Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Lesson on Stone Crab Processing

As part of my "Are You Smarter than a Stone Crab?" program, I took my class down to Everglades City to visit Grimms Stone Crabs Inc, a locally owned fish house to learn about the commercial stone crab fishery and its importance in Collier County. We met with Justin Grimms who helps run the business along with his father Howie Grimms. As usual he did a fantastic job explaining what its like to work in the industry and how they operate on a day to day basis. Justin showed the class how they process stone crab claws once they are brought in by local fishermen.  
After weighing the uncooked (also known as "green") claws, they are placed in large baskets that can hold up to 375 pound of claws s and cooked at  212 degrees for eight minutes. Immediately after cooking, the claws are placed in a vat of cold water to bring the temperature down to about 64 degrees. This process prevents the meat from continuing to cook inside their shells. Next, the claws are topped with ice and placed in a cooler overnight where they will be individually weighed and graded by weight the next morning.
To give you an idea of how the claws are graded:
Medium: 6-7 claws per pound
Large: 4-5 claws per pound
Jumbo: 2-3 claws per pound
I think it was a first time experience for many of participants, and the fact that many of them bought claws from the Fish House's retail market, I'd say it was a positive one! Enjoy the pictures!
Justin Grimms welcomes my class

Justin explaining how claws are processed once they brought in by the fishermen
A student asking Justin how claws are graded
Justin shows the group a batch of uncooked or green claws
A very useful crusher to help break up claws for customers

Examining a claw up close
Justin showing the group how claws can continue to move even after being removed
A batch of freshly cooked claws put on ice
Owner Howie Grimms taking the temperature of a recently cooked batch of claws

Two batches of claws sitting in the fish house's cooler
Participants buying claws from the Grimm's retail store