Canning Crab Meat: King and Dungeness

Canning crab meat is a simple way to keep fresh seafood at your fingertips all year long.

| July 2014

Fresh whole crabs

You'll enjoy the flavor of fresh seafood all year when you learn how to preserve it by canning. Try your hand at canning crab meat with these steps from the USDA.

Photo by Fotolia/W.Scott

Canning fresh seafood is a great way to keep delicious ingredients close at hand for future meals. In this helpful excerpt from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Complete Guide to Home Canning, you’ll learn the process for canning crab meat safely. Use this and our other canning resources to keep your pantry stocked with fresh foods all year long.

The following is an excerpt from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning covering canning crab meat. 

King and Dungeness Crab Meat

It is recommended that blue crab meat be frozen instead of canned for best quality.

Crab meat canned according to the following procedure may have a distinctly acidic flavor and freezing is the preferred method of preservation at this time.

Procedure: Keep live crabs on ice until ready to can. Wash crabs thoroughly, using several changes of cold water. Simmer crabs 20 minutes in water containing cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of salt (or up to 1 cup of salt, if desired) per gallon. Cool in cold water, drain, remove back shell, then remove meat from body and claws. Soak meat 2 minutes in cold water containing 2 cups of lemon juice or 4 cups of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of salt (or up to 1 cup of salt, if desired) per gallon. Drain and squeeze crab meat to remove excess moisture. Fill hot half-pint jars with 6 ounces of crab meat and pint jars with 12 ounces, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each half-pint jar, or 1 teaspoon of citric acid or 4 tablespoons of lemon juice per pint jar. Cover with fresh boiling water, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

9/3/2017 11:16:14 AM

Hi Denise We have been fishing crab a few years. Thought freezing would last ll year. It doesn't. How long does canning keep the meat ? And What is your procedue to canning crab? Thank you :)

7/15/2017 10:28:13 AM

First, I've been home canning cooked Dungeness crab meat for 4 years now, but never used the lemon juice/vinegar method. What is the difference, and will the crab meat taste the same? Second, why can't a vacuum sealer work instead of submerging in boiling water or steam canning when meat has already been cooked?

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