It’s hard to imagine a world without crabmeat. Whether steamed, boiled, or stir-fried, this seafood delicacy is a staple in cuisines worldwide. But how did humans first discover that crabs were edible? Let’s look at the history of crab consumption to find out.
How did humans discover crabs were edible?
Crabs are a popular seafood dish worldwide, but how did humans first discover they were edible?
It is thought that early human societies living near coastal areas were the first to eat crabs. These early people probably noticed that crabs were a common food source for other animals, such as birds and fish.
They may have also observed that crabs tended to be pretty easy to catch.
Given these observations, it is likely that early humans took a chance and tried eating crabs themselves. And, as we now know, crabs are indeed edible and delicious!
Over time, different cultures developed their cooking methods and eating crabs, resulting in various crab dishes we enjoy today.
History of Eating Crabs
The first recorded instance of crab consumption comes from China in the 4th century BCE.
At this time, crabs were considered a luxury food and were only eaten by the upper classes. It wasn’t until the 2nd century CE that crabs began appearing in literature and artwork as an everyday foodstuff.
Around this time, crab started appearing in dishes from other parts of Asia, including Japan and Korea.
It wasn’t until the 15th century that crabs began appearing in European cuisine.
One of the earliest references to crab consumption in Europe comes from a cookbook published in 1475 CE. This book contained a recipe for “sowse of crabbes,” which called for the crabs to be boiled and served with bread and butter.
Crab continued to gain popularity in Europe over the centuries and eventually made its way to the Americas with European colonists.
Crabmeat is enjoyed by people worldwide today, but it hasn’t always been such an everyday foodstuff. It’s only been within the last few hundred years that crab has become widely consumed. So next time you enjoy a delicious crab dish, take a moment to think about how this humble seafood became such an essential part of human cuisine.