Some crabs room too tiny to market individually and also are typically measured by the bushel. If friend don’t want to be played by some savvy vendor – or worse, operation afoul the state government regulations – it’s necessary to understand what precisely constitutes a bushel that crabs. This value is topic to change, therefore pay fist to determinants that alter it.

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On average, you have the right to expect about 7 dozen crabs in a bushel. A bushel is a unit that volume, and subject to change depending on crab size, gender, molting condition, and even regional laws. You’ll get much more meat the end of enlarge crabs in a bushel, and less if they’ve just molted. Once buying crabs come eat, to buy the largest ones obtainable for a far better dining experience. 

While no all crabs are marketed by the bushel, that still vital to know what goes behind the measurement. That info is vital to getting the ideal value for her purchases.



A bushel is a unit of measure that about equals about 64 pints (35.2L). It actions volume, not weight, and is offered to take care of dry items in larger quantities.

Not every crabs space measured this way. Larger specimens favor Dungeness or King crabs are sold apiece. Among the most typical crabs measure this means is blue crabs. These do for a an excellent baseline for gauging crabs by the bushel, for this reason the post will stick come that presumption for practicality.

Lidden, wooden baskets are provided to measure a bushel. Says measure your bushels differently, so a container the fits regulation in one area i will not ~ necessarily be accepted in another.

As much as possible, shot to buy a bushel basket indigenous the state you’re in. This saves you time and also potential legal involves when out crabbing.

When to buy crabs, it’s always best to usage your very own bushel basket – some sellers might try to stiff you on quantity otherwise. It’s far better to look at knowledgeable and dissuade that behavior. Having actually your very own basket go a long method towards supporting that image.

Bushel volume will fluctuate even in the exact same area. Listed below are a few reasons why.

Crab Sizing Variants

Crabs can fall under a few distinct size categories, with quantity inversely proportional to your size. These room taken by measure length throughout their carapace – the back component of your shell.

SizeLength Across Dozens every bushel (Total)
Small4-5 inches8-9 dozen (96-108)
Medium5-5 ½ inches7-8 dozen (84-96)
Large5 ½ – 6 inches6-7 dozen (72-84)
Jumbo6-6 ½ inches5-6 dozen (60-72)
Colossalx > 6 ½ inchesx > 5 dozen (x

While these arrays are standardized, you most likely won’t conference “small” or “colossal” batches being offered in the same quantities as the more median sizes available. “Average” crabs usually loss somewhere roughly the medium-large range.

Having a smaller total count is actually a good thing, unlike many other dry goods. You’ll get much much more value the end of bigger crabs, though the price will climb accordingly. It primarily boils down to finding the ideal balance in between size and also price because that your cooking plans.

Crab sex Differences

Crabs are one of the few animals where gender significantly transforms your dining experience. While most sellers will certainly be upfront about what they’re selling, it’s not a negative idea to brush up on a few ways come spot the difference.

Telling lock Apart


Unlike most animals, you deserve to gauge gender distinction from dimension somewhat reliably. Mrs crabs, upon hitting maturity, will certainly halt their growth altogether. Male crabs will store at it, farming bigger and meatier v age. Many female blue crabs max out at 4-5 customs across, and anything over that will virtually always it is in male.

When checking in between smaller crabs, you might need clearer qualities to residence in on. Among the easiest methods to do that at a glance is by checking your claws. Mrs crabs undertake “red nail polish” as most aficionados say. Masculine crabs have a an ext mundane blue coloration to their claws.

Another method to perform so is by feather at their underside’s “apron”. Masculine crabs have slim, elongated aprons pointing up. Mature mrs crabs have rounder aprons that are quickly thrice the broad of their masculine counterparts.

Sometimes, you could find a triangular apron – that just way you’ve got an immature female crab on her hands. If you’re the end crabbing, release it immediately. If you’re the end buying, steer clear of them. They wouldn’t be worth the meat in your shells, and also you can be slapped v a fine.

Experience Changes

It’s been declared that mrs crabs boast a sweeter, denser taste to your meat. There’s been small discovered to corroborate that. Once it comes to an ext tangible differences, masculine crabs are very hard come beat.

Male crabs space larger, which way they have actually a lot much more edible meat in their shells. Crabs are currently pretty tedious come prepare. Uneven you’re to buy deshelled crab meat, masculine crabs will give you greater value for her time and effort.

Female crabs likewise have a bit of red ice protecting them come a minimal degree. In specific areas, that illegal to store or offer immature female crabs. If you doing part amateur crabbing, the tidbit can save you money top top inconvenient fines. There’s also a capture limit in play for certain seasons.

While both crab genders room subject come minimum dimension limits, that a lot an ext likely because that female crabs to fall quick due come their growth halting at maturity. Lastly comes the opportunity price of eating a female crab – they only mate as soon as in their lifetime, during a brief window of time. A woman crab cooked because that a meal method a theoretical loss that 2-8 million crab egg in the water.

Female crabs space cheaper to buy 보다 male ones, though usually in smaller sized quantities. The dynamic is typically inverted because that most industry animals. Male crabs simply have much more pronounced benefits for buyers and sellers alike, and make because that a much better choice as soon as buying by the bushel.

Weight vs Meat


Crab shells space made the hard, hefty chitin. That a huge contributor to a crab’s hefty bulk, through edible meat just contributing a measly 14% the their total weight in ~ best. This worth goes even lower if the crab has molted recently, as this process burns clean v their fat reserves.

For reference, the average blue crab weighs about a 3rd of a pound. An competent chef can harvest around 2 1/4th ounces of an excellent meat per lb of crab. That amount is currently pretty stingy, but a normal person would lose out top top even an ext during the picking process. Coupling that with the sheer tiredness of sorting v crab carapace and also viscera renders the whole ordeal exhausting.

This makes larger crabs ideal, as they provide much more valuable meat for less work. While it could sound counterintuitive, constantly buy the largest crabs available for her bushel.



Just due to the fact that your crab is huge doesn’t guarantee it’s filled through meat. Crabs experience an annual process called molting, and also this severely alters the animal’s problem for a great chunk the time.

Molting Process

Molting is the shedding and also replacement of specific animals’ outer layers. Because that crabs, this way the carapace is done away with, alongside a couple of other organs like gills and also eyes. It’s really easy to mistake molting crabs with dead ones.


This might vary a bit, yet a bushel the average-sized (medium-large) crabs need to feed at least 6-8 people. Most human being can eat about 8-12 crab’s precious of meat. If you’re offer it with various other food, you can lower the approximation come about half a dozen crabs every person.

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Final Thoughts

A bushel the crabs procedures volume, no quantity. It’s topic to change depending on your crab’s size, gender, and also how newly they’ve molted. You desire to buy enlarge crabs for her bushel to get the most meat off them. You likewise want to steer clean of woman crabs, as they won’t provide very an excellent returns because that the effort it takes come deshell them.