All about Lobster – The How To Guide

by zesty on April 1, 2009 · 19 comments

Happy Wednesday!  With Mother’s day not that far away and lobster season quickly approaching, I thought I would switch gears and present you some facts and tips about lobster.

PEI is famous for lobster that has bright red shells and juicy tender meat.  Lobster was once so common that they were used as fertilizer.  Lobster has now, as you know, become a gourmet delicacy.  Lobsters have ten legs, beady eyes, long antennae and a crust-like shell (like the picture below).  The bright red color characteristic of the lobster is only achieved by cooking.

Cooked Lobster paired with Clarified Butter

When alive, lobster are usually greenish-blue and speckled with dark spots. Once the meat is cooked it turns a delicate white tinged with red.

How to Buy Lobster

Lobster may be purchased live in the shell, or freshly cooked in the shell.  When purchased live, make sure the lobster has some movement and the tail should spring back when straightened out.  When handling live lobster, be careful of the claws as they can give you a serious pinch.  To protect yourself and to prevent the lobsters from harming each other in captivity, the claws are usually immobilized by placing an elastic band around them.


Lobster Traps (Photo provided by John Byer)

When buying cooked lobster, make sure that they are a bright “red-orange” colour, have a fresh aroma and that the tail section will spring back into a curled position after being straightened out.  For the most part, lobster is sold as either canners or markets, in accordance with the size.

Canners weigh between 1/2 and 3/4 pounds (250-375 g) while markets weigh over 3/4 pound (375 g).  Lobster is also sold in as cold pack (meat, frozen in cans) and hot pack (meat, heat processed in cans).

How to Store Lobster

Live lobster should never be placed in fresh water or on ice. Under ideal cool, damp storage conditions, lobster can live out of water for up to 36 hours.  They can be stored in your refrigerator for several hours by placing them in a large container covered with damp newspaper or seaweed. Cooked lobster in the shell can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if placed in a tightly covered container. Shucked lobster meat can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Live lobster should never be frozen but cooked lobster freezes well. For best results, the cooked meat should be removed from the shell and placed in plastic containers, glass bottles or freezer bags.

How to Prepare Lobster

Lobster should be cooked either in clean seawater or salted fresh water (add 2 Tbsp. salt to each quart/litre of fresh water). Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the lobster and bring it to a boil.  Grasp the lobster firmly by the back just behind the claws and plunge it head first into the boiling water. Cover, return the water to a boil and then lower the heat to a bubbly simmer.

Cooked Lobster Claw

Cook no more than two to four lobsters at a time, so there will be room for the water to cover and boil around them. Once completed they can be served hot or chilled quickly by being dipped in cold water.  It is important to cool the lobster quickly so that they do not remain in the temperature range in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

How to Serve Lobster

There are two methods for serving lobster in the shell. The shell can be broken apart using lobster crackers and the meat then picked out (and dipped in clarifed butter), or the lobster can be cut in half down the centre and the claws cut open with a large heavy knife.

Lobster Cracker

Lobster Pick

All of the lobster is edible except for the shell, the small stomach (hard sac) behind the head and the dark vein, running down the back of the tail. The green material in the body is the liver or tomally. This is excellent eating, as is the red material, or roe, which is found in the body of the female lobster (I tend to avoid this but everyone around me always eats it).

Some other fun stuff

  1. Jenna at eatliverun updated her sidebar and added her weekly training plan.
  2. Clumbsy Cookie is all about cookies – check this idea out!
  3. Matt creates a killer Homemade Chicken stock.
  4. Angela at OhSheGlows is all about the green monsters and has a page dedicated to it.

I hope you have a great Wednesday!  I will see you tomorrow.

Take care


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