8 May 2016


Fresh saltwater crabs from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

It is interesting to live in a place where the religious dietary laws of that country prohibit the consumption and combination of certain food products.  In previous countries I have lived in, the consumption of pork and alcohol was prohibited (although both products were still available but were not consumed by devout people of faith).  Whereas here the list is more comprehensive and not only includes specific foods which are forbidden but also a combination of foods such as not being able to eat meat and dairy dishes during the course of the same meal.  Among the numerous laws that form part of kashrut are the prohibitions on the consumption of unclean animals such as pork, shellfish (both Mollusca and Crustacea), mixtures of meat and milk, and the commandment to slaughter mammals and birds according to a process known as shechita. There are also laws regarding agricultural produce that might impact on the suitability of food for consumption.

I'm not sure if the saltwater crabs in the photograph above from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea classify as a blue crab or Chesapeake Blue crab.  They certainly have a blue tinge to their legs and claws.  The Wikipedia article states that although this crab species Callinectes sapidus is native to "the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to Argentina and around the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  It has recently been reported north of Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine, potentially representing a range expansion due to climate change.   It has been introduced (via ballast water) to Japanese and European waters, and has been observed in the Baltic, North. Mediterranean and Black Seas.  The first record from European waters was made in 1901 at Rochefort, France.   In some parts of its introduced range, C. sapidus has become the subject of crab fishery, including in Greece, where the local population may be decreasing as a result of overfishing." 

It is possible to buy these crabs at the Ha-Carmel market and also at fish shops in Jaffa.

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