Stone crabs are well worth a splurge. A specialty food item currently in season, they are pound for pound the most expensive shellfish sold in the United States.
Stone crabs are found in and around the water off the coast of Florida. About 40 percent of the state’s average, 3.1 million pounds comes from the waters surrounding the Florida Keys. Harvesting stone crabs is a unique process, because the claws are removed from a live animal and the crab is then returned to the ocean where it can re-grow its taken limb. Crab claws must be at least 2 3/4 inches in length, cannot be removed from a female crab with eggs, and can only be taken between the dates of October 15-May 15th each year. Stone crabs should be cooked before they are cooled or frozen. Otherwise, the claws will taste watery and be difficult to remove from the shell. This is the biggest reason why you will only see pre-cooked stone crabs at a gourmet grocer.
If you aren’t planning a trip to Florida any time soon but love shellfish, you can actually have them delivered to your home from one of the area’s most famous restaurants, Joe’s Stone Crab. Coming in at the number which depends on how many people you want to serve, for a group of four people the crabs will cost between $166.95 and $245.95, depending on their size, and can be shipped overnight to your door anywhere in the continental United States. Now that’s great take-out service!