One of Florida's most prized seafood delicacies -- stone
crab claws -- will be available at your local seafood retailer
beginning October 15.
Stone crab season opens October 15 each year and runs through
May 15. The majority of Florida stone crab claws are commercially
harvested off the southern tip of Floridas peninsula
from Sarasota to Fort Lauderdale. Stone crabs are harvested
for their mouth watering claws and only the claws of the
stonecrab are removed. The stone crab is then returned to
the water where it will regenerate new claws within 18 months.
In 2004, nearly 3 million pounds of stonecrab claws, with
a dockside value of more than $26 million, were harvested
in Florida waters.
Stone crab claws are cooked immediately after harvest, and
sold either fresh cooked or frozen. Fresh cooked can be
eaten within three to four days if packed in ice or stored
in the coldest part of a refrigerator. Be sure to freeze
only claws that are completely intact and free from cracks
in the shell. The thick shell will protect the meat for
up to six months in a home freezer. Thaw the claws in the
refrigerator, allowing 12 to 18 hours for them to thaw completely.
The quality will be compromised if they are thawed under
running water or at room temperature.
The sweet-tasting meat of Florida stonecrab claws is delicious
unseasoned, with melted butter or your favorite sauce. To
crack the shell, use a crab cracker, a tool you can purchase
at your local kitchen supply or department store, or the
back of a heavy spoon. Remove the cracked shell pieces,
leaving the meat attached to the moveable pincer. Dont
forget there is plenty of delicious meat in the knuckle
of the claw. The meat can also be picked from the claws
and used as an ingredient in other recipes. Approximately
2.5 pounds of cooked stone crab claws yield 1 pound of meat.
Florida stone crabs can be purchased at your local seafood
market, supermarket or from suppliers and fishermen that
sell on-line. Many restaurants also feature this crab treasure
during the season. When shopping for stone crab claws, make
sure you ask for "Florida" stonecrabclaws. While
there are other crab claws similar in appearance, they do
not have the delicious flavor of Florida stone crab claws.
It is hard to resist something that tastes this good and
requires so little preparation. Try the following recipe
for a true Florida treat.
Try this delicious recipe:
Stone Crab Claws Miami
2 1/2 pounds Florida stone crab claws
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup extra dry vermouth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Crack and remove outer shell from the claws, leaving meat
attached to the remaining pincer. Heat oil in large skillet
over medium-high heat. Add stone crab claws, salt and pepper.
Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until claws are heated, stirring
frequently. Increase temperature to high, add vermouth and
lemon juice and cook one additional minute stirring constantly.
Drain, serve hot or cold as an appetizer or entree and enjoy.
Yield: four servings
Nutritional Value Per Serving:
Calories from Fat 192,
Total Fat 21g,
Saturated Fat 3g,
Trans Fatty Acid 0,
Total Carbohydrates 2g,
Omega 3 Fatty Acid 1g.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing, has stonecrab
claw brochures for consumers. Please ask for this colorful
brochure containing cooking tips, other recipes and proper
care and handling of ston crabclaws by contacting the Bureau
of Seafood and Aquaculture, 2051 East Dirac Drive, Tallahassee,
FL 32310, or e-mail email@example.com, or on-line
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