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Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look like lobsters and live in rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. There are over 300 species of crayfish, but only a few of these become large enough to eat.


There are two main species of crayfish that can be identified by the colour of their legs: white-footed crayfish and red-footed crayfish. Crayfish have five pairs of legs; the bigger front pair have claws on the end. They often move backwards and are considered voracious and aggressive. Crayfish generally grow to about 6 to 14 centimetres and have red, brown, or purple shells, depending on the species. Their pink-white flesh is lean and delicate tasting.

Culinary tips and advice

You will find live crayfish at your Metro seafood counter.

  • Like lobster, the shell can be crushed and used to flavour court-bouillon or bisque.
  • Crayfish can be served au gratin, in a soufflé, a mousse or a salad.

Expert Tip

Only the tail of the crayfish is kept because there is not being enough meat in the claws.

Nutritional value

Crayfish are rich in potassium, Vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus and copper.

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Storage life

Live crayfish can be stored, covered with a damp cloth, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Fresh crayfish should be prepared as soon as possible after purchase.

  Refrigerator 4° C Freezer -18° C
 Fresh crayfish 1 to 2 days –––
 Frozen crayfish 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months