Crabs - One of the Traditional Dishes of the Bay

Itís really very simple - to enjoy this delicacy. You need only to follow these few simple steps. The "hard" of steamed Blue Crab of the Chesapeake is one of the great eating traditions of the Bay.

Photo of the female crab

Photo of the male crab

Female crabs are easy to identify by this "key" shape on underside.

Male crabs are easy to identify by this apron shape on underside.

Step 1

Turn crab upside down. Use knifepoint to pry loose the "apron" or "key", twist off and discard.

Step 2

Prying with spoon at edge nearest rear of crab can lift top shell. Twist off large pinchers and save. They too are full of edible meat.

Step 3

Remove the spongy areas (called devilís fingers) found under the top shell.

Step 4

Crab body is now covered with hard semi-transparent membrane. Break body in half along "key" line and remove appendages, discard.

The hard membrane is now easily cut away with knife, or you can use fork to pick out the succulent chunks of crabmeat. Use handle of knife to crack open large claws and pick out meat.