Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
There's perhaps no food compared to a fat crab. First, you must eat with both hands - not only fingers. Second, you must face the risk of increasing your cholesterol level. Third, if you are allergic to crabs be sure you have a ready anti-histamine - and a car to take you fast to the nearest hospital. Sixth, you must risk getting wounded by the sharp exoskeleton - hands and gums. Lastly, check your bill first before ordering a second round.
But, how do you know a fat crab from a lean one just by visual examination?
These are photos of lean crabs. Discovery may be late, they are already on your plate.Not with these fat crabs, selected and caught in season. The female has more aligi (orange fat), which can be harvested as luxury food like highly prized caviar.
Leave it to the experts, they know what a fat crab looks like whether at the source or the market. Learn from them, give a helping hand instead, and be an apprentice. There are many indigenous skills not learned from school and home.
Five guidelines when buying crabs.
1. Choose the female, the breast shield is broad, almost covering the whole ventral side, convex and full at spawning time.
2. Knock the carapace (back) with the forefinger nail. A fat crab gives a full and deep thump, thump. A lean one is like a cymbal.
3. The body is round and stuffed, so with the appendages and pincers. A healthy crab is likely a fat crab and vice versa. Careful, don't get your fingers caught by the pincers.
4. Consult the calendar: crabs are fatter during new moon than in full moon.
5. Newly molted crabs are likely fatter, and cleaning and eating are less troublesome.
6. Never buy a dead crab - fat or lean. Tease to find out, if necessary. Dead crabs readily deteriorate and become unpalatable.
7. There are different species of crabs. Get the alimango (shown in these photos). Alimasag are sea crabs, they are not as tasty as the alimango.
8. Talangka is plentiful during the rainy season. They are sold live, by piece or kilo. Talangka is a delicacy at the grassroots. The criteria are the same when buying this midget crabs. Cook with ginatan (coconut extract), a universal recipe.
9. There are poisonous crabs, and there's no known antidote to crab poisoning. The species with black tip claws is a warning. Consult the experts - fisherfolks and vendors.
10. Avoid buying at the sidewalk and along highway. You may fall unwary victim of underweighing, overpricing, and poor quality crabs, among other risks. Go to the wet market early. Find a suki from among the vendors.