Note from the Island Fishmonger: Here’s to the season of the ‘Sweet Meat’

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By Scott Dolan

So, two crabs swim up to a sand bar.

The crustaceans ask, “Do you serve crabs here?”

The sand bartender says, “Of course … we serve everyone!”

Well, your local fish markets are now also serving crabs to everyone. The one and only Florida stone crabs are now available as stone crab season just started on Oct. 15 and this Gulf Coast delicacy, nicknamed “sweet meat” (by me), will continue to be served until May 15.

Here are some super fun facts about crabs that you might not know:

If a crab loses a claw it will grow it back, making it sustainable (most of us locals know that).

Big Water employees Thomas and Bubbles celebrate the arrival of stone crabs.

A crab’s teeth are in its stomach (I just learned that myself).

Males grow one larger claw. The purpose is to impress the female crabs.

The largest variety of crab species in a single country is found in the U.S. — probably the main reason we are the greatest country in the world.

Crabs have 10 legs, making them bad dancers because of their five left feet. Also, they walk and swim sideways, so I assume they dance sideways.

Crabs are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.

Crabs are delicious, as their taste reflects their diet of plants, fish and shellfish.

Crab is a great source of protein, B12 and Omega3.

Stone crabs are a bit scarce in the beginning of the season and during the holidays, as there are more people in Florida who want to eat them than the crab boat captains can supply.

Because of this supply-and-demand issue, it makes this particular crab a bit expensive at times. There are only a few places in our surrounding area where you can either buy or be served them at a reasonable price and on a consistent basis. Local stone crab boat captains don’t usually supply the big supermarkets, so you need to know the local spots of which to go.

Here are some of the places to find stone crabs in our immediate surrounding area during the crab season: Big Water Fish Market, Walt’s Fish Market, and Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar.

Crabs are already cooked when you purchase them. If you’re taking some home to eat, a good fish market will crack them for you. The traditional Floridian-way to serve is cracked, with a lemon, and served chilled with a stone crab mustard sauce — and nothing else.

Life is good when you have stones on your plate. Time to get crackin’ and enjoy!

Live well … eat crab.         

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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