Crayfish: What is it? And how to you cook it?

Like other lobsters, you can also eat the crayfish. It is a delicacy. But what kind of lobster is it exactly? Is it a fish? And how do you cook it? You can read that below.


Chapter 1

What kind of animal is crayfish?

The crayfish or American crayfish or European crayfish belongs to the group of crustaceans and consists of two superfamilies and three subfamilies. These three families correspond to lobsters. The other families are similar to crawfish.

Crayfish cause ecological problems in the inland waterways of the Netherlands. This is because they completely empty the waterway. In fact, crayfish eat everything they encounter, including both native animals and plant species.


The American crayfish is therefore a crustacean animal that is harmful to other animal and plant species. A convenient solution to the crayfish infestation is to catch and eat them. The crayfish is a delicacy.

Keep in mind that these creatures are cooked alive and they can be quite aggressive. It is therefore important to watch out for the scissors.

These freshwater crayfish are very sensitive to pollution. You can recognize the European crayfish by its brown to black-brown color and bright red pincers on the underside. There is also a blue variant of these lobsters, but the claws of these variants do not have a red underside.

The adult red American crayfish has a reddish color and bright red tips on the claws. They grow between 12 and 20 centimeters. The males have larger right pincers, while the females have two equal pincers.

Chapter 2

Where do they come from?

The red American crayfish comes from the southeastern United States and Mexico and lives in freshwater. The European crayfish, on the other hand, is originally found in the Netherlands. These lobsters also live in freshwater.

Chapter 3

Where do they come from?

A crayfish has a fresh and sweet taste when you cook it. This animal is often eaten in salads in combination with sweet fruits such as apples. However, you can also serve it in combination with a creamy sauce.

Chapter 4

Is it a fish?

Since crayfish belongs to the family of crustaceans, it is understandable if you’re wondering whether this animal is a fish. The crayfish is not a fish, but a crustacean or shellfish. This animal has a shield, which is also called a shell or armor.

The crayfish, like other lobsters, lives in water and is an arthropod animal. This means that the lobster’s body consists of several segments. These segments are all connected to each other.

Chapter 5

How to cook crayfish?

Crayfish is a tasty delicacy. Before you can cook the crayfish, it is important that you clean it first. This is done to remove impurities, such as mud and grass, from the intestines. This makes the animals more edible.

Cleaning them

To clean them, first place the crayfish in a bucket of clean tap water. Over the course of an hour, change the water a few times. This will clean the shellfish. If any dead crayfish float in the tank during the cleaning process, remove them and dispose of them immediately.

Crayfish taste best when you cook them alive. If you don’t plan to cook the lobsters right away, you can store them in the open air instead. After all, they will die if they are kept in water for too long.

Another way to clean the crayfish is to use salt. First, sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the crayfish. This makes the crayfish go wild and they start vomiting. This ensures that their digestive system is cleared of mud and other debris.

Note that salt can cause the crustaceans to die during the cleaning process. After this, use large utensils to transfer the crayfish to a container of water. After that, you can sprinkle them with salt again.

Next, pour clean water over the live crayfish until they are just submerged. You then stir gently in the container with large kitchen utensils for about 3 minutes. The movement of the water removes mud from the carapace and gills.

After this, let the salt water drain, but you leave the crayfish in the tank, after which you rinse them two more times.

Peeling crayfish

You still must peel crayfish before you add them to your salad, for example. But how do you actually peel the lobsters? Peeling doesn’t have to be difficult:

  1. Twist the tail. This will remove the tail from the head.
  2. Then gently pull the middle fin at the back of the tail. This technique ensures that you can remove the intestinal tract through the tail.
  3. After this, flip the tail and use both thumbs to remove the shell. Now you can eat the lobster.

Note: shelling crayfish is more difficult when the lobsters are small. In that case, you can make a small cut in the back with a knife. You then use the knife to carefully remove the intestinal tract from the animal.

Cooking crayfish

Once you have cleaned the crayfish, you can cook them. This process is simple:

  1. First, bring a large pan with water and stock cubes to a boil over high heat.
  2. While the water is boiling, cook a large bowl of ice water.
  3. After this, put the crayfish in the pan. It is possible that not all lobsters are the same size. In that case, put the larger lobsters in the pan first. This way you ensure that all lobsters are cooked.
  4. Then, put a lid on the pan.
  5. Let the lobsters cook for a few minutes.
  6. After this, scoop the lobsters out of the broth, after which you immediately put them in the ice water.
  7. Leave the lobsters in the ice water for about 10 minutes.
  8. Then you can peel the crayfish.
  9. Finally, make a cocktail sauce that you can mix with salad. Place the crayfish on top. This is one of the ways you can eat crayfish.

Grilling on the barbecue

Crayfish are usually boiled. Another cooking method, however, is by grilling the crayfish on the BBQ. Before you can barbecue the crayfish, it must first be cooked. So first, you follow the first 7 steps of the cooking process described above.

  1. While you are taking care of the cooking process, light the barbecue so that it has reached the right temperature when you start grilling the crayfish.
  2. When you have cooked the crayfish and removed them from the ice water, brush them with olive oil on all sides with a brush.
  3. After this, sprinkle the crayfish with salt and any other desired spices.
  4. Then you put them on the barbecue, where you let them sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Then, turn the lobsters over and grill the other side as well. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. After this process, remove the lobsters from the barbecue and, if you want to, drizzle some lemon juice over them. Now you can enjoy deliciously grilled crayfish.