Seafood is a very popular delicacy, maybe it is even your favorite dish.
People all around the world enjoy eating seafood ranging from fish to crustaceans such as shrimp, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shellfish.
This is not only because they are protein-rich and nutritious but also because of their wonderful and unique taste.
Hermit crabs are a type of unique crab known for their ability to find and switch shells since they do not have their own.
They are a popular pet amongst many people and are considered to be very cute and endearing, so you never hear people discussing whether or not they are eaten.
Can You Eat A Hermit Crab?
Yes, you can. As much as it is frowned upon amongst people who have them as pets and vegetarians, they are edible. However, they are not a common menu item, which is why you won’t find them in a seafood market or grocery store.
Hermit crabs are enjoyed as a delicacy in some places, particularly the coconut crab, which is widely known and eaten in the South Pacific Islands.
The coconut crab is a hermit crab that lives on land, and it is considered to be the largest land crab on the planet. They grow to be around three feet across and just over a foot long. They also weigh around 9 lbs. Their size is what makes them a top contender as the most consumed hermit crab. They are also said to be tastier than other types of crab.
Their name is derived from their diet since they like to feed on coconut flesh. They are so committed to eating the coconuts to the point that they will drag coconuts up the tree and drop them to crack them open. Since coconut crabs are hermits, they are also omnivorous scavengers. This means that they also eat fruits, nuts, carcasses, and aquatic plants apart from eating coconuts.
Why aren’t hermit crabs popular for eating?
Other than the fact that people prefer to keep hermit crabs as friendly pets, there are other reasons why restaurants aren’t exactly jumping to have them on their menus.
Hermit crabs do not have a lot of meat.
Hermit crabs are smaller than regular crabs. This means that most average and small-sized crabs have very little meat on them, which doesn’t make them enjoyable to eat.
They are not as tasty.
Even if you decide to eat a lot of hermit crabs to compensate for the little amounts of meat that they have, their meat isn’t as good.
Hermit crab meat can be tasty for some people,with most people indicating that it is somewhat similar to shrimp but most people do not like the taste. The taste of their meat is probably peculiar because of their diet.
3. They are expensive
Hermit crabs are considered to be expensive to buy. Since they do not have a lot of meat, the payoff for buying them for eating purposes is not worth it.
4. They are scavengers.
Most people probably prefer not to eat any scavenger animals, because of their eating habits. Hermit crabs will eat anything, ranging from crustacean carcasses, moulting exoskeletons, microalgae etc. Unfortunately, because we live on a highly polluted planet, they also consume plastic pollutants. This, as you can imagine, makes people steer away from eating them.
How do you cook a hermit crab?
If you are still interested in eating hermit crab either out of curiosity or because you like seafood, there are some guidelines you can follow. All you will need is a colander, a stock pot for cooking it, your favourite spices and seasonings and some vegetables or any side dish you prefer. The steps for preparing hermit crab are as follows
- Choosing the right hermit crabs is essential.
In order to enjoy the meat, try to find larger crabs with substantial amounts of meat on it.
- Wash the crab properly.
This step applies to all seafood. To avoid getting sick, make sure you wash the crab and shell properly to the best of your ability to remove dirt and debris. Warm water is best for cleaning the crab to remove the bacteria and toxins.
- Boil the crab
Using your stock pot, bring some water to a boil with your seasoning of choice and some salt. For the garlic lovers, this is where you will add them. When the water starts boiling, put the hermit crabs inside, cover them and let them cook for five to ten minutes.
- Since we’ve already established that hermit crabs’ meat alone won’t suffice, add your vegetables to enhance the flavor and let them cook for another five to ten minutes.
- Drain the excess water and serve.
The boiling of crabs not only kills the crab but also makes it easier to break the shells before eating them.
NEVER eat a crab you already found dead, they should always be cooked alive or if you decide to kill them before cooking, cook them within 10 to 15 minutes of you killing them.
You should also not eat a hermit crab raw.
Now you have the answer.
Yes, hermit crabs can be eaten, but they are not the fleshiest or tastiest crustaceans out there.
If you want a filling serving of seafood, opt for other dishes such as fish and a seafood enthusiast favorite, lobster.