Shopping for a deal on lobsters online? Buying live lobster can be a little intimidating. Here are a few tips for landlubbers and first time shoppers on how to buy live lobster without getting taken as a tourist. Follow these simple suggestions for picking out the perfect lobster for cooking at home.
1. 3 Signs of a Lively Lobster
- When pulled from the tank, a healthy lobster should flap its tail and raise its claws.
- If the claws droop, the lobster is weak and has no fight.
- An easy test is to push the tail straight— if it does not re-curl, try another lobster.
2. Buy a Fresh Lobster
Check the lobster for two long antennae. Lobsters with missing or chewed antennae have also spent time in storage. You also do not want to buy a lobster with a cracked shell or claw. Lobsters held in a tank for a long time will eventually lose weight and the claw meat will shrink.
3. Buy a Hard-shell Lobster
Hard-shell lobsters ship well because they are stronger and hardier. Equally important, hard shell lobsters have more meat and better texture. Select a lobster that feels heavy for its size. Squeeze the sides of the lobster’s body; the soft shell will yield to pressure, while the hard shell will be firm. Soft-shell lobsters will always be cheaper than hard shell but may not necessarily be a bargain in the end.
4. Male or Female Lobster?
Generally, there is no taste difference between a male and female lobsters. Adult males will have bigger claws and only female lobsters have roe inside, which some consider a delicacy. Female lobsters have a meatier tail.
To identify male and female, turn the lobster on it’s back and look at the first pair of swimmerets, or appendages, just where the body and tail meet. The male lobster legs are thick and stiff while the female legs are soft and delicate.
5. Best Time of Year
Generally, the best time of year to buy Maine lobsters for delivery is before Memorial Day (before the summer tourists arrive) and after Labor Day (when the tourist leave). In the summer the catch consists of a high percentage of soft-shell lobsters, while hard-shell lobsters are sometimes hard to come by. Next to late spring, fall is another prime time to buy great lobsters. Learn more about the best times of year for lobster.
6. What size lobster
Lobsters come in different sizes, from under legal size to a whopping 20 pounds. If lobster is the main event, a 1-1/2 to 2 pounds per person is in order. Live lobsters are sold by the weight of each individual lobster. Lobsters take approximately 6-8 years to reach marketable size.
In Maine, lobster carapaces – the distance between the bottom of the eye socket to the end of the largest shell – must measure 3 and 1/4 to 5 inches. Maine state law forbids fishermen from keeping any lobsters that measure more than more than five inches from the eye to the start of the tail.
TIP: Ask if culls are available. Culls are lobsters missing one claw, usually less expensive and good for a recipe calling for cooked lobster meat.
FACT: A lobster with no claws is called a ‘pistol’ or ‘bullet,’ often the result of a fight. Lobsters can regenerate their claws.
Live Lobster Grading Sizes follow:
If you are looking for a good deal ask if culls are available, lobsters that are missing one claw. Culls are usually less expensive and a good choice for a recipe calling for cooked lobster meat. Remember that you can order live lobsters from LobsterAnywhere, one of the best online seafood companies.
Live Lobster – 1.5 Pounds
Order 1.5 pound live lobster direct from the source. Also know as ‘halves” in the trade and weighs 1 1/2 lbs each.
Live Lobster – 2 Pound
Buy 2 pound live lobsters direct from the source. These Select 2 pound lobsters are tough to come by due to their popular size and hard shell goodness.
Live Lobster – 3 lb
Buy three pound live lobsters fresh from Maine. Our extra-large 3 lb. live Maine lobsters are caught daily and delivered to you air express, guaranteed.