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Lobster on Your Plate
Where to Buy / How to Cook / How to Store / How to Eat / Nutritional Value

Lobster on the Plate

The Atlantic lobster is the king of all seafood- or so it is said in the Atlantic region of Canada.  Whether it’s picked up at the wharf, bought at the supermarket or delivered to your door, the mouth-watering taste of fresh Atlantic lobster is savored by locals and foreigners alike.  The Atlantic lobster is sold far and wide across Japan, Europe, the United States and Canada.

The lobster travels from the depths of the cool Atlantic to restaurants, inns, hotels and resorts all over the world. It travels to fish markets, supermarkets and farmers’ markets.  It travels to your church’s annual lobster dinner, to your town’s summer festival and to the neighbor’s lobster boil at the park. But the most important place that the lobster travels? Your dining room table where it anxiously waits to be devoured by YOU! 

Before you sit down to devour your meal, read up on how to properly buy, cook, store and eat this coveted crustacean!  Check out the yummy, local lobster recipes or read up on the nutritional value of lobster.

Where to Buy Lobster

With the technology we have today it’s possible to buy lobster at any time of the year no matter where you are in the world.  Because not all of us are as lucky as those who can buy it fresh from a fisherman, most of us have to settle for ordering it in a restaurant or buying it in a store.  Another popular way to buy lobster these days is over the Internet.  Although somewhat pricey, it is a convenient and efficient way to get lobster to your door.

If you decide to shop for lobster on-line be careful to check the credentials of the company you are ordering from. If you want to make sure they are legitimate, look for a phone number to call.  Check various sites and compare prices.  Here are some sites that you can start with:

If you are buying lobster from a supermarket or a lobster pound and can choose them yourself make sure that they show movement.  The tail should spring back when straightened and the shell should be hard and thick, indicating the meat to shell ratio is good.  Lobsters must be alive immediately prior to cooking.

Estimated yield from live lobster:

A 1 ½ pound lobster yields approximately 1 1/3 cups of meat.  A one pound lobster yields 2/3 cup.

Reminder:  If you’re buying lobster in Nova Scotia it is a lot cheaper to buy it when it is in season.  

Also, do not go to wharfs looking to buy lobster right off the boat.  Requests for lobster usually have to be made a few days a head of time by dealing with the fishermen directly.  You’re best bet for fresh, live lobster is the grocery store or the lobster pound.

(If near Wallace, Nova Scotia stop in and check out their pound located right beside the wharf just on the edge of town.)

Lobster Season Map
District Season
23, 24, 26 (a,b) April 30 - June 30
25 August 9 - October 10
27 May 15 - July 15
28 May 9 - July 9
29 May 10 - July 10
30 May 19 - July 20
31a April 29 - June 30
31b, 32 April 19 - June 20
33, 34 Last Monday in November - May 31
35 Last day of February - July 31 & October 14 - December 31
36, 37 March 31 - June 29 & second Tuesday in November - January 14
38 Second Tuesday in November - June 29

Map and information from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Website

How to Cook Lobster

Boiled Lobsters
Boiled Lobster

Boiling lobsters is the traditional way to cook them. It’s also the most popular and the most simple. Boil salted water in a large pot (1 tbsp/15ml of salt to 1 quart/1 liter of water).  Be sure you have enough water to cover your lobster! Once the water has boiled, plunge the lobster head first into the water and cover the pot.  When the water starts to boil again start counting the time.  Cook 7-10 minutes for the first pound (500g) and 2-3 minutes for each additional pound (500g).  Remove lobster from boiling water and serve warm or cool quickly by running under cool water.  A lobster is cooked if the antennae and legs separate easily from the body.  If a black oil-like substance is found in the body cavity of a female this means she was undercooked. (It is the undercooked roe).   

Lobster may also be prepared in the microwave.  To prepare it this way place a 1-1 ½ lb (500-700g) live lobster in a 9" x 13" (3L) oblong baking dish with ¼ cup (50ml) water.  Cover the lobster with plastic wrap and fold one corner back.  Microwave for 9-12 minutes on HIGH until cooked.

Other ways to prepare lobster: steamed, broiled, poached or raw.

How to Store Lobster

To properly store a live lobster put it in the refrigerator and cover it with a damp cloth or newspaper.  They will live this way for up to a day. Do not put lobster in fresh water or ice.  Cooked lobster may also be kept under refrigeration at 5ºC (40F) for up to two days.

To freeze cooked, shelled lobster meat, cover with a brine solution-2tsp. (10ml) salt to each 1cup (250ml) water-leaving a ½ inch (1.2cm) headspace.  Seal tightly and freeze immediately.  To thaw, allow 15-18 hours in the refrigerator, or microwave on DEFROST for 10-14 minutes per pound (500g).

The safest way to thaw frozen canned lobster meat is to place the unopened can in cold water in the refrigerator.  Allow 2 hours per pound (500g) for thawing.  Once thawed, open immediately. DO NOT THAW in warm water or at room temperature.

How to Eat Lobster

  1. First separate the claws from the body by twisting them off.  Bend back the hinged “thumb” or pincer of the claw until it breaks off. You can get meat out of it with a pick or small fork.  Next, break off the claw part from the knuckle.  Stand the claw on its edge and use a heavy knife to chop into the shell.  Twist the knife and the shell will split apart.  The meat will then be kept whole.  Instead of a knife you can also use nut crackers (although this method will usually not keep the meat whole). Extract the knuckle meat using the same method. Use a small fork or lobster pick to get the meat out.

  2. Separate the tail from the body by twisting it free.  Break the flippers from the tail.  Insert a fork where you broke off the flippers and push the meat out of the tail.  Peel back the flap that begins at the flippers exposing the black intestinal vein which should be thrown out.

  3. The top shell can be unhinged from the body by turning the body on its side and cracking it. Once the top shell is broken free you can get at the tender piece of meat that lies between the body and the outer shell.  You can pick further and find small morsels of meat located throughout the whole body. The green liver, the tomalley, can be removed from the body and eaten, and so can the red roe in females. (The unfertilized egg mass)

  4. Finally, break off the legs from the body and extract the meat by squeezing, or sucking it out.

* The entire lobster can be eaten except the stomach sac that is located behind the eyes*

Nutritional Value

It is a common misconception that lobster meat has little nutritional value.  In truth, lobster contains healthy amounts of iron, zinc, calcium and iodine, as well as, Vitamins A, B and B6.  It also has no saturated fat and is low in cholesterol and calories.

In fact, a 3.5 ounce (100g) serving of boiled lobster meat contains:

Protein: 20.5g

Cholesterol: 72mg

Fat: 0.6g

Sodium: 380mg

Potassium: 352g

Energy: 93 calories


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