Maine lobsters | shoplobster is a crustacean with a soft, edible shell. Lobsters molt and when they shed their old shells they reveal a new, soft shell called the “New Shell.”
Female lobsters carry eggs under their tail. It is illegal to catch lobsters with visible eggs in Maine and lobstermen will put a v-notch on the tail flipper of egg bearing lobsters and return them to the sea.
The Maine lobster is famous worldwide for its sweet flavor, tender texture, and unparalleled sustainability practices. These factors make it an ideal choice for seafood boils, soups, salads, pasta, and sandwiches.
The best time to eat Maine lobster is during its peak season. This occurs from June to August when the lobsters are molting and moving toward warmer waters. During this time, lobsters are heartier and have a higher meat yield. This is when lobstermen orchestrate their hauls for the highest-quality Maine lobster.
To know if you are buying a fresh Maine lobster, look at the small swimmerets on its underside. If they are hard and orange-tipped, the lobster is a male. If they are soft and feathery, it is a female. These differences are also evident in the size of the lobsters. The larger lobsters are usually female and the smaller lobsters are generally male. The larger lobsters will have more meat than the smaller ones.
The lobster industry is not only a major economic driver in Maine, but also an inexpressible part of the state’s identity. It infuses everything from real estate and tourism businesses to trucking companies and Mom-and-Pop restaurants. If the lobster industry disappeared, the state would feel a palpable emptiness.
Climate change is warming the chilly Atlantic water that lobsters need to thrive, and it’s having an impact. Lobster catches are plummeting in Southern New England and skyrocketing up in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes as lobsters migrate north to find cooler waters.
Thankfully, strong fishing regulations in place have reduced the amount of vertical lines and gillnets that can ensnare whales, and a shift toward ropeless lobster gear is helping as well. But the situation isn’t entirely rosy, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program recently downgraded American lobster to their red list because of concerns over how the fishery treats other marine life. Despite this, lobstermen remain committed to their industry’s sustainable practices.
While lobster is a staple for many meals, it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether it’s boiled and served with melted butter, or added to soups and pasta dishes, lobster is delicious no matter how you cook it.
Lobsters are available in a variety of stores across the country, but when it comes to quality, your best in-store options are lobster pounds and seafood markets, or at a restaurant that specializes in Maine lobster. You can also buy lobster online, which allows you to get fresh lobster delivered right to your door.
While cooking lobster is relatively easy, you should make sure that your Maine lobster is cooked properly to avoid overcooking it. In addition, it is important to use clarified butter when eating lobster, which removes the milk solids and makes it taste richer. You can find a great selection of clarified butter at most grocery stores. The most common methods of cooking lobster are boiling and steaming.
While there are many great lobster dishes (lobster bisque, boiled lobster, lobster rolls), nothing can compare to a fresh Maine lobster. It is a delicate and sweet meat with a taste that you can’t get from frozen or cooked lobster.
Most lobsters live about five years. They grow throughout their lives and molt (drop their shell) every year, or every two years for females carrying eggs under their tail.
Store your Maine lobsters in an open container, such as a lobster pot or thick paper bag. Lobsters need to breathe, so closed Tupperware containers or bags will suffocate them. They should be kept at a temperature around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should be moist (cover with seaweed or damp newspaper).