If you have ever cooked steamed crabs, you know that they can be a bit challenging to prepare, but the result is worth it. Once you are finished with your feast, you might be wondering how long you can keep leftover steamed crabs and whether you can put them in the fridge or freezer.
It is important to know that steamed crabs are best eaten fresh. If you are looking for the most flavor, you should try to eat them within a day or two of cooking. However, sometimes life gets in your way, and you might not be able to eat them right away. So, how long can you keep steamed crabs? The answer depends on how you're keeping them after steaming.
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How Long Does Cooked Crab Last in the Fridge?
If you haven't eaten your steamed crab and want to keep the leftovers, make sure that you place them in the fridge immediately. You should never leave out seafood after preparation without refrigeration. Once the steamed crab is in the fridge, you can safely store it for three to four days. Refrigeration may slow bacterial growth, but it doesn't stop it entirely nor prevent it.
If you want to keep your steamed crab longer, you should consider storing it in the freezer. You can store frozen steamed crab for up to six months. It's important, though, to keep the crab in an airtight container and that the freezer temperature remains below freezing. Never eat partially frozen crab meat that hasn't been thoroughly thawed. Frozen crab meat is likely best when eaten within two to three months of freezing.
How Long to Steam Crabs
If you're lucky enough to be on the East Coast where blue crabs are plentiful, then you know the deliciousness of a fresh steamed crab. It may seem overwhelming to start steaming crabs, especially steaming blue crabs, but it's not as hard as it may seem. When fishing for crabs, you must keep them alive until you're ready to cook them; this ensures that the crabs are fresh and have not started to rot.
McCormick chefs give us their famous Old Bay steamed blue crab recipe, and it's a fan favorite. They recommend using a pot with a raised rack that's a minimum of 2 inches high and adding equal parts of water and vinegar just below the rack level. Bring this to a boil, layer crabs on this rack and cover. Steam for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your crabs. You'll know they're done when the crabs turn red.
Leftover Crab Meat Uses
Now that you know leftover crab meat is good for three to four days in the refrigerator, how exactly are you going to use this meat? Luckily, there are various ways to enjoy leftover crab meat beyond just eating it plain. There are many recipes for leftover crab meat, and many are deliciously easy to make. One of the most popular recipes is spaghetti with crab and tomatoes. Combining a pound of crab meat, sweet cherry tomatoes, lemon and spaghetti, this dish is divine.
Another straightforward dish that you can make is Baltimore crab cakes complete with classic Old Bay seasoning. This recipe calls for Dijon mustard, jalapeno and a little mayonnaise. You'll whisk together these ingredients, add your leftover crab meat and stir in some panko bread crumbs. Once these cakes are made, you'll fry them until they're golden brown and crispy. Serve with lemon wedges and dig in!