Dungeness crab: Get the most out of a New Year's tradition

Dungeness crab: Get the most out of a New Year's tradition »Play Video
Manager Jennifer Bigelow places Dungeness crab on the scales at the Fred Meyer in Wilsonville on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. She says many of them weigh three pounds.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. -- Dungeness crab is a big New Year's Eve favorite in Oregon and Washington.

This is when it's in season, but KATU learned from a local seafood seller that it's also one of the best catches she's seen in years. So as you put out the crackers with the fork and knife, we have some tricks to get the most out of your crab.

The seafood counter's hopping at Fred Meyer in Wilsonville. All because of the Dungeness crab.

Manager Jennifer Bigelow says many of them weigh three pounds.

She ordered about triple the usual amount of Dungeness crab for New Year's Eve. Bigelow says the phone's been ringing and she's been taking special orders. It's the best-selling day of the year for shellfish.

But let's admit it: getting to the part of the crab you eat is a lot of work. So what are the best ways to "take a crack at" that crab and get the most out of it?

Bigelow says, Rule No. 1: guard your crab. "Diligent cracking and not letting anyone get into the kitchen and steal a piece here and there. That's right. I guard it," she said.

Rule No. 2: the crab is its own utensil. "If you separate the leg a lot of people use part of the shell to flake it out as well!" Bigelow added.

Rule No. 3: pretend you never saw this story. "You know, it might be good to pretend like you don't know how and it may get done for you!"

Bigelow suggests eating the crab straight from the shell while it's fresh. But if you do have leftovers, you can make great crab creations. Bigelow suggests crab cocktail or crab cakes. One customer said he always makes crab omelettes.