Pacific Rock Crabs - West Coast Stones!
We like to think of our local Rock Crab as the Western cousin of the famous Florida Stone Crabs! They have big meaty claws and rock-hard exteriors to protect their sweet centers. Most of their meat is in their claws and the arm attached to that claw, so that is what we deliver with our shares. The body meat is minimal making it perfect for stocks - you can always email us if you are interested in purchasing bodies! There are only a couple boats going out for these guys and we are thrilled to be able to source them locally from Jason Chin out of Santa Cruz - @chinacod . He has been fishing rock crab for years and delivers some of the largest, meatiest, most stunning crab that you won't be finding at your local grocery store.
There are actually three types of rock crab that Jason is able to catch: red, yellow, and brown! We usually only see the red and yellow rock crab for our deliveries. The photo at the top of this page shows a red rock crab on the left and a yellow rock crab on the right.
West Coast Cocktail Claws Anyone?!
Pacific Rock Crabs look and taste nearly identical to Florida Stone crab claws, so most any stone crab recipe is interchangeable with Rock Crab! Once you break away the shell around the claw you are left with a very meaty claw that is begging to be dipped in steaming hot clarified butter.
How to crack a rock crab arm?
This video will help explain how to crack your crab claws - these aren't pacific rock crabs in the video, but they are close enough! We linked it to start midway through so you don't have to learn about getting the body meat.
Rock Crab are named for their tough rock hard exterior shells that protect their delicious meat from predators like octopus, seals, and other crabs! There are three different species of rock crab (red, yellow, and brown) found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja. They are all caught using traps - the same way that dungeness crab is caught. Each species has it's own habitat preference but generally they are found on rocky reefs and different soft substrates.
The daily recommendation for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 3-ounce serving of crab meat supplies 16.45 grams of protein toward these goals. The protein in your body breaks down on a constant basis, and adequate intake of the nutrient is essential for rebuilding your muscles and tissues. Crab is a complete source of protein, which means that it supplies each of the 20 amino acids your body needs to make these new proteins.
Crab is an impressive source of vitamin B12, of which you need 2.4 micrograms each day. A 3-ounce serving of crab meat supplies 9.78 micrograms. Vitamin B12 enables your body to produce healthy red blood cells. The vitamin also supports normal brain function. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Sprinkle chopped crab meat into a tossed green salad, or add it to your favorite soup or stew recipe. Combine chopped crab meat with low-fat mayonnaise, chopped onions and fresh herbs and use the mixture as a tasty sandwich filling. Make a pocket in a chicken breast or halibut fillet using a sharp knife. Stuff the pocket with cooked crab meat, minced garlic and spices, and cook the chicken or fish as you normally would. Saute crab meat with pea pods, water chestnuts and mushrooms to make a nutritious stir-fry.
- Sara Ipatenco, Healthy Eating, SFGate
What about the bodies?
We sell the bodies separate from the arms because, unlike dungeness crab, the bodies of rock crabs are very hard to break into, and often times yield disappointing amounts of meat. These are however, great for soups and stocks! E-mail us anytime we are doing a crab delivery and we can usually accommodate any size body order at a great price!
How is it caught?
Our rock crab are all caught in Santa Cruz using crab traps just like dungeness crab. "Traps and pots are submerged wire or wood cages that attract fish with bait and hold them alive until fishermen return to haul in the catch. Traps and pots are usually placed on the ocean bottom, often to catch lobsters, crabs, shrimp, sablefish and Pacific cod. They generally have lower unintended catch and less seafloor impact than mobile gear like trawls." - Seafood Watch
How old are these guys?
Rock Crab are relatively short lived. They have an average lifespan of 5-7 years, and they are also prolific reproducers - females can produce up to 4 million eggs!