For those in the crabbing industry, cooling and storing live crabs can be a tricky process. Since many businesses have to order the crustaceans and may not be able to cook them right away, proper storage is crucial to keep them alive and fresh. To do this, a proper and specific environment is required. Here are some of the best cooling and storage for crabs to guide you in the process.
Why Do They Have to Be Alive?
When a crab dies, it releases toxins into its body. These toxins permeate the meat and render it unfit for human consumption. It is always best to use the crustaceans immediately, though for many industrial and commercial markets, this is not an option. The best cooling and storage for crabs is to keep them in their proper, controlled and oxygenated environment. This can help extend their lifespan until you are ready to eat or use them.
How to Keep Crabs Alive
If you are unable to use your crab immediately when caught there are a few options to keeping them alive. The first step is to make sure they stay wet and cool. As soon as they caught they need to be put in a cool, shaded environment out of direct sunlight and properly hydrated.
Make Sure There’s Plenty of Oxygen
Make sure the crustaceans are never fully submerged in water for long periods of time. This will cause them to die. Just as humans, they need oxygen to survive which they cannot get if they are completely submerged in a container of water. It is also essential to never put them in a sealed container such as a cooler for long periods of time without adequate air. If you have a holding cage or are near the body of water where they were caught, take advantage of this and keep them stored in those areas. One of the best cooling and storage for crabs is to purchase an electric aerator. This device can help keep the crustaceans oxygenated and pump air into their water where they are stored.
Keep them Stored in a Cool Environment
The crustaceans also need to be stored in an environment at 48 to 58 degrees. Lower temperatures will also reduce the crabs’ metabolic rate and decrease their need for oxygen and their sensitivity to inideal conditions. The key is to maintain a cool, moist and dark environment to keep the craps alive and comfortable. If you are storing them in an industrial cooler, make sure they are not sealed in for long periods of time and that they have access to oxygen. For the best cooling and storage for crabs, a sealed bag of ice can be placed on top or on the bottom of them to keep them cool. However, make sure the drain is open to let the excess water out.
Adjust the Moisture Levels
If you need to store them in a walk-in box or refrigerator, it is crucial to make adjustments to the moisture level and temperature. They must have oxygen and moisture in order to survive. If this is depleted from the refrigerator, several if not all the crustaceans might die. For the best cooling and storage for crabs, it is essential to keep them stored in fresh, cold salt water, preferably taken from the environment where they were originally from to ensure that it has the correct composition of minerals and elements. If this isn’t possible, basic salt water will work in the short term as long as you keep them oxygenated.
Keep Crabs Alive and Fresh for Best Results
Now that you know the tips and tricks for the best cooling and storage for crabs, you can be better prepared for keeping them alive and fresh. The key is to make sure they do not die, as they will release their toxins and the meat will no longer be suitable for consumption. Semco designs and manufactures high quality, dependable cooling and storage systems that are ideal for use with live crabs.