Lobster Facts and Information
- How do I handle my live lobsters
- How do I handle my cooked lobsters
- How can I tell if my lobsters arrived alive
- What is the difference between Hardshell and Softshell lobsters
- How does a lobster grow
- What is a legal size lobster
- Why do lobsters turn red when they are cooked
- Are lobsters good for me - Nutritional information
- What is this clump of little red balls in my lobsters tail
- How do I hold my lobster so I don't get bit
- What is the white substance covering my lobsters meat
Live lobsters are very perishable, and require a controlled salt water environment to remain alive. They do not generally live much beyond a day out of water. We recommend that you cook your lobsters on the day you receive them. Cooked lobsters will stay fresh for at least three days in the refrigerator. Never place lobsters in water to try to keep them alive. The best way to keep them alive at home is to refrigerate them. Cover your lobsters with moist seaweed, or a damp cloth to keep your lobsters moist, and leave them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
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How do I handle my cooked lobsters
If you purchased our special partially cooked lobsters, you may keep them refrigerated for up to three days. When you are ready to serve them, place them in a pot of rapidly boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, start timing. In just five minutes, your lobsters will be ready to enjoy. Our partially cooked lobsters are the perfect choice for ease of preparation. We boil your lobsters in sea water to lock in the "fresh taste of Maine", then rush them to your door. You never need to worry about the quality of your lobster dinner, We have done it all for you. Consistent quality & easy preparation, what more could you ask for?
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How can I tell if my lobsters arrived alive
If you ordered live lobsters, they will have been out of water for almost 24 hours when you receive them. Occasionally, one may appear weak or lifeless. This is a normal occurrence. In most cases, as long as the packaging material is in good condition, and the refrigerant is still cold, your lobsters will be fine. The best way to check is to boil the lobster. As long as the lobster's tail curls when cooked, and the meat in the tail is firm, and in one piece, then the lobster was alive when it was cooked. In the unlikely event that your packaging arrives damaged, please note it with the delivery driver and contact us immediately so we can arrange for full credit or replacement. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed at Pine Point Seafood.
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Lobsters grow by molting, or shedding their shells each year. Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell has hardened. This usually takes a few months. Then they are once again known as "Hardshell" lobsters. Softshell (also called "Newshell") lobsters are not as full of meat because their new shell is larger than the muscle. This allows for another year's growth.
Newshell lobsters represent 90% of the catch during the summer months. They are always less expensive and generally contain sweeter and juicier meat than the Hardshells.
Newshell lobsters do not travel as well and are often shipped pre-cooked. This special process guarantees your lobster will arrive fresh and ready to serve. Just refrigerate until ready to use, then heat and serve. Our special salt water cooking process locks in the fresh flavor without the worry of keeping them alive until you're ready to serve them. Pre-cooking also gives your lobsters a three day refrigerated shelf life for your convenience.
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How does a lobster grow
An adult female lobster will produce approximately 10,000 eggs when she is fertile. Each egg is the size of the head of a pin. As they grow, the eggs are held under the mothers tail with a special glue-like substance. The female will carry her eggs for almost a year. Then the eggs are released as larvae. It has been estimated that less than 1% of the eggs will survive to grow into an adult.
Lobsters grow by molting, or shedding their shells. Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell has hardened. During this time, the lobster buries itself in the mud to hide from its natural enemies. When they are young, an immature lobster will molt several times each year. It takes approximately seven years for a lobster to grow to legal harvesting size (1-1 1/4 lb.). At this age, they molt just once a year, usually during the summer months. Each molt will increase their size by 1/4 lb. on average. When lobsters get older, they will often skip years, and molt less frequently.
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What is a legal size lobster
The State of Maine has special laws that are designed to protect our lobster fishery for years to come. We use a special gauge to measure the lobsters carapace (body). There are both minimum and maximum size measurements. The minimum size is designed to make sure that all lobsters are mature enough to breed at least once before they are harvested. The maximum size limit is designed to protect the breeding stock. A minimum size lobster will weigh around 1 lb., while a maximum size lobster will weigh between 3-4 lbs. The most plentiful, and most popular size of Maine Lobsters are 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb. each. Maine is the only state to protect the resource like this. If you are offered a smaller or larger lobster than this, you can guarantee it is not a genuine Maine Lobster.
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Why do lobsters turn red when they are cooked
Live lobsters are usually bluish green in color. On rare occasions, one is landed that is orange, yellow, or blue. The lobster's color is caused by pigments in the shell. When the lobster is cooked, all of the color pigments are masked except the red background color.
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Are lobsters good for me - Nutritional information
You Bet! Lobsters aren't just good - They're good for you. Maine Lobster has less cholesterol, calories, and saturated fats than both chicken and turkey.
CHOLESTEROL CALORIES SATURATED FATS
Maine Lobster 72 mg 98 0.1 g
Skinless Chicken 85 mg 173 1.3 g
Skinless Turkey 86 mg 140 0.4 g
source: The National Institute of Health based on a 3.5 oz. Serving
What is this clump of little red balls in my lobsters tail
You are the proud owner of a female lobster that has immature eggs that she hadn't released to her tail yet. It is called coral, and many people feel it is a delicacy. Lobster caviar if you will. If you are splitting a live lobster for stuffing, or if your lobster is undercooked, the coral will appear black.
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How do I hold my lobster so I won't get bit
Your lobsters will come to you with heavy rubber bands on their claws. The fisherman put those on as soon as the lobsters are removed from their traps. These bands are to protect the lobsters from damaging each other. To pick up a lobster, grab it by the back, just above where the tail connects to the carapace (body). The lobster won't be able to bend his claws back enough to get you. Be careful not to let your fingers get below the tail. The shell on the underside of the tail has some sharp edges, and may cut you if the lobster flips it's tail as if it was swimming. That's right, lobsters swim backwards by flipping that powerful tail. You've probably heard the old adage "crabs crawl sideways and lobsters swim back."
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What is the white substance covering my lobsters meat
Lobsters have a primitive circulatory system and blood. When they are alive, their blood appears clear, but once they have been cooked, the blood congeals and turns white. You will often see it on the claws in particular. The cooked blood has no taste and is harmless. You can easily scrape it off if you wish. Sometimes you will see some blood in your pot as you boil your lobsters. Once again it is perfectly harmless and quite normal.
Facts about Maine Lobster that you may not know.
There are two primary types of lobster sold in the United States. The "true" American Lobster, and the spiny lobster. Most people commonly refer to the American Lobster as the Maine Lobster. Spiny lobsters, also known as rock lobsters, are a family of about 45 species of achelate crustaceans. Spiny lobsters are also called crayfish, sea crayfish or crawfish. Although they superficially resemble true lobsters in terms of overall shape, and having a hard carapace and exoskeleton, the two are not closely related. Spiny lobsters can be easily distinguished from true lobsters by their very long, thick, spiny antennae, and by their complete lack of claws (chelae); true lobsters have much smaller antennae and claws on the first three pairs of legs, with the first being particularly enlarged. Like true lobsters, however, spiny lobsters are edible and are an economically significant food source; they are the biggest food export of the Bahamas. Spiny lobsters are also found off the coast of Florida and California. Most of the product called lobster tails sold in the United States is from the spiny lobster.
The difference in taste between the spiny lobster and the Maine lobster is significant. The spiny lobster is much more mild and bland tasting, being quite close to tasteless. The Maine lobster has a very pronounced, succulent taste that is somewhat on the sweet side, although the meat is extremely low in sugars and carbohydrates (see lobster nutritional info for complete details.)
There are both male and female lobsters. The sex of a lobster can be determined by examining the first set of appendages behind the walkers. On male lobsters, they (gonopeds) are bony and thicker while the same appendages on the female are slimmer and feathery. In both cases, you have to investigate closely as they are often folded up tightly under the body. Another difference between males and females is that on females the tail is relatively broad compared to the male's tail. This is to accommodate the egg mass.
Lobster blood is a clear fluid. When the animal is cooked, the blood turns to an opaque whitish gel. It has a very mild, almost tasteless flavor and is perfectly safe to eat.
Lobsters can regenerate legs, claws, and antennae. In fact they can amputate their own claws and legs (autotomy) to escape danger. Often lobsters will drop a claw that is caught between rocks. The term 'amputate' can be in the passive sense as well. Lobstermen report seeing lobsters spontaneously drop a claw for no apparent reason.
A female lobster can mate only just after she sheds her shell (molting). When she is ready to molt, the female lobster approaches a male's den and wafts a sex "aroma" called a pheromone in his direction. The female lobster does the choosing. She usually seeks out the largest male in the neighborhood and stands outside his den, releasing her scent in a stream of urine from openings just below her antennae. His response is to fan the water with his swimmerets, permeating his apartment with her aroma. He will then emerge from his den with his claws raised aggressively. The female responds with a brief boxing match or by turning away. Both responses seem to work to curb the male's aggression. The female then raises her claws and places them on his head to let him know she is ready to mate. They enter the den, and some time thereafter, from a few hours to several days later, the female molts. At this point she is totally defenseless and the male could easily kill and eat her, but that's not what he does. Instead, he gently turns her limp body over onto her back with his walking legs and his mouth parts, being careful not to tear her soft flesh. The male, who remains hard-shelled, inserts his first pair of swimmerets, which are rigid and grooved, and passes his sperm into a receptacle in the female's body. She stays in the safety of his den for about a week until her new shell hardens. By then the attraction has passed, and the couple part with a cold indifference.
The female lobster's pregnancy is long: from mating to hatching takes perhaps twenty months. After mating, the female stores the sperm for many months. When she is ready to lay her eggs, she turns onto her back and cups her tail. Somewhere between 3,000 and 100,000 eggs are pushed out of her ovaries. They are fertilized as they pass through the sperm receptacle, marked by a small triangular shield at the base of her walking legs. The female lobster makes a sticky substance that attaches the eggs to the bottom of her tail. At this point she is said to be "berried". Berried females carry thousands of eggs attached to their swimmerets. In general, the larger the lobster, the more eggs she will carry.
She will carry the eggs for 9 to 11 months, fanning them occasionally with her swimmerets to bring them oxygen and to clean off any ocean debris that might stick to the developing eggs. When it's time for the eggs to hatch, the female lobster lifts her tail into the current and sets them adrift in the sea. It may take up to two weeks for all of the eggs to be released.
When first hatched, a lobster doesn't look at all like an adult lobster (which may be why lobstermen call it a "bug"). Feathery hairs on its legs help the baby lobster swim in the water for the first month or so after hatching. These tiny lobsters will float and swim near the surface for about 25 days. At this point they may be only 1/4" in length. Here they are prey for seabirds and for any larger animals in the sea, which is most of them. Most lobster larva are found within the top foot of the sea's surface. While at the surface the lobster will molt, or shed its shell, three times before it begins to look like a miniature adult.
By that time, as a "fourth-stage" lobster, it is somewhere between 15 days and a month old. At this stage, while the lobster is a very good swimmer, it appears to be helplessly bobbing up and down in the ocean. Actually, it is beginning to purposefully look for a place on the ocean floor on which to settle. The lobster may settle in a variety of habitats, such as a sandy bottom, but the preference seems to be for a hard bottom with lots of hiding places, such as cobble. This is where the most dense settlements of lobsters are found. For every 10,000 eggs that a female may release, only 1/10 of 1%--maybe 10--will survive beyond the first four weeks of life.
After the lobster settles to the bottom, it molts to the fifth stage. At this point, a small lobster still has many natural enemies. It spends the first year or so in a small tunnel which it can excavate, or in a crevice beneath rocks or other hard bottom material. Cod is the primary predator that feeds on small lobsters. Other predators include sculpin, eelpout, sea robins, skates, and even other lobsters. During the first year, the lobster captures small prey which are carried in water which the lobster pumps through its living space using its abdominal pleopods (small appendages called swimmerets under the flexible abdomen, which is commonly called the "tail.") The tiny lobster spends the next few years, until almost age four, hiding under seaweed and small rocks, catching food that drifts down to it.
A small lobster rarely ventures out of hiding. If it does it is usually attacked by a fish within minutes. One experiment monitored by video suggested that new settlers could expect to be attacked within minutes if they did not find shelter. However, they outgrow that vulnerability with small increments in body size. Even as an adult, the lobster will avoid predators by remaining primarily nocturnal.
Lobsters molt (shed their shells) to grow. To do so, they secrete enzymes that soften the shell and connective shell joints. The shell splits up the back and the lobster backs out leaving it behind. A lobster will increase its size by about 20% at every molt. By the time a lobster is of legal size, it will have molted about 20-25 times. After a molt it is vulnerable because the new shell is very soft. The lobster will hide among the rocks on the bottom for 6-8 weeks until its shell hardens enough to offer some protection.
Lobsters may come in a variety of colors besides the usual blue-green, including blue, yellow, red, and white. Some even come in two colors, having half of their shell one color and the other half a totally different color. Of these only the white ones (true albinos) don't turn red when cooked.
Among other things, lobsters eat crabs, sea stars, and sea urchins. They are not by nature cannibalistic, except when held in crowded conditions (traps, pounds, etc.). Even with banded claws, it's still not unusual to find partially eaten animals in the live-tank when it's emptied.
The nervous system of a lobster is decentralized and has been likened to that of a grasshopper. Because of this ganglionic nervous system, lobsters do not feel "pain" the same way that humans do (central nervous system).