Crab meat refers to flesh from crabs, which are a predominately marine crustacean. There are several types, or grades, of this meat, each of which comes from a different part of the crab. This meat must be cooked, and it often has a distinct sweet flavor. Real and imitation crab meat are both used in popular recipes.
Claw crab meat is one of the least expensive and most accessible grades of crab. This meat comes from inside the legs and claws of the crab, and it turns a dark pink color when cooked. The meat located in the large pinchers of the crab is often referred to as crab fingers.
Colossal and jumbo grade crab meat refers to the meat that connects the body and the back legs, which are used for swimming. These are often the largest pieces of crab. Colossal grade meat is typically large, but only because it is taken from large crab species, like blue crab.
Lump crab may have smaller, broken pieces of jumbo grade crab. It will also contain meat from the rest of the body. Special crab meat also consists mainly of flakes of meat from the crab's body. Back fin meat, on the other hand is made up of a mixture of jumbo and special meat.
This seafood often has a very distinct flavor. Many people describe the taste of crab meat as somewhat sweet. Some choose to eat certain types of crab meat, like crab legs, with nothing but butter. Others may choose to mix this meat into a multi-ingredient dish.
When creating a dish that calls for crab meat, a recipe will usually specify whether the meat should be fresh, canned, or imitation meat. Fresh crab meat is often referred to as real crab. It is obtained directly from the crab itself. Canned crab is often thought to be inferior to fresh meat, but it is much more convenient. This type of meat is often used for food items like crab cakes.
Imitation crab meat, sometimes referred to as krab, is actually a type of Japanese processed seafood product. It is typically made from Alaskan pollock and a binder, usually egg whites. Crab flavoring is then added, and the mixture is formed into sticks. A layer of red coloring is then added, and the sticks are packaged for sale. Most supermarkets carry this type of product in their seafood sections, therefore it is much easier to obtain in some areas.