All uncooked crabs should be vigorously alive when purchased, or the meat is not good. To prepare them for cooking, proceed as follows:

Soft-shell Crabs - The back of the crab tapers to a point at each side. Lay the crab on its face, take one of these points between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand and pull the shell back about half-way. Pull off all the spongy substance which is thus exposed. Repeat the operation at the point on the opposite side. Pull off the tail (apron) which laps under the crab, and the spongy substance under it. Wash the crabs in cold water, and they are ready for cooking.

Hard-shell Crabs - Throw the live crabs head first into rapidly boiling water. After five minutes, add one tablespoon of salt and boil for thirty minutes. When cold, break off the apron, or tail. Take the crab in both hands, with the thumbs at the tail end, and pull the upper and lower shells apart. Discard the material that sticks to the upper shell and pull off all the orange waxy material and white spongy substance between the halves of the body and at each side. The edible part of the crab lies in the two compact masses remaining, and in the small flakes that may be extracted from the large claws. The latter must be broken with a cleaver or hammer.