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Lump Crab Meat: A Guide to Buying and Cooking

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard of lump crab meat. This delicious ingredient is a popular choice for many recipes, from crab cakes to dips, salads, and casseroles.

But what exactly is lump crab meat, and what makes it different from other types of crab meat?

A pile of lump crab meat sits on a bed of ice, glistening in the light. The delicate white and pink flesh is arranged in a loose mound, ready to be transformed into a delicious dish

Lump crab meat is the sweetest and most tender part of the crab's swimming fins. It is made up of broken pieces of jumbo lump and special crab meat.

Jumbo lump is the largest and most premium grade of crab meat, while special crab meat is made up of smaller pieces of white meat.

When combined, these two grades create a delicious blend that is perfect for a wide range of dishes.

If you're new to cooking with lump crab meat, you may have some questions about how to choose the right grade, how to store it, and how to cook with it.

In this article, we'll answer all of your questions and provide some tips and recipes for making the most of this delicious ingredient.

So whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to try something new, read on to learn more about lump crab meat.

Key Takeaways

  • Lump crab meat is a blend of jumbo lump and special crab meat and is the sweetest and most tender part of the crab's swimming fins.
  • There are several grades of crab meat, including jumbo lump, lump, backfin, and special, each with its own unique properties.
  • Lump crab meat is perfect for use in a wide range of dishes, from crab cakes to dips, salads, and casseroles.

Types and Grades of Lump Crab Meat

A mound of lump crab meat in various sizes and grades, arranged on a clean, white surface with a few scattered crab shells

If you're a seafood lover, you know that lump crab meat is a delicacy that can be used in a variety of dishes. Lump crab meat is the white body meat of the blue crab, and it is available in different grades. Here are the three most common types of lump crab meat:

Jumbo Lump Crabmeat

Jumbo lump crab meat is the highest grade of lump crab meat available. It is taken from the two large muscles that connect the crab's swimming fins.

Jumbo lump crab meat is characterized by its large, tender pieces and sweet flavor. It is perfect for dishes where appearance matters, such as crab cakes, crab cocktails, or crab salads.

Backfin Lump Meat

Backfin lump meat is the second-highest grade of lump crab meat. It is taken from the body of the crab and is a combination of jumbo lump and smaller flakes of white meat.

Backfin lump meat is ideal for dishes like crab soup, crab dip, or crab-stuffed mushrooms. It has a slightly different texture than jumbo lump meat, but it is still very flavorful.

Special Lump Crabmeat

Special lump crab meat is a blend of broken jumbo lumps and large chunks of body meat. It is less expensive than the jumbo or backfin grades, but still has bright color and superb flavor.

Special lump crab meat is best for dishes where appearance isn't as important, like crab cakes, dips, salads, or casseroles.

When choosing lump crab meat, it's important to pay attention to the grades. The higher the grade, the larger and more tender the meat will be.

Additionally, you should consider whether the crab meat is pasteurized or not. Pasteurized crab meat has been heated to kill bacteria, while unpasteurized crab meat is raw and must be cooked before eating.

Cooking and Recipes with Lump Crab Meat

A stainless steel mixing bowl filled with lump crab meat, surrounded by various herbs and spices, with a recipe book open to a page titled "Cooking with Lump Crab Meat"

If you're looking for a versatile and delicious ingredient to add to your meals, then lump crab meat is a great choice. It's low in fat, high in protein, and has a delicate flavour that pairs well with a wide range of ingredients.

Here are some ideas for how to use lump crab meat in your cooking.

Appetizers and Salads

Lump crab meat is perfect for appetizers and salads. You can make crab cakes by combining the meat with bread crumbs, mayonnaise, and seasonings like Old Bay, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.

Form the mixture into patties and fry them until golden brown. Serve with a citrusy sauce garnished with chives and herb sprigs.

Another great option is crab salad.

Combine lump crab meat with avocado, bell peppers, onions, and a dressing made from mayonnaise, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Serve on a bed of greens for a light and refreshing salad.

Main Courses and Soups

Lump crab meat is also a great addition to main courses and soups.

For example, you can make crab bisque by combining lump crab meat with a creamy base made from milk, cream, and butter. Add some vegetables like onions, celery, and carrots, and season with Old Bay, smoked paprika, and fresh herbs like parsley and basil.

Another option is seafood gumbo, which combines lump crab meat with shrimp, salmon, and other seafood in a spicy Cajun broth.

Serve with rice and crusty bread for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Crab Meat Pairings and Seasonings

When it comes to pairing lump crab meat with other ingredients, there are many options.

For example, you can stuff mushrooms with a mixture of lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, shallots, garlic, and lemon zest.

Bake until golden brown and serve as a tasty appetizer.

If you're looking for a more substantial meal, try making crab quiche.

Combine lump crab meat with eggs, cream, cheese, and seasonings like Old Bay and fresh herbs. Pour into a pie crust and bake until set.

Finally, you can serve lump crab meat on its own with a simple imperial sauce made from mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Old Bay.

This is a classic Maryland-style dish that's perfect for a summer picnic or backyard barbecue.

Frequently Asked Questions

A can of lump crab meat surrounded by various frequently asked questions in bold text

Where can I find recipes specifically for lump crab meat?

You can find a variety of recipes specifically for lump crab meat online.

Chef's Resource has a great guide on how to cook lump crab meat, and Saltwater Grove Seafood provides a few recipe ideas for how to prepare it.

You can also search for recipes on popular recipe websites like BBC Good Food, Delish, and Allrecipes UK.

How does the price of lump crab meat compare to other forms of crab meat?

Lump crab meat is generally more expensive than other forms of crab meat, such as claw meat or backfin meat.

This is because lump crab meat is made up of larger, more premium pieces of meat. However, the price can vary depending on the season and availability of the crab meat.

It's important to shop around and compare prices to ensure you're getting the best deal.

What distinguishes jumbo lump crab meat from other types?

Jumbo lump crab meat comes from the largest muscles in the crab's body and is considered the highest quality crab meat.

It has a sweet, delicate flavour and a firm texture, making it perfect for dishes like crab cakes and salads.

Other types of crab meat, such as backfin and claw meat, are made up of smaller pieces of meat and are typically less expensive.

Can you recommend where to purchase high-quality lump crab meat?

There are many places where you can purchase high-quality lump crab meat, including seafood markets, grocery stores, and online retailers.

Some popular online retailers include Lobster Anywhere and Cameron's Seafood.

It's important to look for fresh, high-quality crab meat and to check the expiration date before purchasing.

What are the health implications of consuming canned lump crab meat?

Canned lump crab meat can be a convenient and affordable option, but it's important to be aware of the potential health implications.

Canned crab meat can be high in sodium and may contain preservatives.

It's best to look for canned crab meat that is packed in water rather than oil, and to check the label for any added ingredients.

Why might one opt for lump crab meat over other varieties?

Lump crab meat is a premium variety of crab meat that is prized for its sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture.

It's a great option for dishes where the crab meat is the star of the show, such as crab cakes and salads.

While it may be more expensive than other varieties of crab meat, the quality and taste are worth it for many seafood lovers.