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Preparation and cooking guidelines

Preparing and cooking crabs and lobsters is very simple. This is food at it freshest and is best eaten 'au naturel' to really taste the difference.

Very simple but very important -please ensure your shellfish are alive when you open the delivery box. If not then do not prepare for eating and ring Seafocal immediately. One of the safest ways to enjoy crabs and lobsters is to know thet they were fresh alive when received and then were cooked soon afterwards.

Shellfish must be cooked on the day of delivery, even if you do not want to eat it until the next day. Cooking a day or two ahead will not impair the flavour of chilled crabs and lobsters. Grilled lobster are best eaten freshly cooked so keep in the fridge prior to preparation for grilling. You must eat your shellfish within 2 days of cooking and you must keep shellfish chilled at all times prior to eating. You can freeze fresh cooked crabs and lobsters. For best results - freeze whole. You must eat on the same day as defrosting.

The reason why freshly cooked crabs and lobsters taste so good is that they are cooked quickly after being killed. Make sure that your shellfish are dead before cooking. If you are unfamiliar with the traditional way of dispatching crabs then an easy alternative way to do this is to first put the live shellfish into your freezer for 90 minutes and then cook immediately. To dispatch live shellfish in your freezer, remember to remove the shellfish from the polybox and put them into a plastic bag before gently placing them in your freezer.Please ask beforehand if you need advice on the preparation and cooking of live shellfish in your home .

Salty water:
Use very salty water, as salty as seawater. This will keep all the flavour in the crab or lobster. If the cooking water is not at least as salty as the shellfish then the flavour will migrate out of the shellfish into the boiling water.

Cooking times:
Boil crabs (500 grams to 1 kg) for 25 minutes. Larger cock brown and spider crabs cook for 30 minutes. Lobsters can be boiled for 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size. Lobsters can be medium grilled (cut in half longways) with regular butter basting until cooked through.

Boiled shellfish - drain and cool quickly:
When cooking is finished drain the shellfish in a clean sink (plug out) and run cold water over the top of them for 5 minutes to cool quickly, scrub clean with a clean stiff brush then place on a tray and leave to cool before putting them into the fridge.

Storing: Always store cooked shellfish in the fridge or freeze immediately after quickly cooling down to room temperature from cooking. Eat within 48 hours if stored in a fridge or up to one month if stored in a freezer. When you want to eat the shellfish do the preparation work quickly, working on one item at a time, leaving the others in the fridge. Keep the prepared food in the fridge and bring to table at the last moment.

Preparing for the table:
This gets easier after each time. If you've never done this before then please click here for guidelines for brown crab.

For further advice on the preparation and cooking of shellfish in your home please telephone 01548 852405
or email