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Can I Freeze Fresh Crab in the Shell?

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  • Barb S Jan 29, 2004 12:32 PM
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It's crab season in California, so I bought a 2 lb. one yesterday, but my husband insisted on pizza, and we're going out tonight. So the question is (being lazy)can I freeze it in the shell? Can I save it to eat on Friday (will have been in the refrigerator 2 days)? Or do I need to hanker down and take it out of the shell before I freeze it? And will freezing it change the texture or taste?

Need some crabhound help.

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  1. You can freeze crab in the shell, but you should boil them first. A one day wait? I suggest you put them in the fridge, not freezer. They'd slow down but won't die.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mo'dern

      Sorry, I should have been clearer in my first message. The crab has been boiled and cleaned....it's not alive and kicking. Putting a live guy in the freezer is too gruesome to imagine.

      1. re: Barb S

        Actually ( a little off topic) putting a live crab in the freezer for 20 minutes before cooking slows down their system and puts them to sleep. So when they're put in the pot, there's no thrashing. Highly recommended for the squeamish who don't want their dinner to grab onto the sides of the cooking pot as they're being lowered into it!

    2. n
      Natasa Sevoleva

      Two days *shouldn't* be a problem in the fridge. Freezing works well for me, but I 'shell' them first. That is, I remove the outer shell and the 'guts' and freeze the 'edible' portion (although if fresh the whole is edible except the gills and 'shells'.) Freezing them whole, guts and all, whould make a rather smelly kitchen, and a bitter tasting meal I would suspect. Better to 'clean' them first by shelling them and 'gutting' them prior to freezing.

      1. Back to the semantics...most people say fresh crab to mean cooked crab that hasn't been frozen. Live crab is the kicking kind. Any freezing of crab will make the flesh mushy, whether in the shell or loose and vacuum wrapped. If the crab has not been hanging around the retailers too long, it should keep in the fridge 2-3 days in the shell. You might ask the dealer how long ago the crabs were cooked, but you know what the answer will be. I would guess most market crabs are about 2-3 days old when sold.