Florida Stone Crabs, a sustainable delicacy

Florida Stone Crabs, a sustainable delicacy

Every year Floridians and tourist alike look with anticipation to October, which means hurricane season is winding down and a more exciting time of year commences, Stone Crab Season!  From October 15 – May 15, a unique regional food takes center stage and no visit to Miami is complete without a taste of this delicious local delicacy.

Florida Stone crabs are distinct not only for the sweet and buttery meat but because they are an actual renewable food source. The harvest and how they are fished both commercially and recreationally must adhere to very strict guidelines.  Every year during the harvest, only one claw is removed, it must be a minimum of 2.75 inches long (70mm), and immediately released back into the water in order for the one-year period of regeneration to take place. This exceptional species as a way of self-defense or to escape when being hunted by a predator is able to survive with one claw or even clawless.

At the moment of Harvest, they are immediately boiled then chilled, to prevent the meat from sticking to the shell. They are found throughout the gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast but more than 90 % are harvested in Florida.

One institution always comes to mind when you think of Stone Crabs and that’s Joe’s Stone Crabs, a legendary establishment with humble beginnings that started selling fish out of bungalow in 1913.  An Ichthyologist (fish scientist) brought the crabs to Joe to see if they were edible and the rest is history. The stone crabs are prepared by steaming them and served cold in their cracked shells with a traditional mustard sauce.

A gastronomic ritual in Miami Beach which has been visited by famous celebrities from Al Capone to Frank Sinatra. It’s part of Miami’s Culinary history and one of the finest ways to experience this local specialty, a must visit.


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