Soft-shell crabs are the lesser known relative of the popular hard-shell variety. You’ve probably heard of them or seen them advertised throughout the summer at various events, but have you ordered one for yourself? Soft-shell crabs are peculiar, and people have a lot of questions about them, especially if they can (or should) be eaten whole. Read on for the answers to some of the questions you may have had regarding soft-shell crabs.
What’s the Difference?
Don’t give this question too much thought — soft-shell and hard-shell crabs are essential the same species of crustacean. The main difference is that soft-shell crabs shed their shells, which is a process that is known as molting. You can see the visually because crabs that are molting usually have a paler color with a more wrinkled appearance. After the molting stage, the crabs will then harden to become a hard-shell crab.
The season for soft-shell crabs typically lasts between March to late September. This is the typical season, although it depends greatly on the weather. In general, to make sure that you get to enjoy the crabs, you should make sure that you get them before Labor Day. The season starts in Florida and then over the months, gradually travels up to the Atlantic Coast, including Maryland, and moving back to Florida again.
Eating Soft-shell Crabs
Some people get confused when they see what looks to be a whole crab sandwiched between two pieces of bread, ready to be devoured. That’s because soft-shell crabs can be eaten whole; the entire crab is edible at that point. Some cooking methods for soft-shell crabs include sautéed, fried, or grilled.
YOUR SEAFOOD DESTINATION THIS SUMMER
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!