How Many Crabs are in a Bushel?

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Crab boils are a summertime favourite and the best way to enjoy this delicacy is by catching your own crabs. But what if you aren’t an avid crabber? Is it still worth hunting for these crustaceans, or should you just buy them at your local grocery store?

To help answer both questions we will first take a look at how many crabs are in a bushel of then talk about that all-important question: “How much do you need?”

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When measuring crabs it is common to use bushels as a means to describe what you caught, are purchasing, or selling. Bushels are a measurement used typically to describe the amount, and or volume of an agricultural product, but are used by fisherman as well. In this article, we will be discussing what they are and how many crabs can fit in one.

Bushels are typically made up of 36 quarts or 32 pounds if holding products such as oats, barley, and other fine grains, which also make them very versatile for all sorts of measurements.

A bushel has also been traditionally defined as the volume equivalent to four pecks or eight gallons, but it can also be measured by weight with 64 pounds (wheat) per bushel when speaking specifically about wheat. 

In the context of crabbing, a bushel refers to a basket that’s used to hold your catch. Its size may vary depending on your region, and your catch so you will want to ensure you’re aware of what the average weight is for one in your area.

As you can tell, there are some nuances to this answer as there are a number of factors that will contribute to the number of crabs you will receive in a bushel. To answer it succinctly.


How many crabs are in a bushel?

“A bushel of crabs” is a term that refers to the wooden basket-like container crabbers use for storing their catch. They typically contain 5 1/2 dozens of large crabs and 6-7 dozen small, medium ones.


Different Sizes of Crabs

  • Small Crabs: 5 to 5 ½ inches
  • Medium Crabs: 5 ½ to 6 inches
  • Large Crabs: 6 to 6½ inches
  • Jumbo Crabs: 6½ to 7 inches
  • Colossal or Heavyweights: 7 plus inches


Amount of Crabs in a Bushel By Size

This table will give you a break down of how many crabs are in a bushel by the crab:

Size of CrabGeneral DimensionsCrabs per Bushel
Small Crabs: 5 to 5.5 Inches84 to 96 Crabs
Medium Crabs: 5.5 to 6 Inches72 to 84 Crabs
Large Crabs:6 to 6.5 Inches60 to 72 Crabs
Jumbo Crabs:6.5 to 7 Inches48 to 60 Crabs
Colossal or Heavyweights: 7 inches plus32 to 48 Crabs


Things to note

The number of crabs in a bushel can vary quite dramatically based on the type and size of crab you are catching. The dimensions mentioned above are rough guidelines but are a great start if you were generally unaware.

Crab Bushel Facts

  • A bushel is a unit of measure.
  • There are approximately 5.5 dozen crabs in one bushel of large crabs.
  • There are approximately 6-7 dozen crabs in one bushel of medium to small crabs.


How many people does a bushel of crabs serve?

If you’re looking to have a crab boil it’s good to know ahead of time how many crabs you will need to feed each person. This will depend on your crew and the bushels you purchase. 

A blue crab will typically provide you with approximately 1 ounce of crab meat per crab so you will want to account for what you think your guests will be able to eat. 

Your average portion size will be around 250 grams or approximately 1/2 pound of crab meat per person. This means you will need 6 to 12 crabs per person. 

Your average bushel can feed 7 – 10 people, and will contain 62 to 74 crabs.


How long does it take to cook a bushel of crabs?

So you are ready to cook your bushel of crabs and you’re wondering how long its going to take? If you have a large pot (60 quarts) to steam, and or boil the crab you will be able to cook a bushel in 25 to 30 minutes.

If you are using a smaller pot and cooking portions of the bushel at a time, expect it to take longer.


Buying a bushel of crabs

If you’re having a boil you’ll probably be on the lookout for a bushel of crabs to buy, Knowing how many crabs you’re looking to buy is important and will depend on how many people you’re trying to feed.

If everyone has 1-3 crabs, a group of 10 can generally make do with a bushel of small to medium crabs and have some leftover!


Summary

The number of crabs in a bushel will depend on the type of crab, size, and sex. If you are looking to have a crab boil then one bushel will generally be enough to feed 10 people. If you’re looking to feed more people it’s also possible to buy half bushels or single crabs from most places. 

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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.