Buying crabs in bulk is the secret to cutting costs and including it in your menu frequently. But if you do buy in bulk, you need to keep in mind that crab spoils quite easy.
So, can crab meat be frozen? If yes, how? We explore these questions, and all you need to know about freezing crab meat.
Can You Freeze Crab Meat?
Yes, you can freeze both cooked and uncooked crab meat. Properly frozen crab meat can last up to three months in your walk-in freezers. However, keep in mind that the longer it stays, the more it loses its flavor. Also, properly freezing crab meat involves a little more than just stashing it in your freezer. Here are two main ways to freeze crab meat:
Method 1: Freezing Crab Meat with the Shell
Freezing crab meat with the shell intact is the best possible approach. The shell helps preserve the meat’s tender texture and retain its natural flavors. What’s more, shelled crab meat lasts longer in the freezer than exposed meat. That said, here’s how to freeze crab meat with the shell intact:
• Step 1: Steam your crabs in salted water as you normally do before cooking them.
• Step 2: Drain the crabs in a strainer and place them in cold water for five minutes to halt the cooking process.
• Step 3: Next, you’ll want to remove the pointy ends of the crabs’ legs so they don’t puncture your freezer bag. While at it, tuck or fold the crab legs under its shell
• Step 4: Wrap the meat tightly with plastic wrap, place it in a sealable freezer bag, and put it in your freezer at 0-5 degrees.
• Step 5: Label the bag. This is particularly important if you plan on freezing your crab meat for a while.
Alternatively, you could wrap the crabs in cling film and add a layer of foil before sticking them in your indoor walk-in freezers. The point is to ensure that no air enters the meat.
Method 2: How to Freeze Crab Meat without Shell
If you had already picked off the shells before you came across this guide, here’s how you freeze bare crab meat:
• Step 1: Drain the water and place your crab meat inside a freezer bag
• Step 2: Pour whole milk until the crab meat is entirely covered
• Step 3: Place it in your freezer at 0-5 degrees
Freezing bare crab meat causes it to fall apart and become stringy once thawed. The milk helps retain its texture, and even enhances its flavor when you finally decide to cook. It also helps protect the meat from freezer burn.
How to Freeze Crab Dishes?
Crab meat freezes best when it’s part of a dish. In this guide, we’ll show you how to freeze the two most common crab meat delicacies – crab cakes and crab soup (crab bisque).
Freezing Crab Cakes the Right Way
Crab cakes are a delightful delicacy commonly served as an appetizer, or as part of a main meal. Similar to what they’re made from, crab cakes are freezable. Here’s how you freeze uncooked crab cakes:
• Step 1: Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place the crab cakes in a single layer
• Step 2: Freeze for about 2 hours while uncovered
• Step 3: Remove from the freezer and wrap each crab cake with plastic wrap or cling foil.
• Step 4: Place the cakes into an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag, and store them in your freezer at 0 to 5 degrees.
• Step 5: Label the container or the freezer bag, and whenever you’re ready to use, simply defrost the cakes.
To freeze cooked crab cakes, allow them to cool at room temperature and then follow the steps above. However, don’t leave them out for more than an hour.
How to Freeze Crab Soup (Crab Bisque)
Crab bisque is among the best and most luxurious crab soups you’ll come across. It’s enhanced with lots of cream and butter, greatly enriching the taste of crab meat. However, the cream doesn’t freeze well and may curdle when reheated. For best results, freeze without the cream, and add it when you reheat to eat.
How Long Can You Freeze Crab Meat?
When properly frozen using the tips above, frozen crab meat can last between three and six months. Although it’s perfectly safe to eat after this period, it may lose flavor and the texture will become stringy. Consider taking it out sooner for a lip-smacking experience.
The Proper Way to Thaw Crab Meat
The key to retaining your meat’s texture and freshness is thawing it slowly. Leave your frozen crab meat in the refrigerator overnight so it can slowly defrost. If you’re in a hurry and can’t wait overnight, place your frozen crab meat in a bowl of warm water and let it sit for a while. Cook it as soon as it’s properly thawed. Leaving it out for too long may cause the meat to lose freshness or even harbor bacteria.
How to Tell if Frozen Crab Meat is Bad
Although crab meat can last up to six months in the freezer, failing to follow the necessary steps while freezing it might cause it to go bad. In some instances, you may follow the right steps, but a prolonged power outage may cause the crab meat to go bad. The best way to tell if frozen crab meat is spoiled is through its appearance and smell. If it has an unnatural yellow or gray color and a strong, sour or vinegar-like smell, throw it away.
Here’s to a Future Full of Scrumptious Frozen Crab Meat Delicacies!
Crabs are a perfect mix between impeccably tender, slightly sweet, and salty flavors. With the tips on how to freeze crab meat above, we hope you get to cook and try out more of your favorite crab meat recipes.