When you think of crab season, many people think of winter and think , ``I want to taste Hokkaido's delicious crabs!''
Hokkaido is widely known as a crab-producing region, not only for its large catch of crabs, but also for crabs from the Sea of Okhotsk, which are purchased from nearby waters such as Russia and Alaska.
This time, we will introduce in detail the seasonal crab season in Hokkaido for each type of crab!
Crab types and season
It is said that more than 1,000 types of crabs live in the waters around Japan, but the four types that are mainly eaten in Japan are the red king crab, the snow crab, the hairy crab, and the hanasaki crab .
Crabs are caught throughout the Sea of Japan, including off the coasts of Hyogo and Tottori in addition to Hokkaido.
The characteristics, taste, and season of crab vary depending on the type of crab, so let's take a look at the season for each type.
King crab season
King crab, known in English as Red King Crab, is known as the ``king of crabs'' and is caught in extremely cold regions such as Russia, Canada, and Alaska.
It is no exaggeration to say that in Japan, red king crab can only be caught in Hokkaido, and the king crab from Hokkaido is extremely valuable!
There are two seasons for king crab: from April to June and from November to February of the following year .
The first season is from April to June, when the drift ice disappears and the weather starts to warm up. Under the drift ice, a large amount of phytoplankton occurs, and the red king crabs, which have grown large and ingested this as nutrients, move up to the coast when the weather gets warmer. The fish are then landed there.
The second season is said to occur from November to February, when the crab repeatedly molts its skin and becomes a ``hard crab'' with a tightly packed body.
Snow crab season
Snow crabs live in the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the east coast of Russia, the Bering Sea, and off the coast of Canada.In Japan, they are landed in Hokkaido, Hyogo, Tottori, Niigata, and Fukushima.
The season for snow crabs caught in the Sea of Japan is said to be from November to March, and the season for females is said to be from November to December from the perspective of nature conservation .
It is said that the best time to eat snow crabs is when they have received sufficient nutrition and grown larger after they have shed their skin.
Snow crab has different names depending on the region, and Echizen crab, which is landed in Fukui Prefecture, and Matsuba crab, which is landed in Shimane Prefecture from Kyoto Prefecture, are famous.
Hairy crab season
Hairy crabs are mainly caught along the coast of Hokkaido facing the Sea of Okhotsk, and most hairy crabs on the market come from Hokkaido , and can be said to be the representative crab of Hokkaido.
Even in Hokkaido, the fishing season varies depending on the changing seasons, so fish are landed at some point almost all year round.
Therefore, you can enjoy hairy crabs all year round.
Hokkaido's hair crabs are smaller than red king crabs and snow crabs, but they are packed well, and the crab miso is especially richer than other crabs , and the carapace sake made by adding Japanese sake to the crab miso is exquisite.
Hanasaki crab season
Most of the Hanasaki crabs are landed in Hokkaido, and the amount of crabs currently landed is very small, making it an extremely valuable crab that is only landed at about one-tenth of what it was 10 years ago.
It is called the "phantom crab" because its habitat is limited to a part of the coast of Hokkaido.
Due to the decline in the population, fishing periods are restricted, but fishing is allowed from July to September every year, so the best season for Hanasaki crabs is during the summer months from August to September. You can have crab.
Although it is a small crab with a shell width of about 15 cm, its legs are thick and the meat is tightly packed, and the crab miso is as rich as that of hairy crabs .
You can order seasonal crabs from Hokkaido.
Even if you want to eat Hokkaido's seasonal crabs, I think most people find it difficult to go to Hokkaido because of the distance .
At Ichii Shoten, we also carry fresh snow crabs and king crabs, including hair crabs that are unique to Hokkaido.
We deliver freshly caught crabs quickly frozen , so you can enjoy the freshest crabs at home!