Although King Crab and snow crab may be the first crustacean to come to mind when you are planning your next meal, perhaps you want to broaden your palate. Dungeness crab is a type of crab that is the most common in the western Pacific. Harvested in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the crab’s primary season is the winter months. If you are looking to explore and buy Dungeness crab for the first time, there are a few things that you should know about the crab and how to buy it beforehand.

Dungeness Crab Prices

Company Price/lb Minimum Order Shipping Order
Global Seafoods $18.70 10 lbs $16.20
Lummi Island Wild $28.38 6 lbs FREE
Seabear Smokehouse $32.50 2 lbs $19.99
Cameron’s Seafood $35.33 3 lbs $39.99
Tanner’s Alaskan Seafood $44.95 1 lb Free@8lbs

When Is Frozen Dungeness Crab in Season?

The season to catch Dungeness crab starts in mid-November and lasts until early December. However, while these are the peak months, the season is technically longer. Crabbing for this breed occurs until July, though any crabbing in California focuses on the first couple of months. Since Dungeness crab is noted as sustainable seafood, it means that the crab is more readily available for purchase. Despite its relatively brief season, Dungeness crab makes up nearly a quarter of the fishing industry out west.

The Dungeness crab price per pound spiked in the past year. In 2019, Alaska’s statewide average ex-vessel price for the crab was $2.88 per pound. The coronavirus pandemic caused an average price uptick for the 2020 crabbing season. Although Oregon crabbers received an average $3.64 per pound for the entire season, some of the crabbers who got into the live market managed to receive $6.28 per pound in May, an increase of $3.40 from 2019.

The spike was in large part a result of the national shutdown. As restaurants and markets closed during the spring, business dried up in the crabbing industry. Live seafood became extremely popular. However, as many crabbers shifted from selling fresh products to selling frozen ones, it suddenly became even more practical to buy frozen Dungeness crab for sale.

Should I Buy Frozen or Fresh Dungeness Crab?

Prices for freshly picked Dungeness crab meat during regular seasonal circumstances is expensive, ranging between $30 to $50 per pound. Although flavor and freshness take a significant hit, canned meat is the more economical approach with this particular crab.

Even so, it is important to know what you should look for as far as taste and appearance when buying frozen Dungeness crab. The shoulder width of a male Dungeness crab is typically 6.5 inches and the crab weighs about 2 pounds. When it comes time to make your purchase, make sure to call ahead to a fish market to confirm they carry Dungeness crab. Live crab is the ideal choice, and you should make sure to pick a lively one.

However, if you choose to buy pre-cooked Dungeness crab, make sure that the crab is heavy and its legs are curled beneath it. The worst thing you can do is buy frozen Dungeness crab with hanging legs because it means that the crab was not cooked alive.

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