Happy National Crab Day! If you've ever been mystified on how to prepare one of these crustaceans at home, this is the guide for you. These strange, clawed creatures might look intimidating to you (especially if you pick up a live batch), but once you familiarize yourself with the proper techniques, making your very own crab boil will be easy!

Picking the Crab

Generally, the kind of fresh crab you want will be ones that are filled with good meat and juice. To pick a good batch of crabs, here are a few qualities you'll want to look out for.

  1. Heaviness for their size: If you want a crab that has good, juicy crab meat, look for ones that feel heavy for their size! Crabs that aren't as fresh will lose some of their moisture over time, and won't be as heavy.
  2. A firm feel: Another handy trick is pressing down against the abdominal plate of your crab (the triangular piece of shell on the bottom). If the shell is firm, with little give when you press down, that means the crab is plump and full.
  3. An older shell: Crabs shed their shells at several intervals through their lifespans. The time at which they are the most meaty and plump tends to be toward the end of their molting cycle, which means crabs with more worn down claws and shells are a bit more likely to have a lot of meat than crabs with newer shells.

Once you've got your fresh crabs picked out, it's time to cook!

Steaming the Crab

And here are a few great ways to enjoy your Yummly crabs!

Singaporean Chili Crab from Serious Eats

Singaporean Chili Crab from Serious Eats

Baked Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Chipotle Lime Sauce from Skinnytaste

Baked Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Chipotle Lime Sauce from Skinnytaste

Baked Crab Rangoon from Steamy Kitchen

Baked Crab Rangoon from Steamy Kitchen

Drunken Alaska King Crab Legs from Iowa Girl Eats

Drunken Alaska King Crab Legs from Iowa Girl Eats

Crab Cake Sliders with Spicy Mayo from The Comfort of Cooking

Crab Cake Sliders with Spicy Mayo from The Comfort of Cooking

Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Dipping Sauce from Serious Eats

Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Dipping Sauce from Serious Eats