What is Stone crab (Menippe spp.)?

Stone crab Stone crab

Common names for Stone crab

Florida stone crab, Gulf stone crab

Other languages for Stone crab

  • French name: Crabe
  • Italian name: Granchio
  • German name: Steinkrabbe

Introduction to Stone crab

Florida’s regulatory agencies recognize three species as true stone crabs: the Florida variety (Menippe mercenaria), the Gulf crab (M. adina) and a hybrid resulting from interbreeding of the two primary species. Stone crabs are distributed throughout the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines from Texas to the Carolinas, although almost all commercial collection occurs in Florida. The fishery is unusual in that Florida law prohibits the landing of whole stone crabs; only the big front claws of the crab are retained. Fishermen are permitted to take claws with a propodus of 2 3/4 inches, which is the claw’s pincher section measured from the “elbow” joint to the tip of the pincher. Fishermen must carefully return the stone crab to the sea after removing the claws. When the claws are properly removed, a thin membrane develops over the incision, preventing it from bleeding. A legal-sized crab can regenerate a harvestable claw in three annual molts. Commercial crabs are caught using traps that are rebaited every other day.

Product profile for Stone crab

Claws of stone crabs are smooth and rounded. When the shells are cooked, they acquire a beautiful orange color, but the tips stay black. Meat is grey when raw and white when cooked. The flesh has a lobster-like look to it. Like a mix between crab and lobster, the claw meat is sweet, mild, and firm. One Florida gourmet described the shell as “harder than a landlord’s heart.”

Cooking tips for Stone crab

The best way to prepare stone crab is to boil it. Simple treatment is all that is required for the rich meat. Serve chilled with hot melted butter and a squeeze of lemon after cracking the hard shells with a mallet or nutcracker. Serve with a lime-and-dill vinaigrette or lime wedges and mayonnaise. Refrigerate frozen claws for 12 to 18 hours to thaw. When claws are thawed under cold running water, they lose their quality. Do not allow to defrost at room temperature.

Nutrition facts for Stone crab

Calories: 71 Fat Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 53 mg Sodium: 353 mg Protein: 17.6 g Omega 3: N/A

Primary product forms for Stone crab

Fresh: Cooked whole claws Frozen: Cooked whole claws

Global supply for Stone crab

United States, Iran