Q:

What foods have to be broken before eating?

A:

Quick Answer

All kinds of shellfish must be broken to be eaten. These include lobsters, crabs, shrimp, mussels, clams and oysters. While crustacean shells can be used to cook, they are not edible themselves.

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Full Answer

Many people enjoy shellfish, but sometimes hard work is needed to earn the treat inside. They come in different varieties that require different methods of breaking down. Lobsters, crabs and shrimp, for example, are arthropods similar to insects. The three main body segments – head, thorax and abdomen – are encased in a hard exoskeleton.

The easiest way to remove the hard shell is to boil the shellfish to loosen the meat inside. Then the legs are removed. With a lobster, hold the tail with one hand and the thorax with the other and twist the tail off. To remove a crab's shell, use a dull knife to pry the top shell free from the lower half. Shrimp are much easier as the shell is thinner: simply twist the head from the body and use fingers to peel the shell and tail away.

Lobster and crab dinners usually come with special thin forks for prying loose claw meat and hammers for breaking the thick claws. Clams and oysters can be steamed. After steaming the shells open naturally.

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