The Variety Of Alaskan Crab Types In The World
There are various types of crab coming from many locations around the world. Among these places, Alaska and the Bering Sea are the two areas that actually stand out. In specific, Alaska itself provides 29% of all the world supply of crab. In today’s article, Fishermen’s Net is going to give you an overview of the variety of Alaskan crab types. Also, we are going to provide you with some extra tips on how to store and cook crab in general.
1. Types of Alaskan Crab
1.1 Alaskan King Crab
Alaskan King crab is the primary choice when it comes to choosing leg and claw meat. This is because this type of crab has been long known for its sweet flavour and the delicate appearance of its leg meat.
Alaskan King crab is divided into 3 smaller categories which are Red, Blue and Golden King crab. The characteristics that these 3 have in common are the spiky, knobby shells and equal leg-to-body proportions.
If you are dying to know more about Red, Blue and Golden King crab, don’t hesitate to roll down!
1.2 Red King Crab
Red King crab typically stays in shallower depths just like the Blue one. However, it has adapted to warm-water settings and been able to venture into places where Blue King crab can’t go.
Compared to other types of Alaskan King crab, Red King crab is usually bigger in size. Additionally, when being cooked, the color of Red King crab ripens to accentuate its deep red shell.
Red King crab has an enormous popularity; specifically, it is normally plucked from Bristol Bay and Norton Sound. Because of this, the price of Alaskan Red King crab is higher than other types. Recently, data has shown that the average price of Red King crab is about $10.71/lb. Despite a slightly more expensive price, the demand for the savory taste of Red King crab is still constant.
1.3 Blue King Crab
Blue King crab can be considered as a smaller version of the just-mentioned Red King crab. This type of crab stays away from warm water, and obviously, lives in cold water areas. For example, the Bering Sea, King Island, Point Hope and Norton Sound.
The sapphire shell of Blue King crab may not be traditional, but still it does not disappoint us. Once being cooked, the blue shell turns to red tones, and becomes pretty hard to distinguish.
Blue King crab is a more affordable choice, and still retains the savory, buttery flavour of the King species. The average price of this type of crab is about $8.49/lb.
1.4 Golden King Crab
Also known as Brown King crab, Golden King crab was first found throughout the Pacific.
Compared to the Red and Blue one, Golden King crab has the most modest size not containing much filling. Furthermore, it is the mildest of all the King species with only a subtly sweet flavour.
Owing to its lesser value and lack of commercial benefits, Golden King crab is the least expensive among types of Alaskan King crab.
1.5 Russian King Crab
The natural home of Russian King crab is the Barents Sea, close to Greenland and Norway.
Since this creature was introduced into the Bering Sea, it has the same enormous size and strong flavour as types of Alaskan King crab. Therefore, the type of crab which has been caught in Russia is often mistaken for Alaskan King crab.
1.6 Jonah Crab
Jonah crab is typically found in the Atlantic; however, it can be substituted for east-coast dwellers.
If you want a crab meal with a softly sweet flavour and a white, flaky look but at an affordable price, Jonah can be your best choice!
1.7 Dungeness Crab
Different from Jonah crab, you can easily find Dungeness crab in the Pacific. The original home of the Dungeness crab is below Alaska, in Washington State. It is one of the high-demand products for North America because of its sweet flesh.
Dungeness crab’s body is significantly larger than its stubby legs. Therefore, if you want to make a salty-sweet course, you should harvest the abdomen of the critter.
1.8 Snow Crab, Tanner Crab, Opilio Crab and Bairdi Crab
These crabs reside in the Bering Sea and Pacific locations as well as the Maine coast and the upper Atlantic Ocean. Snow, Tanner, Opilio and Bairdi are several names of them. Fortunately, there are some significant differences that help you to distinguish between them. Snow crab (or Opilio crab) lives around the Alaskan Peninsula and the Pribilof Islands. They are the smaller of the 2 subcategories of Tanner crab that weigh only 1 - 2 lbs.
Meanwhile, Southern Tanner crab (or Bairdi crab) is weightier (about 2 - 4 lbs) with a bit more meat inside. However, the difference does not extend to the market, since both Opilio and Bairdi fall under “Snow crab”.
Compared to larger counterparts, Snow crab is healthier, since it contains less fat. Its thin legs and claws will provide substantial protein while still keeping your calories down.
These crabs are more affordable than other crab types with an average price of $1.29/lb.
1.9 Horsehair Crab
Horsehair crab stays mainly in the Northwest Pacific, around the Hokkaido coast in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Western Bering Sea.
Horsehair crab has a hard shell and soft spines that cover the shell and other appendages. This type of crab can reach over 2.2 lbs in weight.
1.10 Hair Crab: Alaska's Mystery
Hair crab (or Hairy crab), which is like the Hong Kong specialty, is a less popular but unforgettable Alaskan catch. This type of crab is well-known for its fuzzy outer texture from Puget Sound to the Aleutian Islands.
Normally, Hair crab spans 1.4 inches, and is softer than other types of Alaskan crab.
If you are finding something new for your crab meal, Hair crab is worth trying. However, its price is quite expensive because of the craze and curiosity. The price even rose to approximately $31.80/lb.
1.11 Scarlet King Crab
Scarlet King crab can be found from the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, southward along the eastern Pacific slope to San Diego.
Among all the King crab species, the Scarlet King crab is comparatively smaller. It has a bright red (or we can say “scarlet) carapace, and usually ranges from 8 - 20 lbs in weight.
1.12 Grooved Tanner Crab
Grooved Tanner crab, which is a deepwater spider crab, lives along the continental slope from California, around the Aleutian chain to Japan.
About its appearance, the Grooved Tanner crab has a bright orange shell with enlarged lobes over the gill region.
1.13 Triangle Tanner Crab
Triangle Tanner crab typically stays in the range from Japan (off Sendai), Kamchatka, the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands to British Columbia (Oregon).
This type of crab has 2 dorsal rows of spines. The tubercles on its branchial region meet at the outer margin at an acute angle. The interbranchial space of Triangle Tanner crab is not deeply depressed. Moreover, its rostral teeth are as wide as (or even wider than) the length of its inner margin.
2. Storing and Cooking Tips
2.1 Storing Tips
If you buy frozen crab, a watertight and sufficiently sealable container is considered vital. This is to help keep your other refrigerator items uncontaminated and safe, since the frozen crab meat will begin to drain water as it defrosts. Moreover, it is always essential to maintain a bacteria-free cooking space for nutritious and protein-rich crab meat. Thus, you should section off space in your fridge away from other meat kinds (especially the raw ones).
2.2 Cooking Tips
No matter what technique you choose to get your crab meat done, it is necessary to steam precooked and defrosted crab legs. This process should last around 4- 6 minutes. You can judge whether the crab meat is heated or not by the particular aroma which rises from the pot. In case you forgot to defrost your crab, just simply rinse the ice from its shell, then steam it for 6 - 10 minutes.
If you choose to broil your crab, the optimal broiling time is 3 - 5 minutes.
On the other hand, if you want to have a baked crab meal, here are the tips for you. In case you only have the crab legs, place them directly on the pan and put them in the oven. For uncovered crab, bake it at 350 degrees for about 7 - 10 minutes. On the contrary, for covered crab, crank up the heat to 400 degrees for around 6 - 8 minutes.
Now you have an overview of different types of Alaskan crab. Fishermen’s Net hopes that this knowledge of crab benefits you and your interests in the crab world.
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