Canning Crab Meat Recipe: How To Can Crab Meat Step-By-Step

canning crab meat

In this post, you’re going to learn another canning recipe for emergency food storage — how to can crab meat. Whoever said you couldn’t enjoy seafood during a crisis?

Canning crab meat may be one of the last foods you would learn to do. But it’s bacon, we all love it. So in this post, we’re going to talk about how to can bacon to stash away in a crisis

Did you know that canning is an excellent way of preserving crab meat and any other type of seafood? Canning is usually a way of preserving food whereby processed food contents are put and sealed in an airtight jar or container and stored. This method provides the stored foods shelf life of up to a maximum of five years under specific conditions. Canning provides a safe and economical solution to preserving quality food in your home.

The process of canning fresh crab meat is the best way to keep its delicious ingredients in place for future meals. This guide will help you learn how to can your crab meat entirely and more reliably. There are steps that you can follow to make all the work easier. Once you learn how to preserve crab meat by canning, you’ll get to enjoy its flavor at all times of the year.

Since a pressure canner will be used in this process, you must get some of its basics. There are two types of pressure canners that you can use for canning crab meat. These are the weighted gauge canner and Dial gauge canner. Weighted gauge pressure canners are built to perform a jiggling action or rock gently to maintain the required pressure. On the other hand, dial gauge pressure canners are designed to come with a pressure regulator or counterweight that seals off an open vent pipe on the canner to pressurize it.

Pressure canners are designed to accommodate small-sized jars or a single layer of the quart. They can also be deep enough to accommodate double layers of the pint. Before beginning the canning process of your crab meat, you should read through all the instructions given on how to use the specific pressure canner you choose.

The following are the supplies you’ll need and the step by step process for canning your crab meat.


  • Ice
  • Clean drinking water/tap water
  • Lemon juice or citric acid
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Half-pint and pint jars
  • Pressure canners


  1. Prepare Crabs
  2. Simmer Crabs
  3. Cool Crabs
  4. Fill Jars
  5. Cover

Step 1: Prepare Crabs

The first step is to prepare the live crabs for preservation. Keep them on the ice until they are ready to be canned. Wash the crabs repeatedly while changing the cold water you are using. You should use clean drinking water, preferably from a tap. Fresh is mainly recommended because it is pure and free from bacteria as compared to seawater. This prevents you from introducing bacteria into your canning jars.

Step 2: Simmer Crabs

Now you can simmer your crabs in water that contains a cup of lemon juice or citric acid and 2-3 tablespoons of salt per one gallon of water. The simmering should be done for around 20 minutes.

The lemon juice or citric will help a lot in preventing the crab meat from turning dark during canning and storage. There are minerals naturally present in crabs, and all other seafood that brings about a darkening action of lemon juice or citric acid is not used. White vinegar can sometimes apply in this step. This particular step also helps counter the crab meat smell that may stay in the pressure canner for some time.

Step 3: Cool Crabs

After simmering, cool the crab in cold water and then drain all the water. Remove the crab’s shell and later remove its meat from the body and claws. Soak the crab meat for two minutes in cold water that contains at least two cups of lemon juice and two tablespoons of salt per each gallon of water.

Alternatively, you can use four cups of white vinegar in this step instead of lemon juice. After that, it would be best if you got rid of the excess moisture from the crab meat by draining or squeezing.

Step 4:  Fill Jars

Take your hot half-pint jars and fill them with approximately 6 ounces of the crab meat. For the pint jars, you should fill them with around 12 ounces of crab meat and leave a headspace of roughly 1 inch. If you decide to use lemon juice in this step, add two tablespoons of it to each of the half-pint jars and four tablespoons of it to each of the pint jars. On the other hand, when using citric acid, add a half spoon of it to every half-pint jar and one teaspoon to each pint jar.

Step 5: Cover

Cover the half-pint and pint jars with fresh boiling water while maintaining a headspace of approximately 1 inch. Get rid of all the air bubbles and make adjustments to the headspace if need be. Use a clean paper towel that has been dampened to wipe the rims of the jars you are using.

After that, adjust the lids and process your crab meat. Use the following tables as guides on the recommended processing time for the canning method you choose.

Table 1: The Dial gauge pressure canner.

Size of jar Processing time 0-2000 ft 2001- 4000ft 4001- 6000ft 6001- 8000ft
Half-pint jars 70 minutes 11lb 12lb 13lb 14lb

Pint jars 80 minutes 11lb 12lb 13lb 14lb

The table above shows the processing time for crab meat that is recommended when the canner pressure of the Dial gauge is at different altitudes, as shown.

Table 2: The Weighted-gauge Pressure canner

Size of jar Processing time 0 – 1000ft Above 1000ft
Half-pint jars 70 minutes 10lb 15lb

Pint jars 80 minutes 10lb 15lb

The above table shows the time for processing crab meat when using the weighted-gauge pressure canner at different altitudes.


Canning your favorite crab meat is a simple way to ensure you have fresh seafood at any time. The process provides a fulfilling experience that can be a source of pride for you. Crab meat and all other kinds of seafood tend to lose their nutrients and flavor when they stay for long without any preservation. Therefore, the procedure given should be followed carefully so that the preserved food maintains its quality. The whole process will ensure that your kitchen is stocked with fresh foods throughout the year.

I hope you liked this recipe post on how to can bacon.