With all of the different types of crab, it can be hard to keep them straight and know what you want. Plus, all crabs are fascinating creatures, so it’s nice to know a few fun facts to share at your next crab feast.
Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about snow crab:
Snow crab is often called “queen crab”
Obviously, you already know we love king crab, but snow crab is almost as impressive in size — which explains why it’s often called “queen crab.” While snow crab legs are smaller than king crab legs, they are still impressive. To better understand the size difference between these two types of crab, king crab generally weighs between 12 and 15 pounds when fully developed and snow crab generally only weights 5 to 7 pounds.
Only male snow crabs can be legally harvested
While male snow crabs can grow to be 6 inches long in shell-width, female snow crabs are generally smaller than 3 inches in shell-width. Because of this size discrepancy, only male crabs of a certain size can be legally harvested — and no crabbing at all is allowed during mating and molting season. These measures are designed to prevent overfishing and encourage sustainability, allowing snow crabs to continue reproducing. There are also harvest limits set every year — and all crabbing stops once the limits are reached.
Like king crabs, snow crabs have a long lifespan
When not harvested, snow crabs can live for an estimated 20 years.
There are three general areas to source snow crabs:
Alaska, the coast of Japan, and Canada down to the coast of Maine. We’re obviously partial to Alaskan snow crabs, and those typically come from three seas: the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi.
Snow crabs grow by molting
In order to grow to their full size, snow crabs shed their old shell and grow another. In between this growth process, the exterior of the snow crab remains soft, increasing the vulnerability of the crab. That’s why harvesting is prohibited during molting season.
Snow crab shells are easier to crack than king crab shells
Since their shells are thinner than king crabs, snow crabs are often easier to eat and enjoy. However, like we always say, with the right tools, any crab leg is crack-able.
Snow crab meat tends to be slightly more fibrous
While king crab meat is delicate, snow crab meat is more fibrous and easily broken apart. For this reason, snow crab makes fantastic crab cakes, but it’s also delicious picked right out of the shell.
If you’re a lover of king crab and have never tried snow crab legs, now is a great time to compare the two and discover your preference. Just don’t forget to tell us what you think!