Stone crab season runs from October 15 to May 1 of the following year. It’s one of Floridian’s favorite seasons. But there are some things you may want to know before you start digging into buttery and seasoned crab legs, like which Tampa Bay restaurants have the best stone crab deals, and how to tell if your stone crab is good.

In case you didn’t know, it’s possible to harvest stone crab claws without killing the crab. The FWC never recommends twisting the claw, but breaking it down in a sharp, quick movement. This will leave the diaphragm at the body/claw joint is left intact. Which allows the crab to regenerate the claw! Stone crabs are a vital part of Florida’s economy and fisheries. In fact, 99% of all stone crab landings are in Florida.

How to tell if your stone crab is good or bad?

There’s a big difference between fresh and frozen crab legs. You should be able to tell off taste alone. But has some helpful tips for you to know if your crab legs are good or bad. Restaurants usually work with local fishermen to make sure they receive the freshest product. Sometimes, fishers will try to pass off frozen crabs as fresh to move their product. A good indicator to know if your crab meat is fresh is if the claw’s sheen is shiny. Or you can tell by the texture of the meat. Fresh stone crab meat will be juicy and tender, but not slimey. If your meat keeps sticking to the shell, it could be a sign that it’s a frozen crab leg.

Here are the best Tampa Bay area restaurants with stone crab specials

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