Crawfish Seafood Ratings
Fresh crawfish from the ponds and bayous along the Gulf of Mexico offers some of the best value of any wild seafood. Often overshadowed as a shellfish by lobster and crab, the smaller crawfish offers the perfect snack-sized seafood, especially during the spring months in which the largest and freshest crawfish are harvested.
|Seafood Type||Price*||Taste/ Texture||Nutrition||Seasonal Availability||Geographic Availability||Sustainability||Shelf Stable|
* A higher rating means a lower average price for this type of seafood.
Price: Crawfish prices per pound are among the lowest you will find for fresh, wild seafood. At about $5-$12 per pound with shipping and handling, don’t overlook one of the most underrated seafood choices
Taste and Texture: Sometimes described as a combination of crab and shrimp for both flavor and texture, we tend to think of crawfish as the perfect seafood for people who love things that are sweet and salty. Seafood aficionados may prefer lobster and shrimp, but crawfish has a cult-like following especially during the spring harvesting season.
Nutrition: Crawfish have very low levels of mercury, rivaling even that of wild salmon. While a typical serving size doesn’t have as much protein or fatty acids as other seafood, it also doesn’t have as many calories, allowing you to gorge yourself full on a generous portion of any crawfish boil. Don’t be fooled by the fact that these shellfish live in muddy ponds along the Gulf Coast. They are very nutritious, and their meat is very clean-tasting. A 6 oz serving of crawfish has 120 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 0.03 ppm of mercury.
Seasonal Availability: Crawfish can start as early as the holiday season and last till the beginning of July, but the best quality and quantity of crawfish tend to occur between February and Mat. Seasonal availability also quite variable from year-to-year with warm, wet winters leading to longer crawfish seasons.
Geographic Availability: While some seafood has a clear-cut boundary of how far it can be shipped and maintain its top-shelf quality, crawfish has more of a gray area. In an entire sack of crawfish, a couple may not make the trip even for the shortest of deliveries. With overnight shipping and the right company, you can get crawfish shipped straight to your door anywhere in the continental U.S.
Sustainability: Few types of seafood have such a wide disparity between environmental sustainability and sustainable levels of wild populations. Simply put, crawfish is an outlier in the seafood industry in that farm-raised crawfish have a very low environmental impact. It does not require antibiotics, pesticides, or feeds. Many crawfish farms rotate with rice crops that serve as sustenance for the shellfish. That said, crawfish farms and other commercial activity have drastically reduced the natural habitat and wild crawfish populations to the point that some local species are now considered severely threatened.
Shelf Stable: Live crawfish can be kept alive and healthy in a proper storage tank for about three days. However, they should typically be cooked within a day upon arriving on your doorstep. Once cooked and peeled, crawfish meat can be placed in the refrigerator in an airtight bag within an hour or two of cooking, and it will stay good for about 3 days. Unlike most types of seafood which will keep in the freezer for 6 months or longer, cooked crawfish will only last about 3 months. This is an uncommon way to eat crawfish, which is known for being especially good as freshly boiled seafood treats during the early spring months.
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