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Cleaning Soft Shell Crab

cleaning soft shell crab

How to Clean Soft Shell Crab

Starting Out

Rinse the soft shell crab with water to help remove any dirt or debris clinging to the crab.

rinse soft shell crab with water

Cut off the Face

The first step is to, shall we say, deface the crab. Using the shears or knife, cut across the front of the crab, just behind the eyes and mouth-parts to remove them—it should all come off in a single, approximately 1/4-inch-wide strip.

cut off soft shell crab face

Remove the Gills

Now lift one of the corners of the top shell to expose the nasty-tasting gills, which look like frilly little beige pointy tongues. Grab the gills and rip them all out at the base. Repeat on the other side of the top shell.

remove the gill - 1
remove the gill - 2
remove the gill - 3

Pull off the Apron

Finally, turn the crab over to expose its underside. There you will find a flap known as the apron; for male crabs it will be long and thin, for females (as shown here) it will be wider. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body. It should come free fairly easily.

Now your crabs are ready to be cooked and eaten in (what remains of) their entirety.

Pull off the apron
Pull off the apron 2

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