The Ultimate Guide to Preparing and Storing Lobster
Let Us Share Our Lobster Cooking Expertise With You
Sometimes you’re looking for the perfect dish for a classy affair. Other times you want a rich comfort food to fill the bellies of your loved ones. Then, there are times you’re hanging out with friends and want to serve a simple, delicious crowd-pleasing meal.
Whatever your plans are, lobster is always a great addition to your menu.
One thing we know at Maine Lobster Now is — you guessed it — lobster! We offer people around the world high-quality lobsters caught off the coast of Maine. You don’t have to live in or near the area to enjoy genuine, fresh Maine lobster. Our relationships with local fishermen allow us to get a supply of fresh lobster daily, and our diligent shipping processes give you access to some of the world’s finest seafood, wherever you may be.
We want you to enjoy the delicious and distinct flavor of lobster as part of the meals you prepare. Whether you’ve bought and cooked lobster many times, a few times or never, this guide covers and refreshes you on all the basics to help you get the most out of this culinary delight.
A good deal of thought goes into selecting the best, highest-quality seafood you can present on your table. If you’re interested in learning about Maine lobsters, we’re proud to share with you what we know.
In our guide, you’ll learn the details of how to store and prepare your lobster. We’re passionate about delivering great seafood to you and making sure you get enjoyment from your purchase.
How to Store Your Lobster
When you order fresh lobster from us, it’s guaranteed to arrive alive. This guide gives you the tips you need to keep the lobster alive until you are ready to cook it so you can enjoy it at the peak of flavor.
If you choose to freeze your lobster to seal in the flavor and prepare it at a later time, we’ve got you covered there, too. You’ll learn how to conserve your seafood to get the most out of it when you’re ready to prepare it.
How to Prepare Your Lobster
Boiling lobster is a popular method of cooking it, but there are a number of other ways to enjoy this succulent dish. In this guide you’ll find detailed instructions for preparing whole lobsters — as well as their tails and other delicious pieces.
Our recipes will give you delicious and creative ideas, but before you can serve up that appetizing meal, you’ll need to know how to handle the lobster and crack the shell. Our guide will give you all that information, too.
Want lobster for your next occasion? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or give you more information.
When you’re ready to place your order for fresh lobster, we’ll ship your order right to your home, making it convenient for you. Be sure to download the full guide so you have access to the tips and tricks the pros use when selecting, storing and cooking a delicious lobster.
Chapter 1: The Life and Times of a Lobster
Getting Familiar With Lobsters
One thing we know for sure is lobsters are a delicacy people around the world enjoy. That hasn’t always been the case, though. In the history of the world, lobster has been used as bait for fishing, fertilizer or “poor people’s” food. That obviously isn’t the case in modern times.
Where lobsters come from and what makes their makeup special, though, is not so well-known — but they are fascinating creatures. Lobsters are crustaceans, meaning they live in water and have a hard shell, known as an exoskeleton. This simply means their skeleton is on the outside of their bodies. Other animals that fall into this category include, crabs, shrimp and barnacles. Additionally, crustaceans are considered to be arthropods — the phylum that contains the largest number of species — along with krill, spiders, a variety of insects and more.
Unlike crabs whose outer shells reach a growth capacity, lobsters keep growing for as long as they live — and how big lobsters can grow is a secret that only the ocean knows. In 1977, fishermen caught a lobster weighing more than 44 pounds. Other recorded large catches were 14 and 20 pounds. These lobsters were simply old. Based on the lobster information that’s available, scientists don’t know how old, but the lobsters could be about 50 years old.
Lobsters can keep growing because when they outgrow their shells, they shed the carapace, or the hard upper shell. Then the lobster fills itself with water and develops a new shell. This is the molting period.
Most of the lobsters we consume weigh between the one and two-pound mark and are typically at least five years old. Laws against consuming very small or young lobsters are in place to keep people from overharvesting them. There are also laws that prohibit catching older lobsters that have a carapace longer than five inches.
Did You Know? Other Interesting Lobster Facts
The ability to never stop growing is just one many interesting lobster facts. Here are a few more:
Two Strong Front Claws
The first thing to know about Maine lobsters and what visually distinguishes them from other types of lobsters is that they have two strong front claws. All lobsters have eight walking legs they use to crawl forward.
To make a quick exit, the lobster will contract its tail and scoot backward. When you first pick up a lobster, it will exhibit that behavior as if it is trying to flee.
Members of the lobster species have poor vision. They probably don’t see objects but can detect motion in dim light in the depths of the sea. They may be blind in bright light.
Lobsters use their excellent sense of smell to locate their prey. Their longer antennae and tiny hairs over their whole body are sensitive to touch. The shorter antennae detect odors and chemical signals in water. Those shorter antennae also help lobsters to find their food.
Did you know that lobsters come in lots of colors — except red? They all turn red when they hit hot water. Live red lobsters exist about once for every 10 million lobsters — and the only ones that don’t turn red when cooked are albino lobsters.
Lobsters can be blue, yellow, greenish-brown, gray or orange or other colors due to differences in their diet and genetic makeup. Some may even be calico, or have spots on them.
Lobster shells contain astaxanthin, a pigment with beta-carotene, which is the source of a carrot’s bright orange color. Flamingos, salmon, shrimp and crabs also contain astaxanthin, which makes them look pink. When you cook a lobster, the hot water denatures the protein in the shell and brings out the red coloring the astaxanthin provides.
Where Do Lobsters Come From?
While lobsters are found in all oceans, they don’t inhabit the same areas of an ocean, and they’re not all created equally. Small lobsters hide in seaweed and rocky areas to have protection against predators. They can also easily find food there.
As lobsters mature, their mobility increases. Adolescent lobsters frequent coastal and offshore areas. Larger adult lobsters have fewer predators and tend to live in deeper waters, though they may come up to more shallow waters seasonally.
The type of water a lobster is caught in makes a difference when it comes to your dining experience. Cold-water lobsters such as those offered by Maine Lobster Now are very different from warm-water lobsters. Warm-water lobsters have no claws with edible meat and are sometimes called spiny lobsters, rock lobsters, Caribbean lobsters or slipper lobsters. The only edible meat on a warm-water lobster is in its tail.
Maine lobsters, known as Homarus americanus, or “American lobster,” usually have whiter, sweeter and more tender meat than warm-water lobsters.
A Lobster’s Life in the Ocean
As they navigate the ocean, lobsters survive on an omnivorous diet consisting of live prey such as crabs, clams, mussels, starfish, fish, mollusks, other crustaceans, worms, some plants and even other lobsters.
They look for food at night, and cold-water lobsters use their two front claws as utensils to help them grip and shred food. The crusher claw breaks shells, and the finer-edged ripper claw is used to tear flesh. The “teeth” of the lobster are actually in its stomach, and it’s referred to as the gastric mill.
The same walking legs and claws that lobsters use to move around can become a weapon if the lobster feels threatened. When under attack, a lobster may “throw” a claw or leg but will regenerate a new one. Another strategy it may use to exit is to swim backward by curling and uncurling its abdomen and tail in a swift motion. It might fling mud or sand with the tail, too.
Many sea creatures would not like to be a lobster’s neighbor. Lobsters are territorial, aggressive and sneaky. Before going out to hunt for food at night, they spend their days hiding in a burrow.