About 80,000 home-grown “June Yellow” crabs in Songjiang are mature for capture and the sales period is expected to last until August.
A “June Yellow” crab is a hairy crab in its “adolescent” period. A hairy crab will uncoat for more than 10 times in its entire life time, and after its final uncoating before its adulthood, the crab is nicknamed as a “June Yellow,” or liu yue huang.
The majority of the locally-produced crabs this year weigh above 100 grams each and their crab cream is juicy, according to staff of the Shanghai Yuyue Aquaculture Cooperative in the district’s Maogang Town. The cooperative is also Shanghai’s largest local hairy crab breeding center.
Compared with the female ones, the male “June Yellow” crabs are preferred during the crab season for their tender meat and plenty of cream. It is said that the crabs taste best after they uncoat for the third time and before the fourth time.
“In the past people ate ‘June Yellow’ after their fourth uncoating. Nowadays, with developments in breeding technology, people eat ‘June Yellow’ after their third uncoating. So even though June in the lunar calendar hasn’t arrived yet, some of the male ‘June Yellow’ crabs are mature enough for capture. In summer we eat hairy crab cream, whereas in autumn and winter we eat their oil,” said Wang Chenghui, a chief Shanghai expert on hairy crab breeding technology.
“After a decade’s research and exploration, we have found out a unique Songjiang way to breed ‘June Yellow’,” said Jiang Zhijuan, deputy chief of the Songjiang Aquaculture Technology Breeding Station.