Home | Finest Stays Blog | Food and Drink | What is the Difference Between Brown and White Crab Meat?


Jun 1, 2011 | Food and Drink

It will come as no surprise that here in Salcombe, we love crab meat. As well as being delicious, there are multiple health benefits of crab. But do you know the difference between brown crab meat and white crab meat? There is a distinction in flavour, richness, colour and texture between white and brown crab meat making them quite different from one another.

Brown Crab Meat

Brown crab meat is found in the shell cavity at the top of the crab. It has a distinctive rich flavour that makes it ideal for sauces. Brown meat has a higher natural fat content but is extremely high in Omega-3. The soft texture of brown crab meat is less meaty and has an almost pâté-like consistency which makes it less appealing to many people. This also means that you’ll often find it sold at a lower price than white crab meat.

White Crab Meat

White meat is found in the claws, legs and main body section of the crab. It is low in fat and high in protein. White crab meat is sweet and more delicate in flavour than brown meat and it has a moist, meaty, flaky texture. It is used in pasta dishes such as crab linguine and crab risotto.

In addition to being wonderful stirred into a pasta or risotto dish, white crab meat is delicious cold (but cooked!). We have it on toast with a sliver of mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon and a liberal pinch of pepper – unbeatable! Visit most fish restaurants in Salcombe and you will see whole handpicked dressed crab on the menu. It’s often served with fries, salad and aioli – you can’t visit the coast without trying one. It’s also worth trying crab claws – you’ll usually be given your own special seafood fork (and sometimes a bib!) so you can pick the white meat out of every last nook and cranny. It’s messy but rewarding work.

brown crab meat

What is Handpicked Crab?

Handpicked crab just refers to the way in which the crab has been processed. Handpicked crab is known as the best grade of crab meat as it is picked from the shell by hand, ensuring that the flavour of the meat is unchanged. By contrast ‘machine processed crab’ is made by using water or air to blast the crab meat out of the shell. As you can imagine, this changes the flavour of the crab meat.

In Salcombe, you will find that the local restaurants and fish shops only sell the very best handpicked crab meat. Make sure you try some delicious and nutritious crab meat when you’re in Salcombe – whether it’s brown or white! 

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