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Every spring, the southeastern United States welcomes crawfish season. Also known as crayfish, mudbugs, or crawdads, these little creatures are either wild-caught in rivers and marshes or farmed and harvested to end up in such delectable delights as gumbo, etouffee, and of course, crawfish boils.

The host prepares their own recipe of aromatics that go into a large pot of water, and attendees help boil and eat pounds of whole crawfish while enjoying drinks and the company of their friends and family. She recommends getting your crawfish early to mid-season, as they tend to develop thicker shells that are harder to peel (with more potential to cause cuts) towards the end of the season, which is usually around Memorial Day. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to get through an entire pile in no time and fit right in at your next crawfish boil — laissez les bons temps rouler! As the granddaughter of immigrant restaurant owners, Bernadette developed an interest in gastronomy at a young age, cooking everything from her family’s Filipino and Chinese recipes to French classics.

Do you eat the poop in crawfish?

When you’re attending a crawfish boil or eating a pile of mudbugs at a restaurant, many people just pinch off the tail, squeeze out the meat, and eat it, leaving the crawfish head behind. … “Yes, the tail is the meat, but the head is the essence of life.”

Can you eat the whole crawfish?

Find a trusted supplier for whole crawfish, and choose domestic varieties for the best quality. Eating whole crawfish doesn’t require utensils — your hands are your best tool. Simply twist the head off the tail, peel the tail, and eat the meat.

Is the yellow stuff in crawfish poop?

What is the yellow stuff inside a crawfish? The bright yellow to orange crawfish “stuff” squeezed from the heads and sticking to the tail meat is not fat in the usual sense. It actually is an organ in the head called the hepatopancreas that functions much like the liver in other animals out there.

This time of year may bring the city’s best weather and baseball season, but the most beautiful part of spring in Houston is the beginning of crawfish season. Used by fishermen as live bait to snag everything from catfish to bass, these tiny red crustaceans are a Louisiana and East Texas delicacy. Pretty much everyone has accepted the deliciousness of boiled crawfish steeped in Cajun spices and butter, but one controversial question remains: Should you suck the heads?

The flavor of the hepatopancreas is further amplified when you add the piquant combination of cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano and other herbs that go into a traditional crawfish boil.

Nothing says spring in Louisiana like a crawfish boil! You don’t have to live there to appreciate this tasty tradition, though—although you might find yourself wondering how to eat crawfish. And what exactly are these creatures that look like miniature lobsters?

Also referred to as crawdads, crayfish, or mudbugs, crawfish aren’t fish at all—they’re crustaceans that live in fresh water, like rivers and marshes. Tucked into regional specialties like crawfish bisque and étouffée or eaten out of hand with Cajun seasoning, they’re the state crustacean for a reason! The juice in the head is totally edible and has a briny, sweet taste that many consider a delicacy—and the best part of the crawfish eating experience.

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs. The names are interchangeable, and they all refer to those tasty little critters that look like miniature lobsters. While they are related to lobsters, per Britannica, their taste is more of a mashup of lobster, crab, and shrimp, according to The Spruce Eats. Crawfish have less of a salty bite to them, too, which makes sense given that most species live in fresh water.

People out west and around Oklahoma call them “crawdads,” while “mudbugs” is the preferred term in the Mississippi Delta. On the company’s website , you’ll find Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, a product that combines seven spices essential for this dish. Like chicken bones, leftover heads and tail shells can be used to make a flavorful stock after the pieces are rinsed to remove the seasonings used in the boil, according to We Are Not Foodies . More advice on leftovers comes from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook , which suggests making a crawfish butter because many of the crustacean’s flavors are fat-soluble, not water-soluble.

Which part of the crawfish are you supposed to eat?

Crawfish meat is located in the tail. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should ignore the head. Which leads us to…

Can I eat the yellow stuff in the crawfish’s head?

Absolutely! The juice in the head is totally edible and has a briny, sweet taste that many consider a delicacy—and the best part of the crawfish eating experience. Simply suck it out of the shell with your mouth once you’ve separated the head from the tail.

What Are Crawfish And How Do You Eat Them?

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs. The names are interchangeable, and they all refer to those tasty little critters that look like miniature lobsters. While they are related to lobsters, per Britannica, their taste is more of a mashup of lobster, crab, and shrimp, according to The Spruce Eats. Crawfish have less of a salty bite to them, too, which makes sense given that most species live in fresh water.More than 500 species of crawfish make their homes in lakes, rivers, and swamps, although a few of them are saltwater creatures. They range in color from yellow to dark brown. When you find them on the menu, they’re probably white river or red swamp crayfish. (Despite its name, the white river variety is red with a black marking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.) Combined, these two crawfish types make up almost the entire commercial harvest in Louisiana, according to Houma Today.How did crawfish get so many names? What you call the little crustacean depends largely on your location. While people from the northern U.S. tend to say crayfish, according to a Grammarly blog, you’ll hear Louisianans saying “crawfish.” People out west and around Oklahoma call them “crawdads,” while “mudbugs” is the preferred term in the Mississippi Delta.

There’s no one way to prepare crawfish

Crawfish are enjoyed in a variety of ways around the world. The traditional Louisiana crawfish boil involves boiling andouille sausage, potatoes, onions, corn, and crawfish in the same pot (via Food & Wine). You might throw in peppers, asparagus, and garlic cloves, too. McCormick makes it easy to recreate the crawfish boil at home. On the company’s website, you’ll find Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, a product that combines seven spices essential for this dish.While people might think of Louisiana when they hear “crawfish,” 90% of all the world’s crawfish consumption happens in China, according to Goldthread. Dining on crawfish is a summertime social occasion in China, and the crustacean is found on the menu at China’s Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants. Here, chefs typically stir-fry their crawfish and spice them in a variety of ways, using garlic, salted egg yolk, or a mix called 13 spices that includes star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamom.Swedes throw colorful outdoor crawfish parties in August, according to Sweden’s official website. Crawfish in Sweden are cooked in brine with a lot of dill and eaten cold. Swedes pair their crawfish with a strong cheese and wash them down with beer or schnapps.In Nigeria, crawfish are used as a spice, according to All Nigerian Recipes. They’re baked in a hot oven until dry but not charred, then ground into a powder and used as a seasoning.

Crawfish are easy to eat once you know the tricks

No matter how much you try, shelling and eating crawfish is messy business. Diners may wear bibs, and you’ll want to keep a stack of napkins handy.The primary meat in crawfish is in the tail, though on larger critters you can also eat the claws. To get to the meat of the matter, Acadia Crawfish, purveyors of the Louisiana delicacy for three decades, offers on its website a step-by-step guide on how to peel and eat crawfish. Grab the creature at the head and the thickest part of the tail, and twist. Once the head and tail are separated, peel away a couple of the rings on the tail to expose the meat. Then pull the hunk of tail meat out, or save a step and suck the meat straight out of the tail. Once you have the method down, it’s quick and easy.Like chicken bones, leftover heads and tail shells can be used to make a flavorful stock after the pieces are rinsed to remove the seasonings used in the boil, according to We Are Not Foodies. More advice on leftovers comes from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, which suggests making a crawfish butter because many of the crustacean’s flavors are fat-soluble, not water-soluble.