If you’re anything like us, I’m sure you LOVE eating raw fish like sushi.
Some seafood, like salmon, is just as delicious raw as it is cooked, but you might be asking yourself: can you eat crab raw?
Short Answer: You should never eat crab raw because it may carry parasites or bacteria. It can make you very ill and should only be eaten when fully cooked.
There are a select few kinds of seafood that can be eaten raw. But If you eat the wrong one, like crab, it can have disastrous consequences.
That’s why it is essential to do your research before trying new raw seafood to ensure it’s safe.
In this article, we are going to explore the world of crab, tell you why you shouldn’t eat it raw, and let you know the best way to eat it instead.
Alright, seafood friends, let’s get into it:
What is Crab Exactly?
Crabs are water-dwelling creatures that are part of the crustacean family. They have a strong exoskeleton, six armored legs, and two large front claws. [*]
They can be found in both fresh and saltwater all over the world.
They are known as bottom-dwelling creatures that scavenge for food on the seafloor.
They are not fussy about what they eat, which might be why they might be susceptible to parasites and bacteria.
Crab is eaten all over the world and is considered a delicacy. The body, as well as the large claws, are the edible parts of the crab.
The shells can also be used in cooking to make a rich seafood bisque.
What Does Crab Taste Like?
One of the reasons you don’t want to eat crab raw is the texture. It is mushy and very unpleasant.
When perfectly cooked, crab meat will be firm but juicy and delicious.
The flavor of crab is a balance of sweet and salty with a little hint of the sea in the aftertaste.
This delicate flavor pairs very well with other seafood.
However, it can also handle a lot of heat and spices when cooked in Indian and Asian cuisines.
Learn more: What Does Crab Taste Like? (6 Best Ways To Eat!)
Can You Eat Raw Crab Meat ?
Under no circumstances should you eat crab raw. Crabs can often carry dangerous parasites or bacteria that make you very sick.
Paragonimus is a parasite found in crabs and can cause severe symptoms. Apart from that, they could also be carrying the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholerae[*]
These microorganisms are killed off during cooking, making cooked crab meat safe to eat.
A practical reason that crab can’t be eaten raw is that raw crab meat is tough to get out of the shell. And you might end up ruining the meat while trying to get it out.
Can uncooked crab make you sick?
In short, if you eat raw crab, it will make you very sick.
The riskiest part of eating raw crab is the potential of catching a paragonimus infection.[*]
This may not be deadly, but it will cause some incredibly unpleasant symptoms.
Some of the symptoms you might experience if you catch this parasite are:
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- The most severe symptoms are similar to meningitis and occur when the parasite enters the central nervous system.
- It can also cause lung disease if the parasite enters your airways.
If you ever eat raw crab by accident, we recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible before it has time to progress.
It may cause your body great distress, but it won’t kill you.
What is the Best Way to Eat Crab?
We advise cooking crab at a minimum of 145 F to be safe to eat.
When it comes to cuisines, crab is eaten more commonly in coastal regions where they are locally caught. It can, however, be transported inland, where it is more expensive.
The regions where crabs are popular include Alaska, New England, Singapore, and Japan.
Crab can be used in so many dishes, from crab cakes, crab curry, and stews, to whole fried soft shell crab.
You will find that you can order crab that has been picked for you, or you can have it whole and pick through it yourself.
How to Cook Raw Crab Meat
There are a number of ways you can cook raw crab meat.
It can come in two forms: whole or picked crab meat out of the shell.
Frying: The best way to cook raw crab meat out of the shell is to make crab cakes and fry them.
You can also fry some crabs whole, like soft shell crab which is fried in a crispy batter.
Boiling: If you want to cook your crab before picking the meat the easiest way is to boil them.
All you need to do is boil a pot of water and drop the crabs in whole. Cooking time depends on the size and type of crab you are cooking.
Poaching: A delicious way of cooking crab is poaching it in the sauce you are making for a curry stew or broth.
The best way to do this is to half or quarter the crabs before adding them to the dish and cooking them slowly.
Oven Roasted: Larger crabs or crab legs can be whole roasted in the oven with delicious results.
Simply place the crab on a layer of lemon slices on a tray and drizzle with lemon butter before roasting for 15-20 minutes.
Grilled: This is best done with halved or quartered crab.
Similar to the roasted crab, you can place the crab on a tray and drizzle it liberally with garlic and lemon butter before grilling for 15 minutes.
What seafood can you eat raw?
The best rule of thumb is only to eat raw seafood that is labeled sushi grade.[*]
There are many types of fish like salmon and tuna that can be eaten raw. However, only particular kinds of tuna and salmon are suitable for sushi.
It is the same for the few shellfish that can also be eaten raw, including shrimp and scallops.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so pay attention to the packaging when buying seafood.
Is crab in sushi cooked?
This answer may surprise you!
The crab sticks that you see in sushi are actually imitation crabs called kanikama.
Instead of crab, they are made from starch and pulverized white fish.
This makes these sushi rolls safe for those who have a shellfish allergy.
How do you know if the crab is undercooked?
The color of the flesh is the number one way to tell if your crab is undercooked.
An undercooked crab will look slightly translucent and have a mushy, somewhat slimy texture.
The flesh will be firm and white the whole way through when it is cooked.
Now that you’re a little clued up on this crustacean, what have we learned today?
- Crab should never be eaten raw.
- If you eat raw crab, you should consult a doctor
- Crab can carry the Paragonimus parasite, which can cause intense sickness.
After all this talk of crab, now all we can think about is making some up for ourselves, fully cooked, of course. We hope it has done the same for you!
Up Next: What to Serve with Crab Legs: 20 Ideas for Seafood Lovers