The weather outside is reaching the perfect temperature for the first crabs of the season. If you are excited about digging into soft-shell crabs this year but unsure of the actual differences between soft-shell and hard-shell crabs, keep reading!
Soft-Shell Crabs 101
Soft-shell crabs are, unsurprisingly, soft-bodied blue crabs. Blue crabs are famous in Maryland for their delicious local flavor and abundance in the area. Blue crabs are found throughout the Atlantic region and have a lifespan of about three years. Throughout their lives, blue crabs go through molts and receive a soft shell for a few hours during that period. Crabs molt between 18-23 times throughout their lifespan, and molting almost always occurs during the period from May to September. Soft-shell crabs are sold fresh or live and are incredibly popular once they start hitting shelves (or plates). Since they are so delicious and popular, the entire box-to-plate process might only take minutes.
Soft-Shell Crabs vs. Hard-Shell Crabs
Hard-shell crabs are still absolutely delicious, but they aren’t typically as eager to give up the mean inside of them. Hard-shell crabs are usually cooked in stock or crab boil mix and then picked apart to get the meat inside. A mallet, picker, knife, and a good bit of Maryland technique are required for this part! Keeping the hard shell out of the meat is a constant struggle but hard-shell crabs still provide almost all of the commercial crab meat available.
Soft-shell crabs are much easier to prepare and eat. You can eat the entire crab, including the soft shell, and only need to remove a couple extra pieces that can be chopped off a seconds. Soft-shell crabs are ideal for those who don’t feel like lingering around a picnic table for hours breaking crabs apart or those who love the flavor of crabs but want less mess.
Delectable Soft-Shell Crabs from Costas Inn
Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.
You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for anytime eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube!