From May through September commercial fishermen of the Mid Atlantic and Gulf coasts harvest soft shelled blue crabs. These delicious crabs are considered a delicacy around the world.
During molting, the crab increases its size by roughly one-third. A blue crab may shed its hard outer shell many times during its life span. When a crab sheds, it must be removed from the water immediately in order to prevent the shell from becoming hard.
Soft crabs that are purchased live should be kept moist and stored in a drip-proof tray, between wet newspapers or paper towels in a refrigerator.
Preparing a fresh soft crab for cooking is simple to do. Using sharp scissors, cut off the mouth and eyes. Cut off the apron. Lift the top shell and snip out the gills on each side. Rinse under cold water and drain. They are now ready to cook. After cooking, the entire soft crab is edible.