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Can You Freeze Dressed Crab?

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By Ross Young

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If you’re fortunate enough to be able to enjoy some fresh crab once in a while, there’s no doubt that it’s best enjoyed while it’s nice and fresh. But what happens if you have some dressed crab meat leftover? Can you safely freeze it? 

Dressed crab can be frozen for up to 6 months. Dressing a crab is simply removing the meat from the shell. You will need to place your crab meat in a freezer-safe bag, submerge it in milk (really!) and place it in the freezer as quickly as you can to preserve its freshness.

Does Dressed Crab Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Dressed Crab? No

How to Freeze Dressed Crab

If you’ve ever eaten crab before, you will know that preserving its freshness is of the utmost importance. If your crab meat has been lying in the fridge out of its shell for several days, it’s probably best not to freeze it at all. 

However, if your crab meat is still nice and fresh and you don’t want it to go to waste, there’s a trick that is known to preserve it perfectly in the freezer – submerge it in milk.

Below are the steps you need to take to preserve your crab meat safely:

  1. Cool
    Once your dressed crab has been cooked, you will need to leave it out at room temperature until it has cooled. It’s important not to leave it for too long, however, as it will spoil. 
  2. Add to a Freezer-Safe Bag
    Place your crab meat in a suitably sized freezer-safe bag. The bigger, the better, to accommodate the next step.
  3. Add Milk
    Once your crab meat is lying in the bottom of your freezer-safe bag, pour in some milk until the crab meat is fully submerged, and then seal the bag. 
  4. Label and Freeze
    Write today’s date, as well as the use-by date on the front of the bag, before placing it in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze crab meat that has been submerged in milk for up to six months.

3 Tips for Freezing Dressed Crab

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing dressed crab to have the best results:

Freeze it with Milk
While it might seem a little bizarre, freezing your crab meat in milk is an excellent way to preserve its taste and freshness. The main reason for this is that milk is rich in nutrients, which act to preserve the unique flavour and texture of the crab meat and prevent it from spoiling.

Refrigerate for up to 5 Days
You can refrigerate dressed crab for up to five days, providing it is covered well. That being said, crab meat is always best enjoyed when it’s super fresh, so try and enjoy your crab on the day of purchase. 

Freeze Whole Crab
If you’ve bought (or caught) a whole crab, you can freeze it after cooking it to preserve it for the same amount of time. One important thing to note – you should never put a live crab in the freezer.

Although crabs are known to survive at cold temperatures, freezing them while they’re living isn’t a smart move. You should cook your crab first, then proceed with freezing it. 

How Long Can You Freeze Dressed Crab?

You can freeze dressed crab for anywhere between 3-6 months. Although this gives you a fair amount of time to eat it, we recommend consuming your frozen crab as quickly as you can.

This ensures it will taste great when you come to enjoy it, and you don’t need to worry about the meat spoiling. If you leave it for any longer than six months, the crab’s taste and texture are likely to deteriorate. 

You Can Freeze Dressed Crab for up to 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Dressed Crab?

The only way to defrost dressed crab is in the fridge. You should never defrost crab meat at room temperature or in the microwave.

Simply remove your bag of frozen crab from the freezer and allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, drain the milk from the bag and cook your crab immediately. 

Can You Refreeze Dressed Crab?

No – you should only ever freeze crab once. This is true if you’re freezing dressed crab or a whole crab. If you speak to anyone that has ever eaten or prepared crab, they will tell you that crab meat should really be enjoyed on the day it is caught.

Freezing is an acceptable way to preserve it for longer if you have too much to enjoy in one sitting, but you should never freeze crab more than once. 

Does Dressed Crab Freeze Well?

Ultimately, dressed crab freezes reasonably well when it is submerged in milk. As we’ve mentioned throughout, crab is best enjoyed fresh, but freezing it won’t hurt you.

After all, freezing dressed crab is better than letting it go to waste, so it’s a reasonable move considering the alternative. 

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