#5 Land Crab & Callaloo

(a delayed posting from Grenada)
An occasional series of practical recipes to cook aboard using the ingredients at hand.

Haul from our trip to the market

An illustration of the use of fresh local ingredients

Land crab

Land crab with eyes extended

Land Crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) live in the holes found near mangrove swamps, salt ponds etc.

Land crabs need to be purged for six days prior to consumption.  This is done by feeding with cornmeal or coconut, so choose your purveyor with care.  Your correspondent purchased his land crabs from a roving vendor at the central market in St. George, Grenada.

PREPARATION (instructions as received, edited for clarity):
The preparation is somewhat involved.  Luckily, the vendor gave instructions with the precision and intensity only available to the truly stoned.

Avoid the claws, particularly the small one.  This warning was reiterated by many we met on our travels with land crabs.

The Claw to Avoid

The claw is ready to pinch

  1. Despatch
    Pierce the crab between the eyes and twist until the legs stick out.


    And the legs stick out

  2. Remove and discard the toes
    Twist off the end of the claws.  Parenthetically, it is a sad reflection upon modern standards that this step appears to have been dispensed with by many commercial purveyors of  “Crab and dumpling”.

    Toenail removal

    Toenail removal

  3. Remove and discard the cetæ and abdomen

    Cetae & abdomen

    Removing the cetæ

  4. Remove the back (may be reserved for Crab Backs)

    Back Removal

    Removing the back

  5. Remove and discard gills (“beard”)
  6. Scrub under water to remove black material.(Note that this may upset the owner of the scrub brush.)

    Scrubbing the Crabs

    Scrubbing the crabs

  7. The Crabs are Ready to Cook

    Ready to cook

    Land crab ready to cook


6 Land Crabs – cleaned
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Stick Celery
1 Bunch Chives (actually spring onions)
1 lb Grated Coconut
6 Seasoning Pepper
1 dessert spoon Colombo
1 Bunch Callaloo
Salt, pepper and seasoning to taste.


Step 1:
Prepare Coconut Milk
Fresh grated coconut may purchased at the local market.  Steep it in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and repeat.  Discard spent coconut pulp.

Coconut Cream

Coconut Milk

Step 2:
Fry onion, celery, chives, seasoning pepper (not hot), and carrots until softened.

Step 3:
Add coconut cream, thyme, crab, and cleaned shredded callaloo.
Season with salt, pepper, colombo, hot sauce and
Simmer until callaloo is cooked.

Serve with rice.


Callaloo and Crab

The final product tastes better than it looks

3 thoughts on “#5 Land Crab & Callaloo

  1. OH MY GAUD!!!!! Do you see me running from my monitor? This coming from a “non-cook”…..just shot me to go through all that trouble!!!!!!!!!!!! I give you all credit for the different recipes and food you’ve prepared (and I enjoy them very much). I’m sitting here thinking “thank God I have a husband who will eat my cheeseburger patties, ‘Shake & Bake chicken’ and microwave food!!! GAYLE will understand where “I coming from”!
    STAY SAFE “ya’ll”!!

  2. Most excellent galley to table expose!

    Suggestion: Delegate steps 1 – 6 to the local high school biology class. Offer students a reward of Doritos and Coke in exchange for clean, ready-to-cook crab parts. Offer the teacher a seat at the dinner table.

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