Crabs are one of the most delicious kinds of seafood you can eat. A bushel is a wooden bucket that is used to store, carry and measure crabs. It’s not always possible to measure crabs by quantity or weight, that is why a bushel is used.
Bushels are also the measure that people use to buy and sell crabs. Many people still don’t know how many crabs are in a bushel. So, in this article, we will figure out everything about crab bushels.
A Bushel of Crabs
Crabs are one of the premium kinds of seafood, preferred by many people. They are a must for any high-level parties or office functions. A big reason for the popularity of crabs is the sheer variety of food that can be prepared with just crabs.
If you are throwing a party, crabs might be one of your main food choices. It is the go-to dish for many people. But if you don’t know how crabs are measured, it may be difficult for you to arrange. There are a few different things you should know before buying crabs.
Crabbers use bushels to store crabs after catching them. That is why bushels are also used by people to buy crabs. A bushel can hold a set number of crabs in them. You can buy a bushel or half a bushel of crabs according to your needs.
It is not efficient for buyers and sellers to measure crabs by their weight or quantity. That is why a bushel is used because it is more convenient. A bushel may contain various amounts of crabs.
You should first know about how crabs are measured in a bushel.
How to Measure Crabs in a Bushel
The wooden bucket or a basket that is used to measure, store and carry crabs is called a bushel.
The number of crabs inside a bushel is actually not a fixed amount. That is why a lot of people tend to get confused about it. There are various factors that influence the number of crabs in a bushel.
Sometimes it is not just one factor that alters the number of crabs in a bushel. Often, many factors can work together to change the number of crabs in a bushel. Generally, blue crabs are sold in bushels in the United States.
The different factors and their influence on the number of crabs in a bushel are discussed in this section.
The Size of the Bushel
A bushel is typically 8 gallons in size. But depending on the region, the crabbers may use bushels of different sizes. The size of the bushel obviously plays an important part in determining the number of crabs.
In some places, only half a bushel is allowed to be bought. So, keep that fact in mind. One bushel of crabs is generally enough to feed a squad of 20-25 people.
Different Varieties of Crabs
There are different varieties of crabs found in the sea. Generally, blue crabs are sold in bushels. Some crabs may be larger than others and take up more space inside the bushel. The male crabs are known as “Jimmies” and the female crabs are called “Sooks”.
Male “Jimmy” crabs are the ones used to cook food because of their larger size. Female “Sook” crabs are usually not prepared as food. They are used to make packaged products.
Crab Molt Cycle
Crabs have an outer layer of a shell that we take off to reveal the meat inside. When crabs grow in size, this outer shell cannot grow with them. So, this layer is shed by crabs and this process of shedding is called molting.
Molting is a natural process. A crab that has molted will have more meat than a crab that has not molted yet. This happens because of the unique biology of crabs and similar animals.
The molting cycle is the process of the shedding of the outer layer of crabs. After molting occurs, crabs become much fatter than before. These fatter crabs have more crab meat and they are larger in size.
If the bushel has more crabs in their molting cycles, the crabs will be larger. So, the number of crabs will be decreased. But if the crabs are not molting, then there will be smaller crabs in more numbers.
Different Sizes of Crabs
There are some different sizes of crabs in the sea. The age of a crab is also a factor in its size. Mature crabs are used to prepare food. Immature female crabs have to be put back in the water. These are the general rules.
The different crab sizes are small, medium, large, jumbo, and colossal. A healthy crab dinner consists of 0.23 kilograms of crab meat. 10-12 crabs of medium to large size can provide this amount. Small and immature crabs are not considered for cooking.
The sizes of small crabs are 4.5 to 5 inches. Medium crabs are 5 to 5.5 inches. Large crabs are about 5.5 to 6 inches. Jumbo crabs are 6 to 6.5 inches and colossal crabs are around or over 7 inches in size.
Usually, in a bushel, jumbo crabs are found. Jumbo crabs are better than large crabs. These jumbo crabs are best for cooking. They provide the perfect balance between size and quantity.
Crab Amount According to Size
If you are wondering how many crabs you may find in a bushel, you should first know the different sizes of crabs. The number of crabs in a bushel differs according to their size. The number of crabs of different size in a bushel is given below.
- Small crabs (4 to 4.5 inches) – Not used to cook food.
- Medium crabs (5 to 5.5 inches) – 6 to 7 dozen or 72 to 84 crabs in a bushel.
- Large crabs (5.5 to 6 inches) – Not usually used in a bushel.
- Jumbo crabs (6 to 6.5 inches) – 5 to 6 dozen or 60 to 72 crabs in a bushel.
- Colossal crabs (6.5 to 7 inches) – 4 to 5 dozen or 40 to 60 crabs in a bushel.
These are the numbers of crabs inside a bushel. The numbers given are fairly accurate. From the list, you can get an estimation of the average range of crabs found in a bushel.
Large crabs are not used in a bushel because jumbo crabs are a better option. Whether you go crabbing or throw a sea food-themed party, you will always need to know about crabs in a bushel.
A Few Things to Remember
You should know that different varieties of crabs have different sizes. The sizes and amounts we discussed in this article were for blue crabs found from the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico. It is possible that a different variety may have different sizes and may slightly differ in the amount in a bushel.
In some regions, you can only buy half of a bushel. So, you have to figure out the number of crabs in half a bushel by dividing the number of crabs by two. For example, if you buy half a bushel of jumbo crabs, you will get 30 to 36 crabs inside it.
The size of the bushel is typically 8 gallons. Some crabbers may use bushels of different sizes. So before buying a bushel, be sure to find out the exact size. A smaller bushel will hold fewer crabs and a larger bushel will hold more.
If you plan on going crabbing somewhere, make sure to buy a bushel from that specific place. The allowed bushel size may vary from region to region. Also, make sure to follow the related rules and regulations.
These are some of the things you have to keep in mind while buying a bushel of crabs.
Why are Bushels So Important
The wooden buckets used to carry, store and measure the number of crabs is called a bushel. When it comes to buying, selling, or catching crabs, there is no other object as important as a bushel.
Now, some people may wonder, why would a simple wooden bucket be this important. Some even might say, why don’t we just measure and sell crabs by the number or by weight. Let’s discuss that.
Bushels have been used by people for a long time. It is just a very convenient object to store the crabs in. Without using a bushel, you would still need a storage drum or something similar to store crabs in.
If people wanted to buy and sell crabs by their weight, they wouldn’t be able to get an exact count of how many crabs they are buying. The weight of crabs differs drastically.
Buying and selling crabs by their number isn’t convenient. Because while that may solve one problem, others will arise. It is just more efficient to buy and sell crabs with a pre-determined scale which is also a storage for the crabs, like a bushel.
For these simple reasons, bushels are an integral part of crabbing. You should learn about crab bushels if you want to take your crabbing or crab-cooking expertise to the next level.
How Many Bushels Needed for a Party
Crabs are a very healthy and tasty kind of food. At parties and programs, a crab dinner is the sign of a premium experience. Whether you go to your local restaurant for a family dinner or in a five-star hotel, a crab item is one of the finest dishes you can order.
If you want to throw a party and plan to serve crab, then you have to know how many bushels you may need. Generally speaking, 0.23 kilograms of crab meat is required per person.
The amount of crab needed may vary depending on the person. If the person really likes crab meat, they may end up consuming more than the optimum amount. Or they may eat less if they dislike it. So, you have to keep that in mind.
A bushel of medium-sized blue crab contains about 60 to 72 crabs. Each person may eat around 3 to 4 crabs. So, a bushel of crabs should be enough for a party of 20 to 25 people.
This estimate is measured considering that you will have other food at the party as well. If you serve plenty of other party foods such as hot dogs, nachos, chicken, then you may need less than a bushel. But if you serve only the crab-based food items, then you may need a bushel and a half.
By following these tips and guidelines, you can make sure to have the best seafood-themed party ever.
Bushels for Crabbing
If you plan to go for a fun crabbing weekend with your friends, you have to know how many bushels of crab you can bring home. There are rules for this, so don’t go on a trip without knowing them.
As we have mentioned before, a typical bushel is 8 gallons in size. But the thing is that the size of bushels differs according to the state or region you are in. So, in some places, it can be 9 gallons or 7.5 gallons in size.
The general rule is that you can bring home one bushel of crabs. But the difference in size in different places may cause confusion. Also, some people may just fill the bushel so much that it overflows.
To avoid these confusions, you should always follow the guidelines. Check the bushel size allowed by the authorities in that area. The bushel size may be different from that of other areas, but you can be sure that you aren’t breaking any rules.
Do not bring your own bushel to a new region. The bushel size of your state may not be the same as the bushel size of the region you’re going to. It’s always better to buy a new bushel from the place before you go crabbing.
While filling the bushel with crabs, don’t just fill it up too much. Make sure to leave enough space for the lid to fit. Also, make sure not to change the shape of the bushel by overfilling. If you want more crabs, you can always come back another day.
Bushel vs. Cooler
Those little baskets that have a cooling system built-in are called coolers. Coolers are another object to store crabs in. The cooling provided by the cooler basket helps to keep the crabs fresh and protects them from rotting away.
There are some people who prefer coolers to bushels. Their argument is that bushels cannot provide the cooling to keep the crabs fresh. In long drives, while transporting the crabs from one place to another, cooling is a necessary function.
Cooling truly is necessary for keeping crabs in optimum condition. But bushels are the universal scale of buying and selling the crabs. You certainly can’t go to a market and buy “a cooler of crabs”. You will always be buying a bushel of crabs.
Coolers also cost more money to be bought than a regular bushel. So, it is safe to say that bushels are better storage than coolers, even though bushels can’t cool the crabs.
How to Keep Crabs Fresh in a Bushel
Bushels are more convenient storage than coolers. But bushels do lack the cooling function. But is this simple problem going to prevent us from using bushels? Of course not. Here we will discuss how to keep crabs fresh in a bushel.
Crabs, or any other seafood in general, like to stay cool and hydrated. A bushel is just a regular wooden basket. So, it cannot provide any sort of cooling or hydration.
To keep the crabs fresh, you need a towel and a bag of ice. You have to cover the top of the bushel with a towel. Then put the bag of ice on top of it. Use a toothpick or a needle to poke holes in the bag of ice.
The ice will slowly melt and keep the bushel cool and the crabs will be hydrated from the water. It’s better to keep the bushel in a cool place, under a shade. The ice from the bag should provide similar or better cooling than a cooler.
The iced bushel should keep the crabs cool and fresh for 2 to 3 hours. If you plan on traveling a long distance with the crabs this cooling method will be very helpful for you.
If you plan on staying on the road for more than 3 hours, then you should make sure to have more than one ice bag. Change the ice bag on the top every 2 hours or so. You can also sprinkle some ice cubes inside the bushel.
This method of cooling crabs with ice is not uncommon at all. Thousands of people use ice to keep crabs fresh in a bushel. So, you do not have to worry about buying an extra accessory for crabbing. By following this method, you can keep your crabs cool inside a bushel.
Crabs are a delicacy in almost every part of the world. They are favorite seafood to many people around the world. Whether in a family get-together or a friendly party at home, crabs will always be a good choice for a dish.
Many people have often been confused about how many crabs there can be in a bushel. If you have also wondered about this question, hopefully, this article has helped you learn a bit more about our little crustacean friends.