How To Keep Blue Crabs Alive Before Cooking?

How To Keep Blue Crabs Alive Before Cooking?

It might be difficult to keep your crabs alive until they are cooked after you have harvested your crab pots.

So, how to keep blue crabs alive? Blue crabs should be kept alive in a cooler or bushel basket in a moist, cold, and well-ventilated environment. Blue crabs may stay out of the water for up to 24 hours if kept cold and wet. There's a little more to keep crabs alive that you should know. Let's have a look at a few different ways of keeping crabs alive and how efficient they are.

 how to keep blue crabs alive

Page Contents

  1. In a cooler
  2. In a bushel basket
  3. In a tank
  4. Storing blue crab tips
  5. Related Q&A

1. In a cooler

You'll need the following items:

  • A durable cooler
  • Ice packets OR a bag of ice
  • a couple of towels

All of these objects should be present in your home. As a result, the setup should be simple. Keep in mind that whatever you use will have a strong crab scent for a long time. How to store blue crab?

how to keep crabs alive

We propose a cooler with two handles for portability and a spigot for drainage. 

The little faucet is extremely vital for your cooler's drainage. Standing water is not good for crabs. 

Let's look at how to properly store crabs in a cooler now that you have the suitable size.

  • To begin, disconnect the cooler's drain. There will be no standing water as a result of this.
  • Fill the bottom of the cooler with ice that is uniformly distributed. This should be enough to fill roughly a third of the cooler. Alternatively, ice packs can be used.
  • Using a moist cloth, cover the ice. This will help to mitigate the ice's harsh chill. The crabs should be exposed to a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooler Size

Capable of Holding

20 qt


20-30 qt

1 dozen

30-45 qt

1-2 dozen

45-60 qt

2-3 dozen

60+ qt

1/2+ Bushel(s)

  • Feel the air just above the towel-covered ice in a shady spot. Put another thin, moist towel on top if it's too chilly
  • Wet cloths and icy ice will provide a moist, chilly environment for the crabs. This method is good for keeping crabs alive for a long time. 
  • Finally, the cooler must be sufficiently aired to prevent the crabs from suffocating. It'll work if you crack the cooler lid open with a stick. That concludes our discussion. For the next 24 hours or so, your crabs should be OK. 
  • Keep the cooler in a well-ventilated, shady location. I propose turning the cooler on its end so that the water inside goes downhill and out the little drain on the opposite end.

Quick Note: Crabs will seem inert and practically dead after being stored in a cooler. It's a bit tough to discern which ones are alive and which ones are not. 

Allow your crabs to sit in the sun for 2–5 minutes. Check to see whether its mouth closes or its fins respond to interaction if it's not moving. If not, you're looking at a dead crab.

2. In a bushel basket

Commercial crabbers and highly skilled recreational crabbers also employ this strategy. This procedure is also more practical for crabbers who want to prepare their catch right away or carry their harvest from one location to another

how to keep crabs alive overnight

You'll need the following items:

  • 2 - 3 towels in a wooden pail basket.
  • If you don't have a bushel basket, you can get one for a good deal on Amazon. If you don't want your coolers to smell like crabs, they can help.
  • While inspecting your pots, it's a good idea to have your bushel basket with you. Cover your pots with a moist cloth once they've been emptied and your crop has been placed in your basket. Seaweed or moist newspaper can be used in place of this.

3. In a tank

To keep the crabs alive, provide a dark, cold, and damp environment. Just bear in mind that the crabs require oxygen as well. Put them in an airtight tank with the lid closed. You may store the crabs in a tank with ice as long as the lid is split open to allow them to breathe.

Watch how to keep blue crabs alive carefully! 

4. Storing blue crab tips

There are a few things to keep in mind no matter which method you select to preserve your crabs:

Create a stress-free workplace and keep it that way

You want your crabs to be as relaxed and at ease as possible. Not only will this result in fewer crabs dying, but others think it will also improve the taste of your crabs.

Here are four strategies to provide your crabs a stress-free environment:

Avoid piling crabs on top of one another as much as possible. This is the most effective method for maintaining a stress-free workplace.

  • Shaking and jostling should be avoided at all costs.
  • Keep your crabs in a location that provides continuous shade and a pleasant breeze. Keep them all together in one place.

Crabs get hungry

Because crabs are scavengers, they are prone to consuming some unpleasant foods. Your crabs may wind up devouring their fellow prisoners before you realize it!

  • Feeding your crabs is an excellent solution. If you store your crabs on ice, you won't have to worry about this, although ice melts eventually. If you don't plan on eating your crabs by then, you'll have to go out and get some crab chow.
  • Oysters, hard clams, dead or live fish, and a variety of seagrasses are all eaten by crabs. Simply place them in the container, and your crabs will happily eat them.
  • Crabs that have died should not be cooked or eaten. However, if the crab is cooked two or three hours after it dies and the corpse is kept very cool, you can get away with it. You won't be able to distinguish between the two!
  • Take a crab out of the cooler or basket and let it in the sun for 2-5 minutes to make sure it's dead. Check to see whether its mouth closes or its fins respond to interaction if it's not moving. If not, you're looking at a dead crab.

Can I eat crabs after they die?

I wouldn't eat a crab that had been out in the sun, in the bottom of a filthy bucket, etc., it’s for more than 2 hours after it died. The meat inside a long-dead crab will become mushy and flavorless, and it may even make you sick.

Can I keep live crabs in the fridge?

Because of the low temperatures and lack of air in the refrigerator, the majority of crabs will perish. Crabs should be kept in a cool but not freezing, wet location with lots of fresh air.

How long can I keep crabs on ice?

Crabs may be maintained on ice for several days if they are kept away from standing water. If you're keeping your crabs in a more relaxed, leave the plug open to let the water drain.

Read more

With all the information above, how to keep blue crabs alive is no more an issue for you guys. I hope you guys already perceive and choose the right way to store blue crabs and others. You can check out Fishermen's Net to have a check at the seafood here. We offer a premium service for all sorts of marine products. However, This is the end of the topic today. See you soon on some useful case in the next term.

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