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Fresh (?) crab at Costco

Three times now we've purchased what is supposed to be fresh Dungeness crab, at our Costcos here in South OC, only to have them be smelly, sticky and the body meat very gray in color after 24 hours in our fridge. The taste (after screwing up the courage) was of 'bad crab' (I guess is the only way to put it). The package says packed 6/6/09; we bought them late that day and tried to eat them this evenoing, on the 7th. No problem returning it to them but it's annoying and a shame that we can't enjoy the crab.

We've enjoyed their crab many times before but that was in previous years. This Spring and Summer we've had 3 bad experiences of 4. 1 of the 3 on the same day as purchase!

Anyone have any clues on this??? I'm at the point where I'm not likely to try again without some educated help.

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  1. How are you storing it in the fridge? Ideally you should have it on ice in a container that can drain water into another container, think colander with ice inside of a bigger container. Also what is the condition when you take it from the store is it already smelly and sticky?

    1. Hate to hear it happened at Costco, but I never buy Dungeness crab that's already been cooked. I only buy them live and cook them myself. The only other option is to do the smell test on them before you buy them.

      Also because it says it was packed 6/6/09 doesn't mean it wasn't "repackaged" on that date...I've seen that done in grocery stores when they're trying to move old product and add "manager's special" on the package and lower the price. .

      2 Replies
      1. re: monku

        >>but I never buy Dungeness crab that's already been cooked. I only buy them live and cook them myself.<<

        Great advice - "dead" crabmeat in the shell goes bad fast.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          I Googled "How fast do crabs spoil" and got a lot of hits. Here's one:
          http://www.clovegarden.com/ingred/sea...
          The spoil rate is real fast. I guess the only way to eat crab is to buy them alive like everyone said. I used to cook them when I was younger but I can't anymore. I feel horrible killing them myself. The only time I get crab is at a Chinatown restaurant fresh from their tanks, which isn't often.

      2. I'll give you that it would be best to eat the crab the same day it is purchased but our schedules sometimes make that impossible. Am I completely wrong in thinking that this product should last 24 hours in the fridge after purchase? In fact......... it has lasted that long on many occasions prior to this last run of incidents. As to the question of whether we're buying these already smelly and sticky............... give me credit for a SMALL but or intelligence on that one. Anyway, they're plastic wrapped in a case, so you can't feel them if you wanted to and the smell is not noticeable through the plastic.

        I wish we had a fresh crab source close enough for it to be viable but we don't. I'm thinking we should check into the days when our local Costcos have their 'open' seafood sales areas. I think I've noticed that they have loose crabs in those stalls so we could check them out before buying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Midlife

          I'm not sure if you have any big asian markets in south OC, but I go to Ranch 99 market in anaheim to buy live crabs, main lobster, chicken and beef bones for stock. most of the stuff grocery stores dont have on hand.

          1. re: Midlife

            Is there a Gelson's near you? I've gotten good cooked cracked crab from the Gelson's in Silverlake (near downtown LA), and I know they also carry it at Whole Food's. Of course, the price is going to be higher than Costco's, but at least you will be more assured it will be fresh.

            1. re: Midlife

              I don't know if you're completely wrong or not, but if I can't buy crab on the day I plan to eat it, I plan on hamburgers instead.

            2. I tried their King Crab legs, they were bland and incredibly disappointing. Never again.

              1. There are good Asian markets in Irvine in the Jeffrey & Culver areas. But, really, it's not that much farther to hit the 405 and go to Little Saigon. In fact, there is a Huge market right off the Beach exit at McFadden.

                Dungeness have been really expensive this year and I heard they are not having good harvests.

                In the past, I have purchased the pre-cooked in grocery stores only to have the same experience as you. But I can tell you that if you cook them live, break them down and clean them, you can keep the cooked legs in zip locks and they will stay good for at least 48 hours.