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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crawfish Boils In Lake Charles

MMMM Gotta love some crawfish

For thoes of you that have never heard of a crawfish...........lets fill you in

Crayfish Information


General Information

Crayfish, also called crawfish or crawdad, are closely related to the lobster. More than half of the more than 500 species occur in North America, particularly Kentucky (Mammoth Cave) and Louisiana in the Mississippi basin. Crayfish also live in Europe, New Zealand, East Asia and throughout the world, including the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Nearly all live in freshwater, although a few survive in salt water. Crayfish are characterised by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, or dark brown in colour. The head has a sharp snout, and the eyes are on movable stalks. Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.


Crayfish Appearance

The crayfish is typical of most shrimplike crustaceans and is characterised by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, white, pink or dark brown in colour.

Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long. Among the smallest is the 2.5-centimetre-long Cambarellus diminutus of the south-eastern United States. Among the largest is Astacopsis gouldi of Tasmania; its length may reach 40 cm and its weight about 3.5 kg (8 pounds).

The head has two pairs of sensory antennae and a pair of eyes on movable stalks. The appendages, or pereiopods, of the thorax include four pairs of walking legs which, as well as walking, are to probe cracks and crevices between rocks looking for food. Crayfish also own one pair of clawbearing chelipeds, which it extends in front of its body while moving. These strong pinchers are specialised for cutting, capturing food, attack, and defence. A pinch can hurt! The crayfish also has several pairs of specialised food handling "legs," bailers to cycle water over the gills, and five pairs of swimmerets which are under the abdomen. All of these "legs" can be regenerated if broken off.

Crayfish have a hard outside skeleton. This jointed exoskeleton provides protection and allows movement, but limits growth. As a result, the crayfish regularly gets too big for its skeleton, sheds it, and grows a new larger one. This is called molting. and occurs six to ten times during the first year of rapid growth, but less often during the second year. For a few days following each molt, crayfish have soft exoskeletons and are more vulnerable to predators.


Crayfish Behaviour

Crayfish, common in streams and lakes, often conceal themselves under rocks or logs. They are most active at night, when they feed largely on snails, algae, insect larvae, worms, and tadpoles; some eat vegetation (various water plants). A dead fish worms, corn, and salmon eggs are also favourites of the crayfish. Studies show that adults (one year old) become most active at dusk and continue heavy feeding activity until daybreak. Young crayfish are more likely to be the ones out during bright sunny days, while the older crayfish are more active on cloudy days and during the night. General movement is always a slow walk, but if startled, crayfish use rapid flips of their tail to swim backwards and escape danger.

Most crayfish live short lives, usually less than two years. Therefore, rapid, high-volume reproduction is important for the continuation of the species. Many crayfish become sexually mature and mate in the October or November after they're born, but fertilisation and egg laying usually occur the following spring. The fertilised eggs are attached to the female' swimmerets on the underside of her jointed abdomen. There the 10 to 800 eggs change from dark to translucent as they develop. The egg-carrying female is said to be "in berry," because the egg mass looks something like a berry. Females are often seen "in berry" during May or June. The eggs hatch in 2 to 20 weeks, depending on water temperature. The newly-hatched crayfish stay attached to their mother until shortly after their second molt.

The natural predators of the Crayfish include alligators, burbots (a type of cod), chicken, turtle, painted turtle, desman (a type of otter), grackle (a type of a bird) catfish, and of course here in Lake Charles Us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now how we do it in Lake Charles
          Let me start off by saying, crawfish are in season in Lake Charles from early spring, well till the crawfish run out. Crawfish are a delicacy here in Lake Charles. When in season you can find them at almost any seafood place here in town, but that’s not the way we like to eat them here in Lake Charles. We have what we call a crawfish boil. This is usually a social gathering, with friends, family, and with the smell of freshly cooked crawfish in the air some people might show up that you don’t know too. Usually accompanied by some zideco music (which I will cover in a later blog).The crawfish are usually served outside on a plastic covered table with corn, potatoe, and anything else you can throw into the pot.
The cooking process

The cooking process changes from cook to cook but I couldn't stop this blog without letting you know the basics. Usually you start with and outside burner and a large pot. Fill the pot up with water. Let the water come to a boil. Season the water with the spices of your choosing. Add whatever else you would like to add to the boiling water. Finally add the crawfish. Crawfish are much like shrimp as far as the cooking process; they are usually done in 7-12min

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