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Eating stone crabs at home

Stone crabs are sold fully cooked, because freezing or icing raw claws causes the meat to stick to the shell. Kerry Siemsen, co-owner of Old Dixie Seafood in Boca Raton, offers these tips for enjoying stone crabs at home.

— Stone crabs are best served the day you buy them. They can be kept for one day, if necessary.

— Purchase cracked claws. Fishmongers have a special machine that gently cracks the claws and prevents the shells from becoming embedded in the meat.

— Store cracked claws in the refrigerator on ice. Don't bury them in ice, however, or the meat will absorb too much moisture.

— Buy un-cracked claws if you can't eat them within a day. Store them for up to a week in the fridge on ice. Crack them by wrapping them in a towel and gently hitting them with a mallet, hammer or heavy spoon.

— Serve stone crabs with your favorite mustard sauce.

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