Best time to enjoy liuyue huang hairy crabs arrives
About 80,000 home-grown liuyue huang, or “June yellow,” crabs in Songjiang are now ready to purchase and sales are expected to last until August.
A “June yellow” crab is a hairy crab in its “adolescent” period. A hairy crab sheds its coat more than 10 times in its lifetime, and just before adulthood it is nicknamed as a “June yellow,” or liuyue huang.
Most local crabs this year weigh more than 100 grams each and their crab cream is juicy, according to staff at the Shanghai Yuyue Aquaculture Cooperative in Maogang Town. The cooperative is Shanghai’s largest local hairy crab breeding center.
Compared with females, male “June yellow” crabs are preferred for their tender meat and plenty of cream. It is said that the crabs taste best after they uncoat for the third time and before the fourth time.
“In the past people ate ‘June yellow’ crabs after their fourth uncoating. Nowadays, with developments in breeding technology, people eat them after their third uncoating. So even though June in the lunar calendar hasn’t yet arrived, some male ‘June yellow’ crabs are mature enough for capture. In summer we eat hairy crab cream, whereas in autumn and winter we eat their oil,” said Wang Chenghui, a Shanghai hairy crab expert.
“After a decade’s research and exploration, we have found out a unique Songjiang way to breed ‘June yellow’,” said Jiang Zhijuan, deputy chief of the Songjiang Aquaculture Technology Breeding Station.