To prepare live crawfish for the table, wash in cool, clean water. Discard any dead or non-responsive individuals. After washing, the crawfish can be blanched in boiling water for about five minutes.
Boiling cooks the meat, kills bacteria and turns the crawfish a brilliant red color. Crawfish can also be steamed, although the process takes longer than boiling.
Once cooked, crawfish may be served hot or cold. The meat is removed from the claws and tail and eaten as is or used in gumbo, etouffee and other dishes.
Crawfish boils and festivals are a popular tradition in Louisiana and other southern states.