The Family Recipe Book's Famous Steamed Crabs / Maryland / August 2009
Is there anything better on a hot August afternoon than a bushel of spicy steamed crabs?
What gives the shells their bright red/orange color?
Blue crabs have pigments, including Alpha-crustacyanin and Astaxanthin, in their shells. The pigments interact to form a blue-green color. When cooked, the Alpha-crustacyanin breaks down, leaving only the Astaxanthin, which gives the shells their "hot" color. (Blue Crab FAQs)