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Although tasty crabs are available all year round, Autumn is the best season to eat crabs.  For example, many people like the hairy crab, which is also known as the Chinese mitten crab.  It is a kind of hairy crab which has more hair and grows in fresh water.  As the hairy crab is a hibernating creature, it needs to reserve energy before Winter.  So in Autumn, the hairy crab is full of crab paste and the meat is abundant and fat.  If you miss eating hairy crabs in Autumn and Winter, you will have to wait till next year.
 
So, do those of you who like hairy crabs know how to choose good quality crabs?  When you buy hairy crabs, first choose the size of the crab and feel its weight with your hands.  The heavier the crab, the better its quality.  The crab paste and crab meat are richer.  Secondly, the belly of the hairy crab must be white, which means that the lake where it has been growing is very clean.   In addition, the thicker the crab feet, the better its quality.
 
There is no difference in meat quality between male and female crabs. The biggest difference lies in the crab paste.  The paste of male crabs is soft and tender and is tastier that that of female crabs which is more solid and is suitable for other crab dishes, such as fried crab powder.
 
If the crab is  not cooked immediately, it is advisable to let the crab drink water first, then put it in the refrigerator and cover it with a wet towel to keep it fresh.  If the crab is put into the refrigerator only, the crab will become dry or even die.
 
The best way to cook the hairy crab is by steaming.  Before steaming, put a piece of perilla leaf underneath the hairy crab to expel the cold.  Then, place the crab belly are upwards when steaming  to keep the crab paste fresh and sweet and the meat juice tender and smooth; this will also avoid its losing water during the cooking process.
 
The order of eating is also very particular.  One should first start with the crab feet, then crab claws and body, and finally the crab paste.  As the crab body and crab paste are protected by the crab shell which helps to keep warm, they can be eaten last.  However, we should be careful with the stomach, gills, heart, lung, crab cover, and even the intestines of the crab.  There are harmful substances in these parts and eating them may cause diarrhea.
 
Although hairy crabs are delicious, do not eat too much.  They are rich in protein and generate calories.  If you eat too much, you will easily get fat.  The following four categories of people should eat less or even avoid it.
 
  1. Patients with cardiovascular disease
The content of cholesterol in crab meat and crab paste is very high. The World Health Organization recommends that the daily intake of cholesterol should be less than 300 mg, especially for those suffering from cardiovascular diseases. The cholesterol content in every 100 g of crab meat is generally 235 mg, and the crab yolk is 460 mg. Therefore, if you eat one medium size crab every day, your cholesterol intake has reached or is even higher than the daily limit.Therefore, people with cardiovascular disease should avoid eating crabs.
  1. People with seafood allergy
Crabs contain special crab protein.Eating crabs may cause allergy such as nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, and even urticaria or asthma.
  1. Patients with skin diseases
People suffering from dermatitis, eczema, tinea and other skin diseases should also be cautious, because eating crabs may aggravate the disease.
  1. People with high uric acidCrabs contain high protein.  People with high uric acid who eat too many crabs may have gout attack.
 
Autumn is here.  I trust that crab lovers cannot wait to taste hairy crabs.  So long as you know how to control your diet, you will have fun in enjoying the delicious food.