How Long Does Jaiva Last? (Shelf And Fridge Life)

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Jaiva is a delicious dish that is easily prepared for those who have little time to cook due to busy schedules. It is especially popular during the summer months, as the warmer weather makes us yearn for fresher dishes.

How Long Does Jaiva Last (Shelf And Fridge Life)

Made from imitation crab meat, jaiva is basically a ceviche minus the shrimp or fish. A healthy option for those looking to cut down on the calories, jaiva makes for a tasty midweek meal. 

If you have not prepared the dish before, you may be wondering how long you can store it before it goes bad. Below, we take a look at the best way to guarantee freshness after you prepare your jaiva. 

What Exactly Is Jaiva?

Jaiva is a cold salad made with imitation crab, perfect for lovers of seafood who are looking for a dish which utilizes this ingredient. Jaiva relates to the Spanish word “jaiba” which translates to “crab”.

It is a specific type of crab which is called a Chesapeake blue crab. It is popular in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. 

What Is The Difference Between Jaiva And Ceviche?

Jaiva and Ceviche are both very similar dishes. However, ceviche traditionally uses raw fish or shrimp, which replaces the imitation crab.

Originating from the coastal regions of central and South America, it is popular in many places, from Mexico to Peru. 

When making a ceviche, you can use a variety of different wild ocean fish. Popular options include red snapper, tilapia, Corvina, sea bass, mahi-mahi, halibut, and dorado. Any kind of firm fish found in the ocean works well for a ceviche. 

A Recipe For Jaiva

To create the perfect jaiva, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Imitation crab meat (kanikama) 
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Begin the recipe by mixing the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers.
  2. Add the lemon and lime juice and mix in with the ingredients.
  3. Add the imitation crab meat to the salad ingredients and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  5. Add your avocado to the mix and serve. 

Tips For Making The Perfect Jaiva

Jaiva is the perfect food for those long summer days when you yearn for something cool and refreshing.

Quick and simple with no requirement of cooking, it can easily become a weekly staple for those warmer months. Below are some tips for making sure that your jaiva is the best in town. 

One thing that you can do to make sure your jaiva is as delicious as can be, is to mince the onion, instead of chopping it. With such a potent flavor, there is nothing worse than biting into an oversized piece of onion, that completely neutralizes the taste of the other ingredients.

Add some cilantro to the dish – it will give it that extra bit of flavor. Add around half a bunch for every two servings. 

Experiment with flavors. The lemon and lime juice added to a jaiva makes for a delicious kick of flavor. If, however, you are somebody who enjoys a bit of sweetness in their salad, why not add some orange or pineapple juice to experiment?

Adjust the ingredients to your preferences. 

How Long Does Jaiva Last?

Here it is, the question you’ve all been waiting for. Imitation crab sticks themselves which have been vacuum-sealed can last up to two months in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

 After they have been opened and mixed in with the salad ingredients, it is recommended that, like all seafood, they are consumed between 1-2 days.

Your jaiva should, under no circumstances, be stored outside of the refrigerator as it could result in food poisoning. 

What Kind Of Imitation Crab Meat Should I Use In My Jaiva?

What Kind Of Imitation Crab Meat Should I Use In My Jaiva

For your jaiva, the most popular type of imitation crab comes in the form of a stick. Originating in Japan, it is a famous ingredient in California sushi rolls and crab cakes. That’s right, you’ve probably already eaten imitation crab without even realizing it. 

It is made from surimi, which is a fish paste and a crab substitute. It is cheaper than real crab and is made from less expensive kinds of fish. It is created by de-boning the fish and mincing it to create a paste.

It is reshaped into the stick we find on supermarket shelves and colored to give it that orange hue. 

Is Imitation Crab Good For Your Health?

Although not as healthy as real crab, it does contain a similar number of calories, making it not too unforgiving on the waistline.

However, if you can splurge out on ingredients for your salad, real crab meat contains a higher amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium.

Unfortunately, these are lost during the process of making imitation crab, as they are lost during washing.

If you are also concerned about the number of carbs you’re consuming, real crab is a better option.

Imitation crab includes starches such as potato, wheat or tapioca, making it relatively high in terms of carb content, especially for those following a ketogenic diet. 

Do I Need To Cook The Imitation Crab Before Adding It To My Jaiva?

The short answer is simply, no. It has already been cooked by steam in the production process, which pasteurizes the meat. This makes it generally a safe option for pregnant women.

It is, however, advised that you always check the packaging of products before consuming them, in case they contain any raw ingredients. In addition to this, the more the crab sticks are cooked, the less flavor they will contain.

How Is Imitation Crab Made?

Imitation crab is essentially made of a minced fish called surimi. After it has been pulverized, it is shaped into a large loaf and then sliced to resemble the shape of a crab leg.

Along with the surimi, vegetable oil, sugar, egg white, and starch are added to create a binding agent. To ensure a longer lifespan, the meat is vacuum-sealed.

Is Jaiva Gluten-Free?

No, it is not gluten-free. The imitation crab meat used in jaiva contains wheat starches. 

How Long Should Jaiva Be Marinated For?

Like its ceviche counterpart, marinating your jaiva depends on how much flavor you want from the dish. It can be marinated anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. 

What Does Jaiva Taste Like?

The taste of the imitation crab found in a jaiva will be quite similar to the real thing. It will be slightly sweet-tasting, with an overall mild flavor. It is not heavy, as imitation crab tends to be very low in fat. 


Delicious, simple, and healthy, jaiva makes for the perfect meal during the warm summer months.

Easy to prepare, and sure to be enjoyed by the whole family, jaiva is a great staple for weekly meals, especially when you are busy and have less time for cooking.