Crayfish, mudbugs, or crawdads. Whatever you call them in your neck of the woods, these animals are a prepper’s best friend. They may not look like much, but as any prepper worth his salt knows, you should never judge a book by its cover.
Staying in top shape is a must for every prepper, and part of that means eating healthy. In terms of nutrition, crayfish packs a lot in so little. A three-ounce serving of crayfish can fill you up with 30 percent of your daily value (DV) of vitamin B12, 25 percent of your DV of phosphorus, 10 percent of your DV of vitamin B3, vitamin B9, and zinc, and six percent of your DV of calcium. That same serving is also a low-fat source of protein, 14 grams to be exact.
The importance of these vitamins and nutrients can’t be stressed enough. B vitamins are needed to keep your various bodily systems and organs functioning optimally. Phosphorus and calcium, on the other hand, play important roles in maintaining your bones, soft tissue, and blood. And without zinc, your wounds wouldn’t heal properly, nor would your immune system be at its best.
Unfortunately, there is one downside to crayfish. According to HealthyEating.SFGate.com, three ounces of crayfish is loaded with 115 mg of cholesterol. That’s roughly 40 percent of the recommended 300 mg of cholesterol for healthy folks; those with heart disease should keep their daily cholesterol intake within 200 mg or less.
Still, you can’t go wrong with making crayfish part of your diet. They may be high in cholesterol, but these tiny lobsters will fill you up with protein, a score of B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium, and zinc. Just keep watch over your cholesterol and crayfish will do your prepper body a real solid. (Related: Must-have vitamin supplements for every prepper.)
As nutrient-rich as crayfish is, how exactly do you go about cooking and eating it? The same way you do lobsters. Boiling them whole in heavily seasoned water for 10 to 12 minutes and then dumping them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. If you like, you could throw in other items like sausages, potatoes, and mushrooms. From here, you pick out the meat from the tail, claws, and if you like, the head. Simple, easy, and delicious. Plus, frozen boiled crayfish will keep for a month or two. The tails will last for a good two to six months if stored in vacuum bags or freezer bags.
If boiling isn’t your thing, then you can just as easily grill, saute, fry, or barbecue crayfish. It’s all up to you. The important thing is to avoid eating crayfish raw. Cooking kills off nasty little parasites known as oriental lung flukes. So no matter your cooking method, heat up your crayfish before digging in.
Do you prefer actual fish to crayfish? No problem: Just turn crayfish into a bait. Adult bass are said to have a preference for crayfish, though other species of fish seem to enjoy them too. As per BassFishing-Gurus.com, using crayfish as bait may also get you perch, sunfish, and all other kinds of freshwater fish. In fact, to many fish, a crayfish on a hook is basically their equivalent of a fancy “steak and potatoes dinner.”
Forget buying crayfish, however. You can just collect crayfish from creeks with plenty of rocks. Leaving crayfish traps overnight will get you a few the next day, but you can also use a net and flashlight to catch them yourself.
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