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The History of Dungeness Crab and Its Significance Today

April 22, 2023

Dungeness crab on a plate

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab is a type of crab found in the waters along the Pacific coast of North America. It is named after the town of Dungeness, Washington, where it was first commercially harvested in the late 1800s. Since then, it has become a popular seafood delicacy and a significant part of Pacific Northwest cuisine. In this blog post, we'll explore the history of Dungeness crab and its significance today.

History of Dungeness Crab

The Dungeness crab has been a part of the Pacific Northwest's indigenous diet for thousands of years. Native Americans used to catch them by hand, wading into the shallow water at low tide. They would then prepare the crab by boiling or roasting it over a fire.

The first commercial harvesting of Dungeness crab began in the late 1800s. Fishermen in the Pacific Northwest discovered that the crab was not only abundant but also delicious. They began using traps to catch them, and soon Dungeness crab became a staple in the local seafood industry.

Today, Dungeness crab is still a significant part of the Pacific Northwest's economy. Commercial fishermen catch them from the waters off the coast of Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington state. They are also popular with recreational fishermen, who can catch them from piers, jetties, and boats.

Why is Dungeness Crab So Popular?

Dungeness crab has a sweet, delicate flavor that is unique among crustaceans. It is also very versatile and can be prepared in many different ways, including boiled, steamed, grilled, or baked. It is often served with melted butter and lemon juice or used in dishes like crab cakes or crab dip.

In addition to its delicious taste, Dungeness crab is also considered to be a healthy seafood choice. It is low in calories and fat but high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals.


Q: Where is the best place to buy Dungeness crab?

A: You can find fresh Dungeness crab at most seafood markets along the Pacific coast. Look for live crab that is still moving and has a shiny, firm shell.

Q: How do I cook Dungeness crab?

A: The most common way to cook Dungeness crab is to boil it in salted water for 10-12 minutes. You can also steam it or grill it, depending on your preference.

Q: Can I freeze Dungeness crab?

A: Yes, you can freeze Dungeness crab for up to three months. Be sure to clean and cook it before freezing, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.


Dungeness crab has a rich history and remains a beloved seafood delicacy today. Its sweet, delicate flavor and versatility in cooking make it a popular choice for Pacific Northwest cuisine. Whether you're enjoying it in a fancy restaurant or cooking it at home, Dungeness crab is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So next time you're in the mood for seafood, give Dungeness crab a try!

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