Crawfish researchers and crawfish wholesale buyers know a few things about crawfish. Most will tell you to buy them only during crawfish season.
Crawfish season is over, but at this late date (July 27), a few boil houses are still advertising that they have boiled crawfish. Caveat emptor! Caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that means “buyer beware.”
By this time in the life cycle of the Louisiana crawfish, the little critter has shed its shell several time. If you’re buying crawfish in late July for a boil, they may be very large, but the shells are hard and almost black. And they probably won’t taste very good. That’s why reputable crawfish wholesalers stopped buying crawfish more than a month ago. They know that late summer crawfish just don’t taste good.
And that’s why you’ll only find frozen crawfish tail meat now. Crawfish peeling house proprietors know that the ratio of shell-to-meat is greater that it was when the crawfish were smaller, so they stop buying crawfish for the tail meat market in early-June.
For the record, we here at Crawfish Report eats only the freshest crawfish tail meat. Our definition of “fresh” means never frozen. And Crawfish Report rarely ever eats boiled crawfish before spring. Crawfish tastes best when it is in season. Come to think of it, everything (tomatoes, melons, crabs, shrimp) tastes best when it is in season.
Crawfish caught and eaten during the full-borne summer will often taste muddy. Crawfish research Dr. Jay Huner says, “Everything depends on time of year and where the crawfish come from, regardless of pond/wild sources. Pond crawfish are no more uniform than wild crawfish.” Dr. Huner has been studying Louisiana crawfish for more than 30 years so he should know. If you are considering plunking down your hard-earned money for a platter of boiled, you ought to ask for a sample first. If they don’t want to give you a sample, don’t buy them.
Do yourself a favor…insist on the freshest Louisiana crawfish.