Numerous different types of crab are eaten all over the world, from the popular horse crab in Asia to the succulent, sweet Dungeness crab found in the Pacific Northwest. Crab meat can provide essential vitamins and minerals to the consumer, and it is generally believed to be a healthy addition to the human diet. For people who are concerned about fat in their diets, crab meat is actually extremely low fat, as long as it isn't paired with rich butter and cream sauces. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a selection of different types of crab, or you may be limited to only one or two varieties which can withstand the shipping process.
The East coast of the United States has an abundant number of different types of crab. In Maine and parts of Canada, diners can find the so called peekytoe or bay crab, while the blue or softshell crab favors many parts of the East Coast, especially Maryland. Further South, consumers often admire the large arms of the stone crab, a species which is abundant in Florida. Stone crabs are caught so that fishermen can take off their claws and then released; the claws are such a great source of meat that this practice is profitable, and the crab regrows its arm after it is severed.
The popular Cancer pagarus can be found in the North Atlantic and parts of the Mediterranean. It is such a ubiquitous food source that some people simply call it “crab” or “edible crab.” Both the North Pacific and North Atlantic host abundant numbers of snow crabs, also called spider crabs, opilio crabs, rock crabs, or queen crabs. The aforementioned Dungeness is a common offering along America's West Cost during the height of the winter season, where it is one of the most prized of the different types of crab, and it is also found in Canada.
In Asia, people enjoy eating mud or mangrove crab, a species which lives in mangrove swamps across Asia and in parts of Australia. Another commercially valuable crab in Asia is the Japanese blue or horse crab, one of the most heavily harvested crab species in the world. Further west, people consume flower crab, which is found in the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans, and in parts of Africa. This species has a naturally sweet, flavorful flesh which some people find quite enjoyable.
These different types of crab can be cooked in numerous ways, although most people prefer to boil or steam their crab. The meat can be eaten plain, stuffed into spring rolls, scattered on salads, or used in other creative ways. If you can obtain a naturally sweet species like flower crab, go light on the seasoning to let the natural flavor of the crab come through.