Purchasing your crab raw gives you a superior taste and texture over crab that has been frozen and defrosted. Whether you purchase your raw crab from a reputable dealer or buy a live crab and harvest the meat yourself, raw crab meat spoils quickly. It's important to check the raw crab meat to make sure it is fit for eating before you add it to any of your dishes. Checking it carefully can ensure that your crab dinner is a delicious and safe experience for all of your guests.
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Pick up the crab and smell it. Raw crab that is fresh will not smell at all, or will have a faintly sweet odor. Anything that smells sour, strong, fishy or rancid could mean the crab has spoiled and it should not be consumed.
Check the color of the raw crab meat. Raw crab meat should have a pure white flesh with a bright red rind where the flesh meets the shell. The colors should be bright and clean. A brown color to either the white flesh or the red rind tells you that the crab meat has spent too much time separated from the shell and exposed to air.
Touch the crab to see how it feels. Fresh raw crab meat will feel moist to the touch, but not slimy. Rub your fingers together to see if you can detect a mucousy film on the crab. Dry crab can also be a sign that the raw crab meat was not stored properly and has gone bad.
Purchase your crabs live so you know exactly how fresh they are, suggests the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once purchased and harvested, raw crab meet is usually good for two to three days. It's best to consume it as soon as possible to be sure that it's fresh and safe to eat.
Check to see how the crab meat was stored. Harvested raw crab meat should always be stored on a bed of ice, uncovered, says the Maryland Seafood company. Crab that has been stored in a container or without ice is likely spoiled and unsafe for consumption.