What is a soft shell crab? Is it different from a normal crab? How do you eat them? If you are asking these questions, you have come to the right place. Soft shell crabs, or “softies” as they are called in the Lowcountry, are Atlantic blue crabs that have recently molted their normally hard shell. These crabs are consistently growing and will naturally shed their old shells. After molting, the crab will be nearly a third larger than it was before.
Why All The Hype?
A recently molted Atlantic blue crab is very soft to the touch. This means the entire delicious crab can be prepared to eat… and you can toss the shell crackers! The soft tissue of the “new” shell is safe to eat along with the entire crab. Although, the Atlantic blue crab’s molting season only lasts from around Easter (when the water temperature is near 50 degrees) through summer. Mount Pleasant is the right place at the right time for softie season!
How and Where
This limited-time sought after delicacy is prepared several different ways in Mount Pleasant. Pulled from local waters and put on plates, you can find them deep fried, pan seared, and frequently in a sandwich. Local seafood markets also offer live soft shell crabs to prepare at home. See below for a list of local restaurants and markets offering softies. If you notice a missing destination, let us know!