A Guide for Buying and Cooking Lobster


Photo by: Theresa Raffetto ©Theresa Raffetto

Theresa Raffetto, Theresa Raffetto

The high demand for American lobster has resulted in higher prices, smaller lobsters and smaller harvests. They are found in shallow waters from Canada to North Carolina, with lobsters from colder waters considered to be of higher quality. Lobster season in New England runs from July to October.

The minimum weight for live lobsters sold on the market is 1 pound, but the most common weight sold is 1 1/2 pounds. The proportion of meat to shell is lower for small lobsters, so larger lobsters cost more per pound.

The quality of live lobster deteriorates as it sits in a tank, so choose a well-trafficked market and look for moving, active lobsters. The tail should snap back when straightened, and the shell should be hard and thick. They can be stored live for up to one day in a box or shallow pan set in the refrigerator, covered by a damp cloth, seaweed or layers of damp newspaper.

Lobster meat tastes mild and sweet with a meaty texture. Live lobsters are usually boiled or steamed whole. They can also be split in half lengthwise before grilling or roasting, or cut into pieces and sautéed. Frozen lobster is the tails of clawless varieties, like spiny or rock lobsters, and can often be used in recipes that call for live lobster. Other crustaceans, like shrimp or crayfish, can also be substituted.

Lobster Recipes

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