2016 Soft-Shell Crab Season Is Here! How Should Foodies Eat The Once-A-Year Seafood Delicacy?

Presently, one of the most-popular seafood delicacies many Americans enjoy is crab. Served year-round, crabs are often steamed at traditional sit-in restaurants like Red Lobster or at Chinese buffets, or specially prepared such as stuffed crab shells at local grocery stores. Either way, Americans cannot get enough of them. Despite the fact crabs are bottom-feeding crustaceans, Americans devour, on average, a quarter-pound of crab a week, as stated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

However, there is one time during the year that crab is highly-sought out and it is a time starting late spring to early summer. It is known as the soft-shell crab season and for many who are connoisseurs of soft-shell crabs, it is a time worth waiting for. Right now, the 2016 soft-shell crab season is in effect, so for all the foodies out there, what are the best ways to eat the once-a-year seafood delicacy?

Before diving into the actual list of how soft-shell crabs could be enjoyed, it is best to detail what they are in the first place. Many actually think they are an actual crab species that appears only once a year. Actually, they are the same crabs everyone eats at restaurants. The only difference is they’ve molted or removed their old shells, which have become too tight for their growing bodies, so they can develop a new shell. It takes crabs about three weeks for their new shells to fully harden. This time period is when fishermen do all they can to harvest them. The Washington Post even detailed how catching these crabs differ from traditional methods as they use a crab’s mating instincts against them.

invasive crabs New England fishermen are trying to find a way to put invasive crabs on the menu. If they find the crabs’ soft-shell season, they would become more sought out among chefs and seafood markets. [Emily Corwin/New Hampshire Public Radio]Even fishermen in the New England area are trying to find out when the invasive crab has their molting season. If that species of crab were to be put on the menu in their soft-shell state, it would help preserve the many clams, oyster, mussels, and scallop beds the area is known for, as reported by local news outlet WBUR.

Nevertheless, soft-shell crabs are appealing among foodies because the crabs can be eaten whole, shell and all. The crab in such a state means they can be eaten in ways people would never traditionally eat crab. Thankfully, Huffington Post created a list of the best ways to eat soft-shell crab and the more-interesting ways on said list have been provided in the gallery below.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]