July the 4th won’t be too long coming now, and why not celebrate with a tasty lobster. It’s perfect for cooking on your BBQ and great celebratory food. If you have ever tried buying live lobster from a fishing pier or a fishmonger, you know how overwhelming it can be.
For instance, you might have a hard time determining whether or not you’re getting the best lobster. Here’s what you need to know when buying lobster regarding the shell, color, size, and sex.
Tips for Choosing a Good Lobster
A fresh live lobster will have a dark brownish-black and blotchy shell. You might be alarmed about this color if you have only seen cooked lobsters. However, what you are looking at is a fresh lobster.
Note that, when cooked, lobsters will turn red. That’s because the heat destroys all the pigments found in the lobster’s shell, thus leaving the red color.
When buying a lobster, you might assume that buying a bigger one is the better option. However, the smallest ones are sweeter. If you purchase your lobster in Maine, the smallest one you will find will be between 1.25 and 2 pounds.
Well, these small lobsters have the sweetest meat you will find out there. Of course, if you are looking for a good photo opp, you can always choose a big one.
Additionally, you can buy the big ones if you want to get more meat but with less fuss. However, the smaller ones have more flavor for each piece of meat.
Not many people fuss about the gender of the lobster when buying or selecting one to prepare. However, there are a few things to consider when it comes to the sex of a lobster.
For instance, the female species have more giant tails; thus, you will have more meat. However, when pregnant, the female species lose some flavors, so it’s something to consider.
Note that visibly pregnant lobsters are not authorized for sale in Maine. However, the pregnancy might not be visible for the first few months. Therefore, if you want to avoid losing flavor, you can always choose a male lobster.
If you buy your lobster during the right season, especially in Maine, you should opt for a lobster with a new shell because it has more flavor. The lobsters will molt during the summer season, reaching new heights of tenderness and sweetness.
Of course, lobsters that have recently shed will have less meat than those with a hard shell.
However, they are easier to crack and have sublime meat quality. If you look at the menus in some of the restaurants in Maine, you will find that they serve lobsters with new shells exclusively because they have a higher flavor profile.
You can try one of these to ensure you know what you should expect when preparing it on your own.
Wherever you are buying your lobster, be it a lobster boat or a fishing pier, you always consider whether or not it is fresh and healthy lobster.
On the other hand, you can buy it from a market or fishmonger and use a live shipping service for lobster tails delivery; you need to make sure it is fresh before cooking it.
You can pick the lobster by the body then turn it over to make sure the legs are facing upwards. If healthy and alive, the tail will be tense and remain curled or extend outwards.
It might also begin flapping the tail out, especially if it’s alive. However, if the tail loosely flops down, then your lobster is dead. You shouldn’t purchase a dead lobster unless the fishmonger can ascertain precisely when it died.
As for the dead lobsters, you should keep them chilled and cook them within 24 hours. Another sign to check for to determine whether a lobster is healthy or not will be the integrity of the tail meat once you have finished cooking. It is good enough to eat if it comes out in very firm chunks.
However, if the meat comes out crumbly, you should not eat that lobster. If you are not sure whether or not the lobster is healthy, you shouldn’t proceed to eat it.