Guide to lobster including nutritional information. Choosing, buying & storing a lobster.
Introduction to the lobster
Lobsters are marine crustaceans that can be found in salt waters all over the world. They have a hard shell to protect them, antennae and five pairs of legs or pincers.
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Many different species of lobster exist, which vary in size, colour and weight. There are around 30 species with claws and about 45 species, which are spiny and without claws. It is said that the clawed lobsters are the "true" lobsters.
In some parts of the world lobster is considered a delicacy and is extremely expensive to buy.
The majority of lobsters are found in waters around the east coast of the USA, particularly in the area of Maine and also in the Maritimes of Canada. These two areas are now the largest lobster producers in the world and have built up an important national and international export trade.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not particularly difficult to cook lobster, as long as you have the appropriate equipment (a huge pot).
The only thing that may put you off is the fact that lobster must be cooked fresh, which means buying a live lobster and taking it home with you.
However, if you want to rustle up something spectacular in order to impress any important dinner guests, presenting a whole cooked lobster, would certainly be an excellent and innovative choice.
Therefore, read on to find out how to choose the best fresh lobster and how to store it at home before cooking.
Nutritional value of lobster meat
Not only is lobster meat lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef, pork and even the leanest chicken, it is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and hardening of the arteries.
Lobster meat also contains high levels of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, B2, B3, B6 and B12, and is also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and amino acids.
Choosing and buying live lobster
Lobsters can be bought from a fishmonger's, supermarket, where they are kept in a glass tank or they can be shipped in.
The colour of a lobster does not affect the taste or quality of the meat; so don't be put off by any strange shades. In fact, lobsters are usually a green / black colour but may also be brown, yellow or even white. They only turn bright red once they are properly cooked.
Make sure that you choose a lobster that is lively and active, although this may seem quite daunting for first timers. The tail should be straight and curl under once it is picked up. If you uncurl the tail, it should spring back to a curled position if it is healthy.
How to store lobster
Ideally, you should aim to cook your lobster as soon as you can after purchasing it. The lobster should be kept in a large enough open container in the coldest part of the refrigerator or even in the vegetable drawer. It should be covered with a damp towel or damp newspaper strips or with any moist seaweed or packaging that was provided upon purchase.
You should never immerse the lobster in water, salt water or keep it on ice and it should never be kept in an airtight container, as it will suffocate.
Lobsters will live for around 36 hours if kept in these optimal damp conditions.