Corn and Crab Leftovers-What Not to Waste: Fast and Simple Recipes for Butter, Sauce and Stock

The traditions of summer eating usually include a barbeque of some sort and eating lots of fresh seafood. And nothing is fresher in the summer than sun-kissed corn on the cob to accompany a stack of ribs or a platter of crabs. But once the feasting is over, it never fails that there is always a pile of crab shells and leftover meat pickings, plus a stack of cobs and corn husks. Rather than throwing them out, or putting them in the compost pile, turn those leftovers into new and delicious uses that can add a subtle touch of summer into any dish.

orange crab on focus photography

Crab Butter

Crab-infused butter is a delicious condiment for sandwiches, or to mix in with pasta or soups. And of course, it’s perfect to dip in those extra crab claws.

Using the remaining crab shells, break them up into smaller pieces, either by hand or with a meat tenderizer (watch for flying flakes!). While breaking these up, have one stick of butter* resting on the counter to bring to room temperature, or for approximately 20 minutes until slightly soft but not runny. Add the butter in to a mixer and slowly begin to churn. When softened and somewhat creamy, add in the shell bits and continue to mix at a low speed until the shells flakes are combined well with the butter.

Take the mixture and cool overnight, or about 6 hours. Then slowly clarify the crab shell and butter mixture, which will allow for straining out the shell pieces. Then let the crab-infused butter cool in the refrigerator.

*Depending on the amount of leftover crab shells, it may be necessary to adjust the amount of butter used.


Crab Sauce

A light sauce that’s a tasty companion for crudités or as a spread on crackers.


2 tbs white wine vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tbs Dijon mustard

2 tbs lemon juice

3 minced garlic cloves

2 scallion, diced (white and light green parts only)

1 tsp soy sauce

¾ cup of flaked crab meat (do not use lump crab meat)

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar and mayonnaise. Once combined, add the mustard, garlic, scallions and lemon juice. Stir well. Then add in the soy sauce and crab meat. Season well with salt and pepper.

Golden Corn Stock

Corn stock is an easy broth to make with leftover corn on the cob and is a tasty substitute to using chicken broth or water in corn-based soups. It’s fine to use corn on the cob that’s already been eaten, if washed thoroughly. Otherwise, using fresh ears of corn, simply remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife in a downward motion and save for another use.


8-10 ears of cobs, husks and silk included, rinsed

10 cups of water

To begin, rinse the cobs, husks and corn silk in cold water and discard any brown pieces of husk or silk. Then cut corn pieces into smaller chunks, approximately 2-3 inches in length. (Using a scissors on the silk and husk is easier than using a knife.) Put the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with the water. Season with a little salt and bring to a boil, then gently simmer for approximately one hour. Next, drain the stock through a fine colander or cheese cloth, to capture any stray strands of silk.

As with most stocks, they need to cool before storing and can last in the refrigerator for about a week, or in the freezer for several months.

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