Join Date: Feb 2010
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I suppose if you steam them the toxins in the liver wouldn't get all mixed about as I assume they do if you boil them.
Side note, just looking at the locations of all the posters that responded, East Coasters all boil alive and us West coasters butcher first.
I've always boiled crabs and lobsters live, and I've always lived on the West Coast.
Crabs (and crustaceans in general) don't really have a liver. They have something called a "hepatopanceas", which functions somewhat similarly to both a liver and a pancreas. Many folks consider it something of a delicacy. It can concentrate some toxins from the animal's food, particularly the toxins originating in some dinoflagellates (e.g., PSP from red tide plankton). But I've never heard of it being a particular hazard to people. Most commercial fishing is pretty far removed from places likely to have high concentrations of such toxins anyway.
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