DCFoodies.com "Whale" Crabs? - DCFoodies.com

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May 17, 2006



So, am I the only one who fails to understand why bigger = better? Why are large shrimp so much more expensive per pound than small shrimp? But large apples are not considered better than small apples. I would think that for large softshells, there is a larger amount of shell, too, so... And shrimp? If it's cleaned and tailed? Who cares? Or scallops? Am I missing some important gastronomic subtlety? I understand why baby vegetables are considered better - they usually have a more intense, less bitter flavor; is the reverse true for seafood?


With a crab or other shellfish, the surface area to volume falls as they get alrger. You get more insides in a larger crab. And since, to a point, the meat does not get tougher as the crab gets larger, you get more of the good stuff. On the other hand, it seems to me you get more of the roe and liver per crab in a smaller crab. Since I love that part, the smaller crabs have advantages.

People eat with their eyes so larger stuff sells for more. More demand=hogher relative price.

Larger crabs are rarer. If you harvest crabs randomly, you will be getting a certain percetage of crabs that are large and then getting smaller crabs that would otherwise get larger. As crabs get bigger, they grow at a slower rate (again its that surface area to volume thing). As we harvest more crabs, the porportion of crabs that reach collosal size is smaller.

Last reason I can come up with on short notice is that a larger crab requires less labor on the part of the diner. The diner is thus willing to pay more for the crab if all they value is the amount of crab eaten.

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