How Long Does Uncooked Crab Last in the Fridge?

by Charlie
How Long Does Uncooked Crab Last in the Fridge

If you have purchased some crab, you might be wondering how long you can safely keep this in the fridge without cooking it for. It’s important to ensure you store crab properly and use it within the correct space of time, or it may be dangerous to eat.

How long does uncooked crab last in the fridge? Uncooked crab meat should be used within three or four days of purchase, and needs to be kept in the fridge at all times prior to this point (unless it’s live). Once the crab has been cooked, it should last another three or four days. 

If the crab is close to expiry when you cook it, make sure you use the cooked crab up more quickly.

How Long Can You Store Uncooked Crab For?

As long as the crab meat is reasonably fresh when you purchase it, it should keep for around four days in the fridge, especially if you put it there promptly when you get home from the store. Don’t leave uncooked crab at room temperature.

It’s a good idea to keep crab in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is usually the bottom of the fridge (since cold air sinks). If you have an ice cube tray, store the crab near to it as this will be the coldest part.

You shouldn’t keep crab for longer than about four days, even if you keep it in the coldest part of the fridge, but as long as it is stored properly and it was bought fresh, it should be okay for this long.

Keep the crab in its original packaging or transfer it to a clean, airtight container to keep it fresh. Don’t leave it uncovered in the fridge, as increased airflow could make it go off more quickly, and will dry the meat out.

How Can You Tell If Uncooked Crab Has Gone Bad?

If you aren’t sure about some crab you have bought, try smelling it. If it has a strong or sour smell, it is no longer safe to eat. You can also inspect the surface of the crab for mold or discoloration. Any fuzzy flecks mean that it has gone off and should be thrown away.

Check the texture of the meat, too. If the crab meat has gone bad, you may see pockets of liquid that seep out if you squeeze the meat or compress the shell. If this occurs, do not eat the meat.

If you notice that the crab has gone slimy, you should also throw it away, as this is a sure sign that bacteria have started to break down the flesh.

Crab will not necessarily produce a bad smell when it has gone bad, so be careful about eating it. It’s a good idea to defer to the use by dates and not to keep crab for longer than four days in the fridge.

Some people taste crab meat to determine whether it is bad, but it is best not to do this if you can avoid it. While a small amount is unlikely to hurt you, it’s still better to use your other senses and the length of time that you have had the meat for to determine whether it is safe.

Will Crab Meat Give You Food Poisoning?

Yes, if crab meat has been stored incorrectly or kept for too long, it could give you food poisoning. It is considered less risky than some other kinds of seafood, but it is still possible to get very sick if you eat moldy crab meat.

Food poisoning can range massively in severity, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Do not eat crab if you have any reason to think it has gone off. If you have forgotten to put it back in the fridge, for example, you should throw it away. 

How Long Can You Leave Uncooked Crab at Room Temperature?

You should not leave uncooked crab at room temperature for any longer than is necessary. Above 40 degrees F, it will quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, and this can multiply very fast at room temperature. Even in a relatively cool room, crab should be refrigerated within two hours.

In a warm environment, bacteria will grow even more quickly, and if the room is above 90 degrees F, you should not leave crab meat out for longer than an hour, or it will become unsafe to eat.

It’s best to put crab meat into the fridge as soon as you can and keep it there, whether it is raw or cooked. Leaving it out exposes it to bacterial spread and it will very quickly spoil. If you have accidentally left crab meat out for more than two hours, throw it away even if it smells and looks fine, because it won’t be safe to eat.

Can You Freeze Uncooked Crab?

Yes, you can safely freeze raw crab meat as long as it is still fresh. However, you should not freeze live raw crabs if they have not been cleaned. They will contain bacteria and undigested food, and this could cause rotting even when the meat is frozen.

It’s fine to freeze crab meat that you have purchased from a store, and this should keep well in the freezer provided it is placed in an airtight container. Be aware, however, that if you have caught your own crabs, you cannot put them in the freezer without processing them first.

You may find that crab meat doesn’t taste as good after it has been frozen. Freezing can affect the texture, too, making it stringy and possibly chewy. If you have to freeze crab meat, you may want to use it in stews to hide the texture. If possible, use fresh crab meat, rather than frozen.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to store uncooked crab meat in the fridge until you are ready to cook and use it. If you accidentally leave uncooked crab meat at room temperature, make sure that you throw it away, because it will quickly become unsafe to eat. Uncooked crab meat shouldn’t be stored for longer than about four days in the fridge.

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