The blue crab is a saltwater crustacean with brilliantly colored claws. Male crabs have olive-green shells and bright blue claws, while female crabs are adorned in red-tipped claws, which they show off to attract mates during mating season that lasts from early spring till late fall. They typically live near shallow waters or muddy bottoms, but can also be found as deep as 3,000 feet below sea level.
Blue crab dishes are the perfect way to enjoy these tasty crustaceans. Whether you’re a fan of whole steamed crabs seasoned with some lemon juice, or you prefer to use blue crab meat as an ingredient in one of your own recipes at home, they will always help impress guests.
How much does blue crab cost?
You can usually get a dozen live blue crabs for about $30 to $90, but the price varies depending on the crabs’ size. Females are 30% to 50% cheaper because they’re smaller. The blue crab prices also depend on where you live, as in some areas the prices will be higher due to transportation costs, or supplier fees.
You can buy from LA Crawfish a pound of jumbo blue crab at the price of $85 or Live Louisiana blue crab for $55.
Two dozen soft-shell blue crabs can be found on Amazon.com for around $80.
Plan to spend around $5 to $9 if you are going to purchase live crabs by the pound.
On the other hand, if you are going to buy by the bushel, which counts around three to ten dozen, be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 to $350.
The Baltimore Sun has put together a list of prices for blue crabs in the Baltimore area, which range from $45 to $80 per 12 large males.
The Chesapeake Bay is the prime location to find blue crabs, They are a better buy during the summer season. The price of male blue crab drops below $40 when landings peak.
MarylandBlueCrabExpress.com has a variety of blue crab choices for customers to enjoy. While the average price per 1 bushel of Maryland crabs is $90 – $160, depending on how many are in your order and their size, you can also purchase jumbo or colossal sizes. In a typical 1/2 bushel (3 dozen), there will be anywhere from 3-4 pounds of meaty claws.
For medium to large male hard-shell blue crabs, prices typically range from $120 to $185 per bushel in the peak summer season. Female hard crabs tend to be more expensive, ranging from $140 to $230 per bushel currently.
Maryland blue crabs with soft shells demand a premium, often selling for $20 to $40 per dozen depending on size.
Factors influencing the crab prices
Crabs are available fresh, frozen, or pre-cooked, and depending on their state the price of blue crabs will be higher or lower. Also, you can choose to buy only the meat instead of the whole crab. The cheapest price for this seafood often comes directly from docks where fishermen sell their goods straight up without any markups by retail.
The time of year
You may be able to save a lot of money on blue crabs during summertime, but the catch is that you have to wait for those hotter months. The best time to get your crab fix and enjoy all those delicious claws without paying top dollar will usually coincide with when these tasty crustaceans are in season, from June until October.
Crab prices vary across the country because of different climates and regulations. States that are close to the coast will experience lower costs than states in the middle or on the opposite side of the eastern coast. For example, if you purchase from a fresh seafood market it might be more expensive than from a grocery store. Likewise, restaurants may have a higher price point as well.
What are the extra costs?
If you want to buy it online, then the convenience of shopping from home may come with a price. If you’re not meeting the minimum spending requirement, be prepared to pay for shipping fees.
For those looking to have their crabs boiled before the purchase, be prepared for a “per pound” extra charge that will more than likely apply.
Important things to consider
Blue crabs may be purchased live, frozen or the meat can be harvested and placed inside vacuum-sealed bags. Some people choose to buy blue crab online because it will arrive on dry ice and will be delivered overnight.
There are many varieties of blue crabs, and they can come in various sizes. The University of Rhode Island says that the average length is four inches long from head to tail. The Blue Crab averages at around three pounds but there have been some found as heavy as fourteen pounds. These crabs grow up all throughout coastal waters such as North Carolina, Florida coastlines, and Maryland Chesapeake Bay area.
If you’re thinking about buying fresh blue crabs, don’t forget that they might die during their delivery. Blue crab’s shelf life is less than a week.
Watch out for crabs with a bad odor; if they smell like ammonia, you should not try to cook and eat them as they can be bad for your health.
If you want to feed more than ten individuals, then you should purchase by the bushel.
Savoring the rich flavors of a perfectly cooked blue crab is a genuine coastal delight. Begin by setting up your steamer pot, and adding water, beer, Old Bay seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a boil. As the steam envelops the crab for about 10 minutes, watch for the magical transformation of the shells, which will turn bright orange.
Allow the crabs to cool for a few minutes, then serve them with a side of melted butter and extra Old Bay seasoning for dipping. Don’t forget a pile of ice for cracking open the shells and a bucket for discarding the shells. This authentic seafood delicacy captures the essence of the sea.
How can I save money?
To save some money it is a great idea to buy blue crabs during the summer. It is when they are at their peak season and have the cheapest prices, but you can also find some special deals.
The cost of food at the store is much higher than what you would pay if you live near a coast and buy from off-the-dock vendors.
It’s better to buy in bulk if you have to purchase more than three dozen blue crabs.