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Canned crabmeat

I was reading on the chains board about canned crabmeat. I always see it on food network, but why would people buy crabmeat from a can? How much crab do you really get for such a high price?

Last week, I went to the supermarket (asian) and live dungeness crabs were on sale for 2.99/lb. Of course, normally they are more expensive, but still under $9/lb. Couldn't this be steamed, cracked, and frozen and be 100x better than canned crabmeat?

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  1. If you live away from the coast (and not in a major city) - crabmeat, as with most other coastal seafood (particularly shellfish, which needs to be kept alive or frozen 'cause they go bad fast), are much more expensive and perhaps even unavailable in non-canned form.

    And canned crabmeat can be more convenient - something that keeps in the pantry and to have on-hand for recipes that only call for a little bit of crab.

    1. The canned crab meat I usually see is blue crab. The work it takes to get a pound of nice lump crabmeat from blue crabs is tedious. Plus, I haven't figured a way to not eat the crabmeat that I'm picking. It's convenient and the meat is usually pretty good quality. Obviously, it's not as sweet as if you do it yourself but at least my dinner guests will get something to eat.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Porthos

        ...and the canned crabmeat I saw at T,J's for example was refridgerated....

        1. re: Porthos

          Exactly, Picking Crabmeat can be bloody work. Canned works in a pinch when the craving strikes...

          --Dommy!

        2. Blue crab and Dungeness crabs are different in flavor. For Maryland-style crab cakes, you only use blue crab, which you can't get on the West Coast. When I make crab cakes (which isn't often because it's a pain in the butt) I used the refrigerated canned stuff.

          2 Replies
          1. re: writergirl

            You can buy blue crab on the West Coast. We have bought live blue crabs in Chinatown in Oakland, CA.

            If you use Dungeness crab for crab cakes it isn't a pain. Lots of crab from big sweet perfect crab.

            1. re: writergirl

              One can get fresh blue crabmeat flown in from the East Coast. I think they are sweeter and more delicate than our West Coast Dungeness crab. I like the Dungeness for eating out of the shell but for crabcakes, definitely the East Coast blue crab.

            2. There are some excellent refrigerated fresh crabmeat packed in large cans. Many seafood market sell them loose and expensive. They don't have a long shelf life even refrigerated in an unopened can. I would definitely stay away from the supermarket aisle canned crabmeat. And I've heard that Trader Joe's refrigerated canned is not much better.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PBSF

                Most fresh blue crabmeat packed into cans has been pasteurized...in other words, cooked twice (one before picking/peeling, then after it's in the can). Fresh, non-pasteurized crabmeat sold in plastic containers is FAR superior to the canned product, but I know it's not easy to find away from the coasts & major metro seafood markets.

              2. I buy Phillips or something that looks similar when I see it at Costco or Sam's Club. Although canned, it must still stay refrigerated and has a shelf-life (or refrigerator-shelf-life) of about 6 months or so, if I recall correctly. This type of canned crab is NOT inexpensive, but I find that it gives outstanding results in crab cakes, which is what I generally use crab for. I also agree completely that you should stay away from grocery store canned crab.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kstroble

                  i agree wholeheartedly about phillips. the crabcake recipe on the can is a real winner. it is a bit pricey, but it's solid lump meat through and through.