In the United States, soft-shell blue crabs are caught and sold fresh from April or May through September. Other parts of the world have different soft-shell seasons and may offer other species of crabs for market sale.
The term "soft-shell" does not refer to a specific type of crab; it is a term used in the culinary world to describe a crab that has shed its exoskeleton shell. In its molted state, nearly all parts of the blue crab are edible, except the mouth, gills and abdomen. Deep-frying is a popular serving style for soft-shell crab in the United States, and they are often served as sushi in Japan.