The bushel is not a measurement used by many people these days. Most things are sold by the dozen or by weight, and so people have simply no idea how to measure or consider this unit of measurement. Some people aren’t even aware that a bushel is a measure of volume and not exact count!
Because a bushel is about 8 gallons, and because different states have different fishing laws, buying crabs can be different depending on where you live. It doesn’t help that hard-shelled crabs tend to be sold by the dozen or the bushel, confusing things even more.
Crab size can greatly affect how many crabs you will get. Since a bushel refers to a large bucket, the smaller the crab the more of them that can fit. Which obviously means the larger the crab, the less can fit.
In general, a your container will have anywhere from 5 dozen to 9 dozen crabs, depending on the size. And of course, a half-bushel would be half the amount.
A colossus sized crab, which is six or more inches large, takes up plenty of space. You can expect, at most, about 5 dozen of these crabs to fit. Given how large crabs get, a bushel tends to be around 45 to 60 crabs. Naturally, the larger the crab the less fit. It also depends if you buying blue crab or Dungeness crab. A half bushel is 22-30 crabs.
From there, you can work your way through the numbers. When your crabs are around 5.5 to 6 inches, you can expect there to be anywhere from 72 to 84 crabs, or 6 to 7 dozen. 4 to 5 inches fits about 96 to 108 crabs.
Of course, if you’re catching the crabs, the answer to “how many fit in a bushel” is “however many you manage to shove in”!
Buying Crabs By The Bushel
Buying crabs is much easier in terms of counting. You don’t have to figure out how many crabs are in a bushel. Instead, you can figure out about how many crabs each person is going to eat and go from there. Since you know it’s somewhere between 5 and 9 dozen crabs in a bushel, you can figure out if you need a full, a half, or perhaps more than one.
Hopefully, this answers the question that many people have when considering how many crabs they should buy for a family gathering, a bbq, a picnic, or any other reason to eat crabs! The Imperial measuring system may be difficult, but buying and catching crabs doesn’t have to be!