using a crab to make seafood gumbo

recipe says i rinse the crab then make a stock. i strain the stock and break the legs off and break the body in half. later i simply add it to the gumbo.

my concern is that i'm never told to open the crab and discard the inedible parts. i read that i should discard these parts before i make the stock and yet this recipe never says to and it's a reputable recipe.

  • Posted by: alan
  • August 13, 2020


KLS August 13, 2020
Not having seen your recipe, it's hard to comment about using a whole crab. Here in Louisiana I usually buy gumbo crabs which are already cleaned and gumbo ready and kinda small. That said, I'd suggest at least hacking it in half and removing the lungs. While everyone has a different way, I'm not sure that one crab would make much stock either. Like any soup ingredient, I save shrimp and crawfish shells in my freezer till I have enough; you might also be able to purchase seafood stock in the grocery. If not, you can use water and add a couple bottles of clam juice Good Luck!
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Gammy August 13, 2020
I think the recipe assumes the reader knows how to dissect and use a whole crab. If you are using live BLUE crab, there is no "poisonous" parts you need to worry about, only organs that some (but not all) people find inedible. With live blue crab, they are steamed whole before dissecting and then opened up and the undesirable parts removed. I would assume these organs would add flavor to the stock and anyone eating would not taste anything objectionable. These parts include the lungs (about 10-12 one-inch long long grayish-white finger shaped things under the top shell), and anything soft and watery in the center of the crab. The removed legs contain a long, small piece of meat. The body, once cleaned (feel free to rinse) contains most of the meat. You can safely add it to the gumbo along with the legs and let everyone enjoy picking the meat from their own crab pieces.
Nancy August 13, 2020
If you're worried about food safety, especially with seafood, probably best to consult a professional....nutritionist, food purveyor, seafood chef or (if you're in the US) local extension service.
Failing that or waiting for info,
• take precautions as you understand them;
• modify your current recipe to use crab meat already extracted from the shell or find another recipe that uses crab meat.
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