Crawfish boils are more than tradition in Southern Louisiana; they’re a way of life.
More than a simple get-together, crawfish boils bring family and friends together to eat, smile and reminisce. Every year, Cajuns and regular people throughout the Pelican State wait (somewhat patiently) for the first crawfish drive thrus to pop up throughout their community. Not long after, the smell of boiling crawfish wafts through the air.
As with any tradition, crawfish and crawfish boils come with their fair share of myths. One of the most commonly held of these is that the best way to clean crawfish is by rinsing them in salt water – or even simply placing them in a tub of salt water. This is an old wives tale, and not something we recommend.
Crawfish excrete waste through their gills, and purging takes time. While a salt rinse may clean the existing waste from their gills, it will not force the crawfish to purge themselves and eliminate waste from their intestines.
If you truly want to purge crawfish, they need to be flushed for several hours with extremely-fresh, oxygenated water. We began doing this to keep our inventory healthy, but learned that crawfish actually purge themselves while fasting in the fresh, clear water. While labor-intensive, we feel it is the best way to ensure our crawfish are purged and ready to eat.
While we keep our crawfish in this hyper-environment right up until they are shipped, we still recommend rinsing them off with a cool hose once you receive them to not only refresh them, but give them a final shower. Usually the crawfish finish the perge on the trip to you.
You can go ahead and save your salt!