5 Tips for Buying Stone Crab Claws
Stone crabs are a local delicacy here in Naples, Florida. Especially for native-born locals, who know where to purchase and dine on stone crabs when the commercial fishing season starts on October 15th.
However, for the traveler visiting Naples, knowing where to shop for stone crabs, let alone where to eat them, or choose them. In this post, we will at least go over what you should look for when shopping for stone crabs.
#1: Finding a place
First, you need to find a place where stone crabs are sold. Here in Naples, you can find stone crabs sold either in grocery stores, fish markets, or directly from the commercial fish houses that bring the stone crabs to port. It is best to go to places that are directly connected to the fishing industry here in Naples, like a fish market or a commercial fish house. This way, you know that the stone crabs you are buying are fresh and local.
#2: Choose your size
Second, you will have four different sizes to choose from. These sizes are small, medium, large, and extra-large claws. The size of the stone crab claws doesn’t really matter, because they will taste the same, however, the larger claws tend to have more meat and flavor. The larger the claws are, the more expensive they are by the pound too, so keep that in mind if you want to try claws on a budget.
#3: Inspect the claws
Third, look at the crab claws. Make sure that they are a bright red, with hints of beige on them with a dark, black claw on the tip. They shouldn’t smell fishy, look pale nor should the claws look or feel slimy. It is ok if the claws feel or look wet from the ice, or smell of the ocean.
#4: Buy enough for everybody
Fourth, when purchasing claws, it is best to purchase them by the pound. To make sure you have enough claws for everyone, think of serving four claws to each person. In regards to price, you should be able to spend around $20 to $45 per pound. Anything more than that per pound is a ripoff, and anything less should cause you to question the quality of the stone crabs you are buying.
#5: Crack the claws
Fifth, make sure that you have something to crack the claws with when you get home. Most places that sell stone crabs also sell the mallets, and stone crab crackers you will need to crack them at home. If you come from a part of the world where eating fresh crab and/or lobster is common, you can probably do with using the mallets to crack open your stone crab claws when you get home. If you aren’t used to cracking open fresh lobster or crabs, you might want to invest in the stone crab cracker, or metal crab/lobster crackers.
Last, and not least, take your stone crabs back to the hotel room or vacation rental and enjoy it! Traditionally, stone crabs are served cold, as either an appetizer or main course, with lime wedges and a dipping sauce. This sauce can be a mustard sauce, a cocktail sauce or a tartar sauce. You can also use the meat from stone crabs to make crab cakes, pasta dishes, soups, stews, chowders, ceviche, quiches, and more!
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