Why Cromer Crabs are so Special
Cromer crabs are renowned in the UK for being delicious and possibly one of Norfolk’s most famous exports, but why are they so special?
Cromer crabs are ‘brown crabs’ that are often found in the North Sea, North Atlantic Ocean. They are easily identifiable from a characteristic “pie crust” edge and claws and legs which are black tipped. They get their unique taste from the good conditions in the areas. The seabed in Cromer is in relatively shallow water which is flinty and chalky, therefore, they filter in very clean water. These better conditions help the taste of crabs. The water is filled with nutrient so the crabs are particularly flavoursome, fragrant, and tender. This environment also helps to support a high proportion of clean-living smaller crustaceans, molluscs, and bivalves, which the crabs feed on.
Cromer crabs are typically smaller in comparison to other UK crabs, however, the meat is much sweeter and is beautifully plump. Cromer crabs also have a high proportion of white meat to dark. It’s thought that because Cromer crabs are slow growing, they have more time to fill their shells with meat more completely.
The History of Cromer Crabs
Cromer crab fishing has been in a tradition in Norfolk for centuries, which has attracted many tourists to the area. The earliest record of Cromer crab fishing was in ‘A Guide About Cromer’ published in 1800 by Edmond Burtell: “lobster, crabs, whiting, and cod-fish and herring are all caught in the finest perfection”. In 1874, the population of Cromer was approximately 1415 persons, with 120 of them fisherman. This continued to grow as by 1887, the population had reached 1160 in Cromer and 1600 in Sheringham. From this, 450 men and 94 boys were part of the fishing community.
The boats used at this time would have been traditional double-ended broad beamed vessels powered either by sail or by oars. These were later replaced with the same ships on inboard engines.
Cooking with Cromer Crabs
Big Prawn have lots of delicious recipes for you to enjoy their delicious taste. Try this Cromer crab gratin, which is ideal as a light lunch with a crisp salad and crusty bread or as part of a starter to the main meal and celebrates the beauty of UK seafood.