10 Reasons Soft Shell Crab Season is the Best on the OBX
Calling all seafood lovers! It's that time of the year again. Soft shell crab season is here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a limited time only. Don't miss your chance to indulge in this seasonal favorite while you can. Hurry, time's a tickin'.
Are you ready for a little specialty seafood inspiration? Here are 10 reasons why soft shell crab season is the best on the OBX.
1. Soft shell crabs are unique.
When blue crabs are in their molting stage, and if caught before developing their new shells, they become a favored delicacy among crab lovers of all ages. It's a time-honored tradition (literally) here on the Outer Banks.
2. Outer Banks soft shell crabs are so fresh, so delicious.
Indulging in the bounty of soft shell crab season on the Outer Banks is the perfect way to support the local OBX crabbers and fishermen, as well as enjoy the best boat-to-table cuisine found anywhere. Buy local!
3. Soft shell crabs are only available during such a small window in time.
From late April to early September, fluctuating in availability as with all seafood, soft shell crab season on the Outer Banks only happens for a few short but sweet months out of the year, so it is most definitely a much anticipated event each and every year here at the beach. It should probably be a holiday!
4. Blue crabs are an Outer Banks delicacy.
All crabs shed their shells but only a few can be eaten in their soft shell state. The illustrious blue crab is a unique specimen as it's the only soft-shell seafood sold commercially. How can one best describe the blue crabs when they're in a soft-shell state? Well, it's a palate-pleasing mix between the crispy, salty batter of the lightly-fried soft shells and the impeccable contrast to the sweet, mild-flavored tender meat within. As soon as you break through the crunchy skin, the hot, juicy crab meat will satisfy any soft shell lover's search for perfection. The mouthwatering flavor profile is sure to please.
5. Soft shell crabs can be prepared and enjoyed in so many ways.
Whether you eat them right out of the pan, on top of a bun, within a taco or battered and fried, you'll enjoy every soft shell crab dish you try. Choosing a favorite is the hardest part.
6. Soft shell crabs are specially prepared by OBX restaurants.
Outer Banks restaurants know how to elevate this dish to every possible plateau of flavor from simple and straightforward to elegant and gourmet. Here are our restaurant recommendations for The Best Soft Shell Crabs on the Outer Banks. You're welcome!
7. Catching soft shell crabs is an art and a science.
During its lifetime, the blue crab goes through several growth stages and may shed its hard outer shell near 20 or more times during its short three-year lifespan. Each time the crab molts, it’s a soft shell for only a few hours and must be removed from the water immediately in order to prevent the shell from hardening. Crabbers separate the crabs according to their progress in the molting process. When the crab molts, it’s very vulnerable and must be removed from the water. They should be kept alive until immediately before cooking, so usually, crabs must be eaten within four days of shedding. Want to learn more? You can read Everything You Need to Know About Soft Shell Crabs on the OBX here.
8. You can cook them easily in your Outer Banks rental.
Go ahead and put that awesome OBX vacation rental kitchen to good use. If you're a chef at heart or just an adventurous foodie in search of conquering a new dish, we suggest trying to prepare soft shell crabs right in the comfort of your vacation-home-away-from-home. If you're looking for some tips on just how to do it, you should read this article from entitled How I Cooked Soft-Shell Crabs at Home for the First Time by Epicurious.
9. It's your chance to support local OBX crabbers and fishermen.
Refer back to #2 on our list. Shop local, buy local, eat fresh!
10. Soft shell crab season is the perfect reason to plan an Outer Banks vacation.
Making an annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks during soft shell crab season is a perfectly valid reason to come visit us year after year. Why not make it a new family tradition? An annual family beach vacation during soft shell crab season—YES! Mark your calendars and come hungry.
What's your favorite way to eat soft shell crabs? Do you have a favorite go-to restaurant on the Outer Banks for soft shell crabs? We want to know!