1 portion dark red/black cherries
1 portion blackberries
1 portion blueberries
1 portion red apple (Unwaxed only, she peel is the important part)
1 portion red beets
1/2 portion red raisins
1/2 portion dried plums/prunes
2 portions red beans (do not skip, or you won’t be able to grind into a powder)
Blanch each item in a small pot of crab safe water, reserving and reusing the water for each item. Prunes and raisins get soaked in the warm water last until they are very soft. Blend all items, including the reserved soaking/blanching water (start with a little) until its a paste about as thick as pancake batter. You may feed it to them fresh like this and freeze it in portions, or continue on to drying and powdering. To dry, line your dehydrater trays with silicone inserts, or parchment paper cut to size. Do not use wax paper, it will melt into the food 😝. Spread it across each sheet evenly about 1/3 inch thick, or less. Dry at about 130°f for a minimum of 24 hours, can take a couple of days. It depends on how thick it is and how humid your environment is. To test if it’s done, let it cool through. If you can break it into pieces, it’s ready. If it only bends and will not break, dehydrate longer until it breaks. Whiz it up in the coffee/spice grinder you keep for the crabbies, no cross contamination please 🙂 Store in an airtight glass jar in a cool dark space.
Submitted by Amber Miner
1.5 cups organic yellow cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red mill)
1 cup packed, freshly ground coconut
1 large very ripe (brown) banana
1 package very ripe strawberries (pint)
1 cup or so sunflower seeds
1.5 cups whole, with shell, dried river shrimp (I used chubbymealworms.ca brand)
2 tbsp beet root powder
2 tbsp carrot root powder
1 tbsp chlorella powder
1 tsp powdered nutra Rose or 2 teaspoons liquid nutra Rose
1 cup dried apple ribbons
Soak/cook the cornmeal with treated hot water as per the cooking instructions.
Blend the strawberries and banana together and mix with the cornmeal after it cools a little. Mix in the coconut, carrot, beet root, chlorella and nutra rose. Spread mixture onto non stick tray liners or parchment paper and dehydrate at 135° f until crispy and crumbly all the way through. It should crumble easily into your hands. Grind up half of it along with the sunflower seeds (together in the grinder, you don’t want the seeds turning into nut butter) crumble the other half by hand, leaving crunchy texture. Pulse the shrimp until about half ground and mix it in. Crunch up the dried apple ribbons into small pieces and mix in.
This makes a lot. You can keep it out for a while, but since it’s so much, freeze half. The oils in the nuts and coconut will eventually go bad, just like any other nuts and seeds. Best stored in an airtight glass jar in a dark cabinet.
You can sub fresh beet or carrot juice for the powder, simply mix it in with the water and add less water. Or mix in a little mashed, cooked, carrots and beets. Just a little, maybe a 1/4 cup.
You can sub spirulina for the chlorella.
You can sub any nuts or seeds for the sunflower. Pumpkin would be great!
You can sub whatever berries you have on hand for the strawberry, but make sure they see nice and ripe!
Do not sub out the whole river shrimp for a kind with no shells. The shells contain color boosters. The freeze dried ones sometimes don’t have shells.
Does not require refrigeration
Can be frozen
Submitted by Amber Miner
Written by Julia Crab Saturday, 19 November 2005
Zeaxanthin is an important precursor to astaxanthin, the carotenoid crustaceans need most to regulate their body systems. If astaxanthin is hard to come by, then zeaxanthin is the substance that coenobita need most. Beta carotene, while a valuable carotenoid, is not used as efficiently by crabs and is not of as much dietary use as zeaxanthin is.
The following lists are of zeaxanthin-containing foods. There are three lists, one each for foods containing high, moderate, and low or trace amounts of this important substance. They are partial and will be updated as new information comes in. Feed from these lists several times a week — daily access to zeaxanthin is recommended.
Bell pepper, orange
Lettuce, cos or romaine
Bell pepper, green or red
Green leaf lettuce
Persimmon, Japanese (raw)
Low or Trace Levels
Star fruit (carambola)
This list contains foods that are moderate to high in beta carotene:
bell pepper of any color, red being the highest in carotenids
dandelion greens (raw)
fava beans in the pod (raw)
grape leaves (raw)
lettuce (dark varieties, not iceburg which is nutritionally empty)
pumpkin and squash, and seeds (dried)
snap beans (raw)
seaweeds and microalgaes
Astaxanthin is another carotenid found in shrimp and krill and red seaweeds, that the crabs also use.
Tannin is also a color booster. Dried oak or sycamore leaves, or raisins help provide this substance.
Great idea for an experiment. I have done some research on colour enhancing foods and figuring out how to get crabs a certain colour.
If you want really dark brown colour hermit crabs then give them lots of foods rich in tannins such as Brown Oak Leaves, Brown Oak Bark (pesticide free). This comes from Carol of CrabWorks. Her hermit crabs have been eating this since they were itty bitty crabbies, 28+ years ago!
If you want orange hues that foods such as carrots, marigold petals have been known to create an increase in orange colour. Foods rich in Astaxanthin are what you are looking for. Do some googling of Astaxanthin and crustacean color/colour.
Plus, I think I may have found a tiny piece of the puzzle as to the ‘blue’ Ecuadorian crabs that have been around.
“The lack of dietary astaxanthin in cultured Penaeus monodon has been shown to be the cause of “Blue Color Syndrome”. After four weeks of feeding a diet containing 50 ppm of astaxanthin, prawns with Blue Color Syndrome resume their normal greenish-brown pigmentation. Analysis of the tissues from the experimental groups verified that the astaxanthin-fed group increased in carotenoids 318% , and had a normal appearance. Those fed the commercial diet without astaxanthin had a carotenoid increase of only 14% and had a blue hue (Menasveta et al. 1993).”
I have heard from many friends in the USA who bought crabs of an unusual bluish hue, that when moulted changed to the standard colours. It was often thought that this was due to some food available in the wild, such as a blue flower of the Galapagos, but it may be that the blue is a sign of lack of dietary astaxanthin. It sounds probable to me! I have contacted some of my favourite biologists about my ponderings and I will be sure to post any information (with permission) to my journal.
For your experiment, it would help if you could take a photo under the same lighting conditions on a regular basis (eg. every week) and create journal entries which have been marked as memories ‘colour experiment’. That way it would be easy to keep track of the changes in exo colour and your observations.
Foods I would offer include:
- Oak Leaves/Bark
Note – “Paprika contains the xanthophylls beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, capsanthin and capsorubin, some of which can apparently be slowly converted to astaxanthin after a lag time. (D’Abramo 1983, Latscha 1991, Wyban, 1996). Preliminary trials demonstrate that supplementation with NatuRose natural astaxanthin yields superior results compared to paprika, as there is no lag time for biosynthetic conversion and it can be directly utilized for metabolic purposes. NatuRose natural astaxanthin is now exclusively used in High Health broodstock to improve larval quality, survival and allow sustained nauplii production (Jim Wyban, personal communication).”
“The color of various carotenoids are related to the number of alternating double-bond pairs in the long polyene chain of the molecule, known as the chromophore (Figure 1). Specifically, light energy is absorbed by the carotenoid polyene system between 400-700 nm, and is converted into vibrational energy and heat, each carotenoid having a unique resonance in this regard. The carrot root contains predominantly (-carotene, which consists of 9 double-bond pairs within the polyene chain, and confers a yellow to orange color. The carotenoid, (-carotene, is composed of 10 alternating double-bond pairs and confers a deeper orange color, whereas the red color of ripe tomatoes and the flesh of watermelons is conferred by lycopene which consists of 11 alternating double-bonds in the polyene chain. Although the polyene structure of astaxanthin is composed of 9 double-bonds similar to (-carotene, the keto and hydroxyl groups of the terminal ring structures contribute to the perceived color through absorption resonance.”
I could go on and on, but I think this will help with the brainstorming process 🙂
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a red-orange pigment that occurs in the natural diets of many aquatic species, including salmon, trout, and shrimp. It is closely related to more commonly known carotenoids such as beta-carotene or lutein. It referenced in the US Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 PART 73—LISTING OF COLOR ADDITIVES EXEMPT FROM CERTIFICATION—Subpart A-Foods (Sec. 73.35 Astaxanthin).
Where does Astaxanthin come from?
Astaxanthin isolated from crustacean wastes or produced synthetically. Astaxanthin can also be farmed from unicellular green alga called Haematococcus pluvialis or certain types of yeast and then prepared for commercial use.
Why is it used in commercial aquaculture?
Astaxanthin is added to the feed for salmon, trout, red seabream or shrimp to improve the pigmentation of the flesh or the skin. Salmon and other marine animals cannot make the compound themselves and must get it from their diets This use remains by far the largest market in terms of volume and market value.
Some research suggests that astaxanthin has a number of essential biological functions, ranging from protection against oxidation of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, protection against UV-light effects, pro-vitamin A activity and vision, immune response, pigmentation, and improved reproduction. As a result, astaxanthin is now also used by some to enhance the immune response of fish and shrimp and to ensure maximum survival and growth.
Is Astaxanthin a safe additive?
It is classified by FDA in a category of color additives called “Exempt from Certification”. The general public often refers to these as “natural” because they are not synthetic organic dyes. Other commonly used “natural” (or “exempt from certification”) color additives include beta-carotene (e.g., carotenoids from sources such as carrots) and anthocyanins (red hued pigments from blueberries and cabbage). To be listed in this category, a color additive must be regarded as posing little or no threat to humans. Currently there is no record of adverse health effects in fish or people consuming astaxanthin.
Health concerns aside, USDA and FDA continue to monitor fish and seafood industry practices to make sure that astaxanthin is not used to pass off one fish species as another. For example, FDA has documented cases in which some disreputable suppliers were offering a fictional variety of salmon called “Salmon Trout” for a much higher price than regular trout. However, as a color enhancer in fish and seafood, the appropriate use of astaxanthin does not present any known health risk to consumers
The lack of dietary astaxanthin in cultured Penaeus monodon has been shown to be the cause of “Blue Color Syndrome”. After four weeks of feeding a diet containing 50 ppm of astaxanthin, prawns with Blue Color Syndrome resume their normal greenish-brown pigmentation. Analysis of the tissues from the experimental groups verified that the astaxanthin-fed group increased in carotenoids 318% , and had a normal appearance. Those fed the commercial diet without astaxanthin had a carotenoid increase of only 14% and had a blue hue (Menasveta et al. 1993).