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what to do with live crawfish - purge?


John Michael
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Ah, the age-old "purging" debate. Some folks swear that they can encourage the crawfish to evacuate their digestive systems if plunged into salted water--it's still a common-enough practice all over Louisiana. BUT, it's just a waste of salt, according to the LSU AgCenter aquaculture researchers (more than you ever wanted to know about crawfish, compliments of LSU). The only way to get crawfish to "clean out" their systems is to hold them for 12-24 hours in aerated tanks without food.

You do need to wash the exteriors, easily accomplished in a washtub with a garden hose (or in the bathtub, if you must).

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it's still a common-enough practice all over Louisiana.

Indeed, ive never been to a crawfish boil where the crawfish weren't purged TBH even though science says it doesn't really do anything.

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it's still a common-enough practice all over Louisiana.

Indeed, ive never been to a crawfish boil where the crawfish weren't purged TBH even though science says it doesn't really do anything.

The practice is hanging around home & backyard boils, but (most) commercial boilers certainly don't bother with a salt-water purge. A thorough rinsing, yes, but no soaking in near-brine. Of course, you can buy purged crawfish (which have been held in recirculating water tanks), but expect to pay a premium.

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