Invasive green crabs are damaging New England’s marine ecosystem and attempting to combat destruction, a New Hampshire Distillery uses the animals to make whiskey.
The result of the Crab Trapper is “a saltier and better fireball”
Tamworth Distilling has created a bourbon infused with the flavor of green crab, created by boiling the crab down into a broth, which is then infused with additional spices.
The result of the Crab Trapper is “a saltier and better fireball,” said Steven Grasse, owner of Tamworth Distilling Food & Wine Mike Pomranz. Each bottle uses about a pound of crab.
Each bottle, which costs $65, is made from about a pound of green crab.
Green crabs arrived in the United States aboard merchant ships from Europe about 200 years ago and have since spread across the eastern United States, with a large population found along New England.
These animals feed on the native marine life, eating large amounts of shellfish on a daily basis and also destroying sea grass.
Female green crabs can produce more than 175,000 eggs over their lifetime, allowing the species to quickly overwhelm habitats wherever they are located.
And in recent years, the population has increased dramatically due to the warming of the oceans.
Each bottle, which costs $65, is made from about a pound of green crab. Green crabs arrived in the United States aboard merchant ships from Europe about 200 years ago and have since spread across the eastern United States, with a large population found along New England
The stock is placed in a giant vacuum still (pictured) that holds about 20 liters of liquid and is more than two meters tall. This type of distillation is carried out at a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure
Gabriela Bradt, marine biologist and fisheries specialist at the University of New Hampshire, tells NPR: “They are probably one of the most successful invasive species that we have in North America, at least in the marine world.
“You can eat about 40 clams a day, just one crab. And so you multiply that by a bazillion and you’re out of shells.”
The broth is placed in a giant vacuum still that holds about 20 liters of liquid and is more than 6 feet tall.
This type of distillation is carried out at a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure.
Once distilled, spices like paprika, dill, and cinnamon are added, and then it’s all blended with a bourbon base.
Green crabs feed on the native marine life, eating large amounts of shellfish on a daily basis and also destroying sea grass
“The crab is slightly present on the nose, accompanied by coriander and bay leaf to smooth out any high notes,” reads Crab Trapper’s description on Tamworth Distilling’s website.
‘The body carries hints of maple and vanilla oak notes, which are imparted by the full-bodied base. The spirit finishes with heavier notes of clove, cinnamon and allspice, leaving a light, pleasant spiciness on the palate.’
Scientists in Canada are also working on new ways to combat the growing green crab population and have developed a plastic that uses the animal’s carapace.
The project was developed by Audrey Moores, a chemist at McGill University, in collaboration with Nova Scotia’s Kejimkujik National Park Seaside, which has been struggling with a population of the invasive European green crab since the 1980s.
Moores’ small team will harvest green crabs from the park and process their shells to extract a chemical called chitin.
Chitin can be used to create an environmentally friendly form of plastic that breaks down in landfills and the sea with no lasting toxic effects.
“If we can come full circle on these invasive species as a solution to the plastic pollution problem that all oceans are facing today, I really think this will be a great and innovative way to solve the invasive species problem,” says Moores told the CBC.
Moores developed a new and less toxic method of processing chitin, which involves pulverizing the crab shells and mixing them with a special powder.
This process requires less water and fewer chemicals, ensuring that very little chemical waste or runoff is produced.
According to Moores, the plastic made through this process is as hard as glass, and the team is working to create a softer substance that can be molded into items like plastic party cups, plates and cutlery.
“What we do know is that if we take regular crab shell, shrimp shell, lobster shell, we get very good results, so we’re pretty confident that green crab shouldn’t be any different,” she said.