Some crabs are too small to offer individually and also are commonly measured through the bushel. If friend don’t want to be play by some savvy seller – or worse, operation afoul of state government regulations – it’s necessary to understand what precisely constitutes a bushel the crabs. This value is topic to change, therefore pay fist to determinants that change it.

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On average, you can expect about 7 dozen crabs in a bushel. A bushel is a unit the volume, and also subject to change depending ~ above crab size, gender, molting condition, and even neighborhood laws. You will do it get an ext meat out of bigger crabs in a bushel, and less if they’ve just molted. Once buying crabs to eat, to buy the biggest ones available for a better dining experience. 

While no all crabs are offered by the bushel, that still important to recognize what goes behind the measurement. That details is crucial to getting the ideal value for your purchases.



A bushel is a unit of measurement that around equals about 64 pints (35.2L). It measures volume, not weight, and also is supplied to take care of dry goods in larger quantities.

Not all crabs room measured this way. Bigger specimens choose Dungeness or King crabs are marketed apiece. Among the most common crabs measure this way is blue crabs. These do for a an excellent baseline because that gauging crabs by the bushel, therefore the post will stick come that presumption for practicality.

Lidden, wood baskets are provided to measure up a bushel. States measure your bushels differently, for this reason a container that fits regulation in one area won’t necessarily be welcomed in another.

As much as possible, try to to buy a bushel basket from the state she in. This conserves you time and potential legal pertains to when the end crabbing.

When buying crabs, it’s constantly best to usage your very own bushel basket – part sellers might try to stubborn you on amount otherwise. It’s better to look knowledgeable and also dissuade that behavior. Having your own basket goes a long means towards sustaining that image.

Bushel volume will fluctuate also in the very same area. Below are a couple of reasons why.

Crab Sizing Variants

Crabs can autumn under a couple of distinct size categories, with amount inversely proportional to your size. These are taken by measuring length throughout their carapace – the back component of their 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 likely won’t conference “small” or “colossal” batches being marketed in the same amounts as the much more median size available. “Average” crabs usually fall somewhere approximately the medium-large range.

Having a smaller complete count is in reality a an excellent thing, unlike most other dry goods. You’ll get much much more value out of larger crabs, though the price will increase accordingly. It mostly boils under to detect the right balance in between size and price for your cooking plans.

Crab gender Differences

Crabs are one of the few animals where sex significantly changes your dining experience. While many sellers will be upfront about what castle selling, it’s not a bad idea come brush up on a couple of ways to spot the difference.

Telling lock Apart


Unlike many animals, you deserve to gauge gender distinction from size somewhat reliably. Female crabs, upon hitting maturity, will halt their expansion altogether. Masculine crabs will save at it, growing bigger and also meatier v age. Most female blue crabs max out at 4-5 customs across, and also anything above that will nearly always be male.

When checking between smaller crabs, you might need clearer attributes to residence in on. One of the easiest means to do that in ~ a glance is by checking their claws. Mrs crabs stay “red pond polish” as many aficionados say. Masculine crabs have a much more mundane blue coloration to your claws.

Another means to perform so is by spring at your underside’s “apron”. Male crabs have actually slim, elongated aprons pointing up. Mature woman crabs have rounder aprons the are quickly thrice the width of their masculine counterparts.

Sometimes, you can find a triangle apron – the just means you’ve got an immature female crab on her hands. If you’re out crabbing, release it immediately. If you’re the end buying, steer clear of them. They i will not ~ be worth the meat in their shells, and also you might be slapped through a fine.

Experience Changes

It’s been asserted that female crabs boast a sweeter, denser taste to your meat. Yes been little discovered come corroborate that. As soon as it come to an ext tangible differences, masculine crabs are very hard come beat.

Male crabs space larger, which means they have actually a lot an ext edible meat in your shells. Crabs are already pretty tedious to prepare. Unless you’re to buy deshelled crab meat, male crabs will provide you higher value for her time and also effort.

Female crabs likewise have a little bit of red ice cream protecting them to a minimal degree. In certain areas, the illegal to store or market immature mrs crabs. If you doing some amateur crabbing, the tidbit could save girlfriend money top top inconvenient fines. There’s likewise a record limit in pat for particular seasons.

While both crab genders are subject to minimum dimension limits, it’s a lot much more likely for female crabs come fall short due to their growth halting in ~ maturity. Ultimately comes the opportunity price of eat a mrs crab – they only mate as soon as in their lifetime, throughout a brief window of time. A woman crab cooked for a meal method a hypothetical loss of 2-8 million crab eggs in the water.

Female crabs room cheaper come buy than male ones, though generally in smaller quantities. That dynamic is commonly inverted because that most market animals. Masculine crabs just have more pronounced benefits for buyers and also sellers alike, and also make for a far better choice as soon as buying through the bushel.

Weight vs Meat


Crab shells room made that hard, heavy chitin. The a large contributor come a crab’s hefty bulk, with edible meat only contributing a measly 14% of their full weight at best. This value goes also lower if the crab has molted recently, as this process burns clean through their fat reserves.

For reference, the average blue crab weighs around a 3rd of a pound. An competent chef can harvest about 2 1/4th ounces of great meat per lb of crab. That amount is already pretty stingy, but a normal human would shed out top top even more during the picking process. Coupling that with the sheer fatigue of sorting through crab carapace and also viscera renders the whole ordeal exhausting.

This makes larger crabs ideal, together they provide an ext valuable meat for much less work. When it might sound counterintuitive, always buy the biggest crabs available for your bushel.



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


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

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Final Thoughts

A bushel of crabs measures volume, not quantity. It’s subject to readjust depending on her crab’s size, gender, and how freshly they’ve molted. You want to buy bigger crabs for her bushel to acquire the many meat off them. You also want come steer clear of woman crabs, as they won’t provide very an excellent returns because that the effort it takes to deshell them.