Crab Seafood Ratings

Counting all the different varieties, crab is also one of the most popular types of wild seafood available today. Not quite as expensive as lobster, the different types and ways to experience crab make it a favorite among those who can’t get enough seafood. With a nutritional profile that allows for regular consumption, it’s worth doing the research to find a preferred crab selection.

Seafood Type Price* Taste/ Texture Nutrition Seasonal Availability Geographic Availability Sustainability Shelf Stable
Crab

* A higher rating means a lower average price for this type of seafood.

Price: Crab prices per pound are a touch more expensive on average than halibut but a little cheaper than lobster and other top-shelf seafood types. There is a wide range but most products fall between $20-$45 per pound.

Taste and Texture: In many ways, crab could be described as a poor man’s lobster. It’s not quite as firm or sweet as cold-water lobster, but premium crab varieties come close and have a distinct flavor that is coveted by many seafood lovers.

Nutrition: All types of crab are a generally healthy source of lean protein. One of the most popular crab types, Alaska King Crab is especially nutritious. It has a low mercury content between that of salmon and lobster. It also has lots of protein that rival or surpass many subspecies of salmon, especially when accounting for caloric density. Crab meat doesn’t have as much fatty acid content, however. A 6 oz serving of King Crab has 143 calories, 31 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 0.06 ppm of mercury.

Seasonal Availability: It really depends on the location and type of crab. Harvesting season for Alaskan crab occurs late in the year, usually sometime between October and January, and generally lasts for only a handful of weeks to protect the local populations. Harvesting California Dungeness crab typically runs from November to June. Maryland blue crab goes from April to November. If you’re a fan of crab, you’ll want to know the fresh harvesting season for your local crab varieties as well as those shipped from fishing waters around the country.

Geographic Availability: Crab is one of the most varied types of seafood with an incredibly wide range around the world. However, there are just as many local subspecies as crab populations have adapted to the conditions of their local habitat. Thus, if you’re a fan of crab seafood in general, geographic availability should not be a major obstacle. However, if you have a particular love of Alaska King crab, you’ll have a shorter window of time, a higher price, and fewer seafood companies to choose from.

Sustainability: True to some degree for all types of seafood, the sustainability of crab really depends on the type of crab and where it was harvested. One of the reasons Maryland blue crab is so popular is because it can be harvested from Chesapeake Bay with no bycatch and minimal impact to the local ecosystem. In many places, crab harvesting takes a bigger toll on local marine life. Of particular concern is bycatch of the endangered diamondback terrapin.

Shelf Stable: Like other shellfish, crab that’s shipped live should be cooked within a day of arrival. While many types of crab can live for 3-4 days in a proper storage tank, they should be cooked as soon as possible upon delivery. Cooked, crab meat will last for another 3-4 days in the refrigerator—or up to a month in vacuum-sealed packaging. Frozen, this same meat will keep for 6 months or longer.

 

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