Can You Eat Imitation Crab Raw?

by Charlie

Did you know that imitation crab was first invented in the mid of 1970s?

The imitation crab meat was introduced in the United States in the 1980s and has become a popular food for Americans, with annual sales of over 250 million US dollars.

That aside, can you eat imitation crab raw? Yes, you can eat raw imitation crab. Imitation crab meat isn’t typically raw. The surimi is already cooked when you purchase it, and it must have been in a refrigerator continually, which makes it safe to eat right away.

However, after buying the imitation crab, you must ensure that you always keep it and any leftover in the fridge or frozen until that particular time that you want to use it. Try never to eat imitation crab from a package that is stored at room temperature because it could be very dangerous to eat.

How is Raw Imitation Crab Made?

Imitation crab is a type of seafood made of starch and finely pulverized white fish called surimi that has been shaped to resemble the leg meat of Japanese spider crab.

The major ingredients used in the manufacture of imitation crab include:

  • Starch such as potato, corn or wheat but in moderation 
  • Water 
  • Sorbitol and sugar to help in sweetening, freezing and thawing
  • Protein such as egg white to improve color and texture 
  • Salt (sodium chloride) to help form a sturdy gel 
  • Vegetable oil such as soybean or sunflower to improve shelf life and texture 

Most people love imitation crab because it contains low calories and fats, which is important for managing weight or shedding excess fats. Eating foods low in calories and fat is very healthy for protecting you against heart diseases, among many others. Three ounces of imitation crab meat has only 81 calories, 17 mg of cholesterol, and less than a gram of fats.

Other people like it because it is rich in the required amount of phosphorus by the body for healthy bones, teeth, proper functioning of the kidney, and muscles. It also keeps a regular heartbeat and supports the normal functioning of the nerve. The body needs around 70mg of phosphorus in a day, and just three ounces of imitation crab meat give 240mg of that, which is great.

Is Raw Imitation Crab Beneficial?

Imitation crab is made from surimi fish flesh whose bones are removed, washed to remove fats and unwanted bits then minced to form a paste. Since fish is highly nutritious, imitation crab will also have benefits to your health.

So, what’s the health benefit of eating raw imitation crab? Imitation crab is a good source of omega-three fatty acids that are important for brain development. This meat is also rich in dietary cholesterol essential, and vital for cell integrity without increasing your total cholesterol level.

With such nutritious components, it’s healthy to consume by all family members including children. 

But to get maximum health benefits, you should consider buying the freshest and frozen imitation crab meat if you have toddlers consuming it. 

Babies can also be disadvantaged by eating raw imitation crab due to additives, some mercury, a high amount of sodium, and flavors that you may not want to introduce to your baby frequently at that young age. But the bottom line is to source from a reputable source. 

Are You Supposed to Cook Imitation Crab Meat?

The imitation crab is already fully cooked, so you may not need to cook it again. The best and most convenient way to warm it if you don’t want to eat a cold one is by steaming. Arrange the imitation crab meat around the steaming basket and steam for 2 to 5 minutes until it is hot enough. You can also gently heat to warm since heating it too hot, quickly, or longer degrade its quality faster.

If it is a small quantity, you can use a microwave and heat at around 50% power in an interval of 25 to 30 seconds until warm as required. Alternatively, you can warm from small to large quantities of imitation crab in a covered pan by gently reheating at a temperature of 200 to 300 degrees until the whole amount is heated through.

Is Imitation Crab Bad for You?

Clearly, imitation crab is healthy and nutritious. However, there is a group of people that need to be careful while consuming it. For example, if you have high blood pressure taking lots of imitation crab may not be good for you. For gluten intolerant individuals, imitation crab made from wheat isn’t good for them. 

That said, imitation crab is bad for you if you’ve high blood pressure or are gluten intolerant. The considerably high sodium levels may make hypertension worse. 

When purchasing, be keen to check on the ingredients to make sure your body can tolerate it. Otherwise, imitation crab is good for most people.

Final Thoughts

  • Imitation crab is a type of seafood made of starch and finely pulverized white fish called surimi that has been shaped to resemble the leg meat of Japanese spider crab.
  • You can eat raw imitation crab because it isn’t typically raw but already cooked when purchased. 
  • Raw imitation crab is a good source of omega-three fatty acids that are important for brain development.
  • Imitation crab is good for you but you need to be a bit cautious if you are gluten intolerant or have hypertension. Always check on the specific ingredients before making a purchase. 

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