Other Names: crayfish or crawdads
Identification & Biology: are freshwater crustaceans that closely resemble small lobsters who feed mostly on dead animals and plants.
Range & Habitat: Crawfish are found at the bottoms of bodies of water throughout the world; mostly brooks and streams where they have protection from predators. Most crawfish are very sensitive to toxins, and cannot tolerate polluted water.
Market Description: Crawfish are normally sold whole, either live or frozen.
Buying Tips: Boiled crawfish which died before boiling are safe to eat if they were not dead for a long time and have been chilled. (This does not mean that a sack of crawfish that are all dead should be boiled.) To better test the edibility of crawfish, examine the tail meat. Avoid consumption if the tail meat is mushy.
Recommended Preparation: Crawfish are highly versatile when it comes to cooking them. Traditionally, nothing is more common in Cajun Country than an old fashioned crawfish boil, but there are dozens of ways to prepare them.
While there is no doubt the favorite crawfish recipes among true Cajuns are crawfish boils, crawfish etouffee, crawfish pies and fried crawfish po'boys, the mudbugs can also be seen in seafood gumbos, appetizer selections and even savory deserts, like a crawfish beignet.
But if you want the real Cajun experience, then you're going to go for the crawfish boil. All you need is a 60 pound bag of our select live crawfish, seafood boil seasoning, a few ears of corn and a couple red potatoes, a large crawfish boiling pot (you might call 'em stock pots) and about 20 of your closest friends. After boiling, empty the pot of boiled crawfish on a wooden picnic table covered in newspaper, pop in your favorite selection of Cajun music and get to peelin'!