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Crawfish–or mud bugs–are small shellfish that resemble lobster. Crawfish are most abundant in Louisiana and play a key role in the region's Cajun cuisine. Like lobster, crawfish must be kept alive until cooked. If you purchase live crawfish and do not plan on cooking them immediately, you must store them properly or they will die.

Keep the live crawfish in the traveling storage container in which they were sold. Place the container at the bottom of a cooler. The cooler should be large enough to accommodate the crawfish container with room to spare on the top and sides of the cooler.

Empty a bag of ice into the cooler. Make sure you have enough ice to completely surround the crawfish container on all sides.

Place one or two towels under cold running water, then wring them out to remove excess water.

Place the cold, wet towels on top of the ice surrounding the crawfish container. Close the cooler securely and place it in a cold, dark area (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) such as a garage. For best results, store live crawfish for no longer than 24 hours.

Remove all of the crawfish when you’re ready to use them. Cook them all at once.


Discard crawfish that had died in the container before cooking. If they were alive up until the cooking process, their tails will be curved, not straight. Dead crawfish spoil quickly and can make you sick.

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Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.