remove them from the base. Repeat this step on both sides.

    3. Turn the crab over to expose its underside. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body. Now you’re ready to cook!

    How to Clean Little Neck Clams

    Learn the method of how to clean little neck clams. The same process applies to middle neck clams and other similar types. Before cooking clams, you need to clean the shells of any dirt and sand because clams live most of their lives buried under sand or mud. After that, prepare them steamed, fried, or baked. 

    Follow this method to clean little neck clams:

    1. Fill a large bowl with a mix of cold water and sea salt (mix ⅓ cup salt with one gallon of water).

    2. Soak the clams in the salted water for 20 minutes to an hour to purge sand from their shells.

    3. Remove the clams from the water (scoop instead of pouring – pouring clams through a strainer will cover them in sand). 

    4. Scrub the clams using a stiff-bristle brush, cleaning any dirt or barnacles from the shells. 

    5. Rinse the clams in cool water after scrubbing. 

    As a reminder, the first step to enjoying seafood at home is buying the highest quality. Crab Dynasty delivers the highest-grade seafood right to your front door. Select one day delivery for live crabs and clams to ensure they arrive fresh and ready to prepare in whichever way you choose!