Connoisseurs all over the world know the magnetizing aroma of the sweet, succulent Florida stone crab and its famous, meat-rich claws the world over. Legally harvested from October 15 to May, catches can range anywhere from two to three and a half million crabs annually.
Florida Stone Crabs: Not Really Floridian
Despite its official scientific name, Menippe mercenaria, the Florida stone crab does not really come exclusively from Florida. Its preferred habitat includes Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas and the mid-Atlantic east coast from Baltimore on down to Belize.
How They Are Usually Packaged and Sold
Today, online specialty fish monger sites afford their customers the luxury of obtaining the finest seafood anywhere – caught fresh. As it does not come pre-cracked, so the freshness is preserved longer, it is recommended not cracking stone crab claws until you are ready to eat.
If left un-cracked, they typically last from 48 to 72 hours. For best flavored taste, it’s best eaten as soon as possible after arrival and keeping it in a cool chest or on ice until eating time.
How To Crack a Stone Crab Claw
Although there are many methods to do this, unfortunately, they are all messy. Below is one way that we have mastered for cracking the claws. Some people even prefer cracking the claws with a nutcracker, but we do it as follows:
- With a towel to protect your hand, hold the claw in the palm of your hand.
- Strike the back or rounded side of the two ‘knuckles’ with quick, snapping motions as you would when peeling a hard-boiled egg.
- Now peel the claw’s shell off as you remove the meat gently.
You’ll get the hang of this after cracking a few claws; however, results do vary.
How Best to Enjoy Them
Usually served with a delicious mustard dipping sauce, or fresh, salted, garlic butter, Florida stone crabs are especially delectable with seafood cocktail sauce, hot sauce and squeezed lime or lemon juice.
Being recognized with the coveted Monterey Bay Aquarium award, the Florida stone crab industry gets the highest rating available for stone crab, for its crab harvesting techniques. Named “Best Choice” for repeated high fishing standards, this industry makes keeping the Florida stone crab a viable source of fishery.