Species Groups

Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list on the right.

More Species Groups 

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Marron
Cherax tenuimanus (Margaret River Marron)
Cherax cainii (Smooth Marron)
 
Redclaw
Cherax quadricarinatus
 
Yabby
Cherax destructor (Yabby)
Cherax destructor albidus (White Yabby)
Cherax preissii, Cherax plebejus (Koonac)
Cherax quinquecarinatus (Gilgie)
Other Cherax (except C.quadricarinatus, C.tenuimanus & C.cainii)
 
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Marron

Cherax tenuimanus (Margaret River Marron)
Cherax cainii (Smooth Marron)

Other names:

Hairy marron (Margaret River), West Australian marron.

Family:

Parastacidae (freshwater crayfish, yabbies)

Description:

Available farmed, these freshwater shellfish are native to Western Australia and prefer sandy bottoms in deeper areas of rivers and streams, though they also survive in well-oxygenated dams. Aquaculture began in the 1970s and they are now farmed on Kangaroo Island (SA) as well as in WA. They are endemic to Australia and in 2002 were divided into 2 separate species based on whether their shells were smooth or hairy, with the hairy Marron endemic to the Margaret River region.

Season:

Available farmed year round.

Size and Weight:

Commonly 17-21cm and 150-250g, though they are the largest of the species and can reach 38.5cm in body length and 2.2kg.

Price:

High priced (live are dearer than cooked).

Relations:

Yabby and Redclaw, both of which are smaller than Marron.

To Buy:

Sold whole live or cooked and chilled or frozen. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. If possible buy live, avoid green (raw dead) chilled Marron as it’s hard to tell how long they’ve been dead.

To Store:

Live crustaceans should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a covered container, with ventilation holes in the top and wet butcher’s paper or cloth in the bottom and keep in the coolest part of the house (below 20ºC) for up to 2 days, keeping the paper or cloth wet. Wrap dead Marron in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 40% (lower in larger specimens). Has a sweet, delicate flavour (claw meat is especially sweet), low oiliness and moist, firm flesh, which is translucent when raw and white with orange tinges when cooked. Shell turns bright red when cooked. The most humane, and easiest, method of killing any crustacean is to chill it in the freezer for about 30 minutes until it becomes insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). Once chilled, it should be killed promptly by splitting in half or dropping into rapidly boiling water. See www.rspca.org.au for more details.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. The firm flesh holds together well during most cooking methods. Undercook, rather than overcook, them, as they will continue cooking in the residual heat; overcooked Marron become tough. The head and shell can be used to flavour stocks, soups and sauces.

Goes well with:

Butter, capsicum, chilli, fresh herbs (such as coriander, dill, French tarragon, parsley), garlic, lemon, lime, mustard, olive oil, Pernod, saffron, white wine.

Alternatives:

Crabs, Prawns, Redclaw, Rocklobsters and Yabby.

Imports:

None

Recipes:

Barbecued Marron with Garlic & Herb Butter >
Garlic Baked Redclaw >
Poached Redclaw with Chilli & Coconut >
Redclaw & Soba Noodle Salad >
Boiled Yabbies with Chilli Tomato Sauce >
Yabby Salad with Tomato & Basil >
Yabby Cocktail >