Pacifastacus leniusculus otherwise known as signal crawfish. (Top pic)
Lake Tahoe Crawfish,
What’s With The Name
Pacifastacus leniusculus … well, let’s be glad they nicknamed it, right?
There are something like 315 species of crawfish, crayfish, crawdads, and whatever else people call them in North America. Apparently there is only one found in the Truckee river and that is the signal crayfish. Signal crayfish are native to the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon, Idaho and Washington. They were introduced to California and Nevada, but no one can seem to pinpoint the time or manner in which they were introduced to Tahoe. Today, they are abundant in Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River. Back to the name. This species of crawfish have a white to pale blue-green patch near the claw hinge and someone thought it resembled the white flags that signalmen for the rail road used for directing trains.
Fact: They taste good and you can fill up on them when you learn to eat them properly. Sacks Crawfish provides peeling instructions upon request.
… Better know as the red swamp crawfish. (Bottom pic)
What’s The Difference?
… Better know as the red swamp crawfish or Dinner to a Cajun.
The swamp crawfish would have a tough time here because of the lower water temps. That is what makes the swamp crawfish a little easier to peel. The process of cooking is very similar but the thickness of the Signal crawfish might make you add a little more seasoning. All of the species of crawfish are mostly vegetarians feeding on the green stuff that grows on rocks and trees but it doesn’t mean they wont take any opportunity for a little meat. Many think crawfish are a “dirty” creature from “nasty” water but they are actually sensitive to pollution. If the water is contaminated or of poor qulity they will not survive. Swamp crayfish are native to the central southeast from west Texas over to Mississippi and up into Arkansas into west Tennessee. With that said they have been found all over so don’t think they can’t leave else where because they are in Lake Michigan. When you are buying crawfish there are two typical classifications, wild caught and farm raised. Wild is just that, they are harvested from natural areas such as lakes, rivers, swamps, and so on. Farmed are usually raised in ponds and are part of a dual use system for also growing rice. They were introduced to California so you can get the red swamp crawfish from there but the season usually starts around June instead of March like in the Gulf region.
Fact: If you suck the heads, the brains will not come out.
Crawfish in General
One or the Other
One Deserves the Other
You can’t have the complete boiled crawfish experience without the potatoes, corn on the cob, lemons, onions, and garlic. You can can always add your favorites to the pot. There are all sorts of crawfish based dishes other than just boiled: Gumbo, E’touffée, Bisque, fried, etc. Your possibilities are limited only to your imagination!
Over the years, I’ve developed a good feel for creating exceptional dishes for your pallet. Whether you need fresh ideas to revamp an old boring menu or just want a Cajun themed event, Sacks Crawfish will deliver the food you need to create social dining events for a lifetime.