18 delicious facts about Louisiana crawfish

It is really early for crawfish, but we are already seeing them in the stores and restaurants. Hook'ed Up owner Chef Brandon Mier gives some great tips for a crawfish boil.

Crawfish season is in full swing.

All across the state, Louisianans are eagerly chowing down on these morsels of crustacean goodness at backyard boils, roadside and grocery stands and local festivals. Though they're a common sight in all parts of the state, there may be a few facts you may not know about the mudbug. Here are some interesting tibits we learned from the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board.

What is a crawfish? 

Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans abundant in the swamps and marshes of south Louisiana. Although wild-caught crawfish, particularly from the Atchafalaya Basin, are still significant to production, there are thousands of acres of crawfish ponds managed by farmers in the lower Gulf Coast regions that provide a consistent and readily available supply of fresh crawfish.

READ MORECrawfish supply, demand 'surprisingly good'

120-150 million pounds

The annual yield of crawfish produced in Louisiana.

$300 million 

The total economic contribution to the Louisiana economy exceeds this amount annually.

7,000

The number of people depending directly or indirectly on the crawfish industry exceeds this figure.

Most crawfish are harvested between December and June, but March, April and May are the peak months when Louisiana supplies are greatest and quality is best. On rare occasions, crawfish may be harvested in July and August in the state.

Source:  Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board 

Myths

1. Don't eat the dead ones!

Coming across a straight-tailed mudbug in a batch of boiled crawfish doesn't mean the critter was dead before being cooked. Dead crawfish can have tightly curled tails after being boiled, and live crawfish can have straight tails if they are cold or their tails get caught on another crawfish during the boiling process.

2. Saltwater gets rid of the poop chute!

TRY THIS RECIPEChef Kevin's Crawfish Bread

Using saltwater to clean crawfish before boiling doesn't purge them of mud, debris and waste from the intestinal tract. The best method for purging crawfish is through freshwater filtration systems, but it takes between 12 and 24 hours of purging to fully empty waste from the intestinal tract.

3. Everyone loves crawfish!

Louisiana crawfish have been brought to other states and countries, and they've flourished in the environment. Unfortunately, they're a nuisance to ecosystems, destroying the native habitat, vegetation and species in many places.

Source:  LSU AgCenter

History 

Commercial sales of crawfish in Louisiana began in the late 1800s. At that time, crawfish were harvested from natural waters throughout the southern part of the state. The first record of a commercial crawfish harvest in the United States was in 1880. That year, a harvest of 23,400 pounds was recorded, with a value of $2,140. By 1908, a U.S. Census report listed Louisiana’s crawfish production at 88,000 pounds, with a value of $3,600.

Source:  Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board 

Fun facts 

  • Natural vegetation does not provide enough of a food source so farmers must plant a food source.  Usually the farmers plant rice because of its ability to grow in water.
  • Crawfish can shed (molt) their shells up to 15 times!
  • A crawfish nearly doubles in size with each molt.
  • The development of new freezing techniques and the removal of the fat from the tails gives crawfish a shelf life of up to 12 months.  
  • Crawfish are an excellent source of protein. The low calorie edible meat is found in the tail.  
  • Louisiana leads the nation in the production of domestic crawfish.  
  • One quarter pound of crawfish tails contains only 82 calories.
  • Crawfish are also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, iron, protein, and the B Vitamins.     
  • Crawfish ponds are usually flooded in late September or early October.
  • Farm raised crawfish account for approximately 88% of crawfish harvested and production from the wild accounts for approximately 12 percent. 

Source:  Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board 

Festivals 

Louisiana Crawfish Festival | Chalmette 

March 23-26 (5-11 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m.- midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday) 

St. Bernard Parish Government Complex8201 W. Judge Perez Drive

$5 admission

The Original Downtown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival | Lake Charles

April 7-9 (4-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday)

$10.50 general admission, $27.50 Love Bugs, Crawfish Family Value Pack $80.50 and VIP $49.50.

Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive

NOLA Crawfish Festival | New Orleans 

3-10 p.m. daily May 1-3

NOLA Brewery & Tap Room, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St.

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival | Breaux Bridge 

May 5-7 (4 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.- midnight Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

$5 Friday and Sunday, $10 Saturday or $15 for three-day advance pass

Parc Hardy, 1290 Rees St., Breaux Bridge

Crawfish Gatorfest | Monroe 

May 18-21

University of Louisiana-Monroe, 700 University Ave.

$6 admission except Thursday when admission is $1

Mudbug Madness | Shreveport 

11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily May 25-28

Free until 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and $5 after 5 p.m.  $5 Saturday and Sunday

Festival Plaza, 101 Crockett St. in downtown Shreveport

Crawfest at Betty Virginia Park | Shreveport

11 a.m.- 7 p.m. March 25

Free admission

Betty Virginia Park, 3901 Fairfield Ave.

 

 

 

Gannett Louisiana


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