Buying a live lobster

  • Choose an active lobster: it should move at least a little when you lift it.

  • Before you touch a lobster, make sure its claws are firmly held closed.

  • It can be kept in the refrigerator in a deep, uncovered bowl.

  • Never keep a live lobster in a closed plastic bag.

Buying a cooked lobster

  • A freshly cooked lobster is bright red and smells of the sea.

  • If it was alive when cooked, it’s tail will be curled under its body and will curl back in position if extended. If it does not, chances are that the lobster was dead before being cooked. Be warned: the flesh will be tougher and could be inedible. You will have no way to tell how long ago the lobster has died.

  • When the shell feels sticky, chances are the lobster is not very fresh.

Cooking technique

  • Fill a cauldron with salty water and bring it to a boil.

  • When the water is boiling, put the first live lobster in, head first. It will die curling its tail.

  • Make sure the water is still boiling and add another one.

  • Boil for 14 minutes (1 pound male) or 16 minutes (1 pound female).

  • Take the lobsters out of the water and immerse in cold water for 4 to 5 minutes.

Questions and answers on lobster

The longest registered distance travelled by a lobster is 225 miles, from the continental coast to Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York.

None, it is colorless. When it is exposed to oxygen however, it takes a blueish hue.

Several days if it is kept in a cold and humid environment.

No. A lobster’s metabolism requires saltwater to survive.

The green and brown pigments of the lobster’s shell are destroyed during the cooking process, which causes the change in color.

The lobster’s body contains a pigment called astaxanthin. This red pigment is also found in oranges, is attached to the crustacyanin protein, which is blue. The two molecules attach in an X shape. Its light wavelength “interfere” with each other but when the lobster is cooked, the link is broken and the astaxanthin is freed. The lobster turns from grey-blue to purplish-red.

  • Latin: Homarus americanus Homarus vulgaris
  • France: Homard
  • Spain: Bogavante
  • Germany: Hummer
  • Japan: Iseebi
  • Russia: Amar
  • Denmark: Hummer
  • Iceland: Humar
  • Norway: Hummer
  • Greece: Astakos
  • Italy: Astice
  • Poland: Homar
  • Netherlands: Kreeft
  • Portugal: Lavagante
  • Sweden: Hummer
  • Yougoslavia: Rarog