Things You'll Need
Frozen gel cold pack
Whether you call them crawfish, crayfish or crawdads, you need to keep your crustaceans kicking until you cook them. They resemble tiny lobsters, but these freshwater shellfish come at a lower price and have a sweeter flavor. According to the website Chow.com, 90 percent of commercially harvested crawfish come from Louisiana, but they can also be found throughout Europe, Asia and the rest of the United States. A total of 400 different species of crawfish worldwide exist, with 250 of those found in North America. Like fruits and vegetables, live crawfish have a season. Look for them in fish markets and seafood shops in the spring from March through June.
Place live crawfish in an empty cooler to transport them.
Dampen a burlap sack with water and drape it over the crawfish in the cooler to keep their gills moist.
Tape a frozen gel cold pack to the inside of the lid to cool the interior of the cooler. Use a gel cold pack the same size as the lid of the cooler, or use several to cover the whole surface.
Transfer the crawfish from the cooler into a shallow container and cover it with damp newspaper. Keep this container in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours from purchase, including transport time. Prepare the live crawfish according to your favorite recipe.