Crabbing Essentials

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By Cindy Edwards

I love living in Savannah for so many wonderful reasons: the mild weather, the beautiful architecture, the friendly people and easy access to delicious, fresh seafood.  Georgia blue crabs are a family favorite. While they are simple to catch and cook, it can be a challenge to retrieve the meat.

Crabbing is fun. The simplest method is to tie a chicken neck to the end of a fishing line and submerge it in the water. Once the crab “bites” the line you slowly scoop it up with a net.

For those with access to the water, investing in crab traps can really pay off.  Just bait the traps, set them in the water and check on them after a few days.  This can yield a larger crop with little effort.

I visited my friend Tiffany for an afternoon of crabbing, cooking, cleaning and eating these feisty little crustaceans. After we secured a large batch, we were ready to reap our rewards.

Cooking crabs is just as easy as catching them. Start by simply bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  (I always add a couple of tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning to the water.) Add the live crabs to the boiling water and cook for a few minutes.  When they turn red, they are ready to be removed and cleaned.

Cleaning a blue crab:

1. Prepare a place.  I recommend an outside area that is a near a sink. Set up a table covered in newspaper for easy clean up.

2. Remove claws and set aside to open later with a nut/crab cracker. Discard extra “legs.”


3. Turn crab on backside. Pull back the breastplate and discard.

4. Remove the top shell that is directly above the breastplate.


5. Remove the face of the crab and scrape away the internal organs. Doing this under running water is helpful. Be sure to remove the yellow, feathery gills and throw them away.


6. Break the crab in half and you will see the white meat. Remove this and place into a bowl—if you can wait!!

7. Enjoy!!

The following crab cake recipe is my husband’s favorite.  It is very simple and really complements the flavor of the crab.

Edwards Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat (I prefer the white lump. Reserve the claw meat for stew.)
1 egg
1 tablespoon prepared, spicy or Dijon mustard (choose according to your own taste)
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce
1-1½ cups of breadcrumbs

Drain your crabmeat in a colander and dry with a paper towel. Mix the first seven ingredients together and form into patties.  Put on a cookie sheet, cover and chill for a few hours.  Remove from refrigerator and roll in the breadcrumbs. You may fry them on top of the stove or place them back on the cookie sheet, top with a little butter and cook in the oven at 350degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

I hope that this spring you enjoy the bounty of our Earth.

As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,




Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:


This is definitely very pleasing to look and I think it looks delicious more than it looks. This is definitely my kind of dish and also thank you for those tips you mentioned, I would definitely make one.

By grace wilson on April 12, 2013


Crabs are one of our family favorites too!! Even though blue crabs are a little tricky, they are definitely worth the work....yum!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!

By Michelle on March 25, 2013


Every time I love your blog. As a Madison, GA native, I grew up on rivers and lakes rather than the ocean. I really appreciate your sharing your family crab cake recipe!

By Viki Curtis on March 23, 2013


The first six steps tired me out, and then I got to step 7! And then the recipe. Great recipe. Thanks, Cindy. You always have something good for everyone.

By Sandra on March 22, 2013


My family enjoys going to the coast and catching crab. We all clean the crab and then make crab stew or crab cakes. Thanks for the instructions and illustrations that will make cleaning and preparing easier. The crab cake recipe is a winner!! Thanks,Cindy,for another interesting and helpful post. I will definitely be using these tips!

By Anne on March 20, 2013


You are making me HUNGRY! I am trying the recipe tonight...I am sure I will get a rave review. I love the posts and the variety of crafts, cooking and proper etiquette! Keep up the good work on your site. Donna

By Donna Eichholz on March 20, 2013


Just a thought, I use tray's to clean my crabs on.I have two of them one you fill up with crabs and the other one I pick, that much less to clean. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!! Faye

By Faye Ward on March 19, 2013

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm