When determining how long can you freeze crab legs, there are a few factors that affect the answer.
Typically, the recommendation is that you can freeze crab legs for three or four months to retain their full flavor.
However, you can safely freeze them up to six months without losing too much quality or flavor, under ideal circumstances.
It’s important to make sure your freezer temperature is low enough for safety, typically 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
A freezer alarm can also let you know if your freezer fails for a significant time, such as a power outage when you’re out of town.
To get the most life out of your frozen crab legs, it’s best to cook them before freezing.
If you freeze raw crab legs, the meat will separate when thawed and be hard to remove from the shell.
Cooking the legs before freezing will help reduce freezer burn and provide a better experience after thawing.
Simply add the crab legs to boiling water, cook for about five minutes, then put into an ice bath to rapidly cool them.
After about 10 minutes in the ice bath, drain and pat dry. Next, place the cooked crab legs in a freezer bag or airtight, freezer-safe container.
Less air means the crab will last longer in the freezer. For a freezer bag, squeeze out the air before sealing.
If using a container, make sure there aren’t any leaks and choose the smallest container that will hold the legs.
It’s also a good idea to label the crab legs with the contents and the date, just in case it gets buried or forgotten in the freezer.
Sharpie markers are one of the few inks that hold up well in the freezer. If using a container, write on a piece of masking tape so you don’t permanently mark it.
When it’s time to thaw the crab legs, simply thaw them in the refrigerator about six hours or overnight.
If you need it more quickly, place in a bowl of cool water for about two hours.
While some people use warm water to defrost other meats, that will damage the crab meat, so it’s best to stick to cool water.
If you’d frozen the crab in a container, you can take it out of the freezer container and put it in a plastic bag before placing in the bowl.
Once thawed, the crab meat should be used within two days for safety.
Finally, if you’ve had crab legs frozen for longer than six months, they are still safe to eat as long as they’ve stayed frozen and wrapped, but you might notice the taste or texture isn’t as good.
In that case, you might consider a recipe such as crab cakes or chowders where the crab meat is chopped and incorporated with other ingredients.