Seafood is one of the most nutritious and delicious foods on the planet.
Crab is a great example of versatile seafood that can be used in many different types of cooking and styles of meals.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh seafood, but that doesn’t mean that seafood is never an option for you.
You can always buy it in bulk and save for later, but then you might be wondering how to store it safely!
Can you freeze crab meat in a can?
The answer is yes, thanks to careful sealing of your crab in milk or other natural preservatives so it maintains its taste and flavor until you’re ready to use it.
Here you’ll get to know more freezing canned crab meat and its proper storage.
What is Canned Crab Meat?
Canned crab meat began as a solution for people who wanted to eat seafood all week but didn’t have access to fresh crabs where they were located.
Canning crab meat is a way to preserve, store, and transport crab meat from place to place that keeps it fresh and usable for longer periods of time.
It makes cooking crab a lot easier because canned crab meat has usually already been prepared, cleaned, and cooked by someone else, so all you need to do is take it out of the can and begin using it in your recipe.
There are many different brands and varieties of cooked crab meat on the market, so you should stick to companies that use relatively few chemicals in the process of pasteurizing or preserving the crab and ones that promise fresh meat and a fast turnaround time between canning and storage on the shelf.
How Long Does Canned Crab Last?
Canned crab meat is a good way to extend the delicate and temporary shelf life of crab meat.
Fresh crab usually only lasts two or three days before it goes bad, making crab an extremely time sensitive dish.
Canned crab meat, on the other hand, can last anywhere from three to five years provided that the original canned crab meat was sold refrigerated, never opened, and remained safely sealed and stored in a dry place.
Opened packages of canned crab can last several months in a refrigerator or even longer in a freezer, but we’ll cover that in more detail later.
How to Tell if Canned Crab Meat is Bad?
Despite canned crab meat having a naturally longer shelf life due to its pasteurized storage, your canned crab meat can still sometimes go bad if you’re not careful.
You should always make sure your crab meat is safe to eat and cook with before you use it and that it has not gone bad while it was in storage.
The best way to tell if canned crab meat has gone bad is to look at it and smell it.
If your crab has developed an unnatural gray or yellow color, smells strongly of sour or vinegar acid, or otherwise develops an off flavor or smell, it is not safe to use.
You should also check to make sure there’s no mold or other growths on the surface or interior of your crab meat before you begin using it.
How Do You Store Canned Crab Meat?
Storing canned crab meat is fairly simple.
Most canned crab meat should come already prepackaged and vacuum sealed in an aluminum or airtight can or container.
The best way to store it is to keep it in its original packaging for as long as possible.
If your crab meat came in a can that needed refrigeration, you should put inside your refrigerator ASAP.
If your crab meat comes in a room-temperature can, you should place it on a pantry shelf in a dry and dark area for best results.
If you open your canned crab meat but don’t use all of it, you can put any leftover in an airtight jar or container and vacuum seal it before putting it into your fridge to store.
How Long Can You Keep Canned Crab Meat in the Fridge?
You can keep canned crab meat in the fridge, but generally for a much shorter time period.
Most canned crab meats will only last two or three days in a refrigerator due to its delicate composition and quickly spoiling meaty interior.
Even if you tightly seal it or vacuum seal it, it will still go bad within a week, so if you plan to keep any canned crab meat in the fridge you should make sure that you’ll cook with it or use it up within a few days in order to prevent the crab meat from spoiling.
Can You Freeze Canned Crab Meat? & Here’s How to do it.
The best way to store canned crab meat long term is to freeze it.
You can freeze both unopened and opened canned crab meat, though the steps to freezing them are slightly different depending on the type of meat.
The first thing you’ll want to do is check the can for the printed expiration date.
If you store your canned crab meat correctly, it will still be safe to eat after the expiration date, but your crab meat will taste the freshest and most genuine the earlier you eat it.
For canned crab meat that has been unopened, you should follow these instructions.
Freezing Unopened Canned Crab Meat
- Wrap the can of crab meat in aluminum foil tightly, closing any gaps or seams.
- Place aluminum foil inside a plastic bag or ziploc bag. If you’re able, use a hand vacuum to suck out any excess air before you seal it.
- Label exterior of ziploc bag with expiration date or best used by date
- Place in the freezer and keep completely frozen until you’re ready to thaw and use it.
Freezing Opened Canned Crab Meat
Opened canned crab meat can also be frozen and stored for future use.
As long as it has been opened within one or two days of you freezing it, it will still be safe for you to cook with and store eventually.
To freeze opened canned crab meat, you should follow these guidelines.
- Place canned crab meat inside a food-safe storage bag.
- Fill the bag with milk* until it covers the crab meat entirely.
- Place the bag in the freezer and allow milk to freeze solidly over crab meat.
- Store completely frozen until you’re ready to thaw and use it.
*Freezing your crab meat in milk helps preserve its original flavor and texture longer. The natural nutrients built into milk help protect crab meat from deterioration while frozen and provides an added layer of protection.
Now, you know you can freeze canned crab meat. It helps to extend the shelf life of the canned crab meat.
Storing the canned crab meat is fairly simple and easy.
If you store canned crab meat precisely, it will stay safe to eat even after the expiration date.
Follow the above-mentioned steps to freeze the canned crab meat and enjoy your crab meat taste the freshest as earlier.