How to Buy Lobster at Grocery Store?


The world’s most delicious seafood called lobster (lobster) is considered a delicacy in all countries of the world. It is one of the culinary dishes that only 0.1% of the world’s population can afford. Under its shell, the lobster has very tasty and tender meat in the tail and its ten legs (two of which have grown and now look like claws). Lobster caviar and its liver are also used for food.

To enjoy the real taste of fresh lobster, you need to know how to pick and buy lobsters. Let’s find out how to tell if the lobster is fresh and what lobster size is the best tasting.

How to buy lobster at a grocery store? When buying lobster at a grocery store, look for alive, energetic lobsters that and their tails when touched. Live lobsters should be feisty and feel heavy for their size. Buy female lobsters as they are tastier and have a wider tail. The best tasting lobster is 5-6 years old and weighs 500 g, of which there will be 100-125 g of meat. 

How to Pick a Good Lobster?

How do you pick a good lobster? The best lobsters are lively, heavy, and curl their tails. If lobsters actively wig their claws, they are fleshy and yummy. If lobsters are lethargic, there will be not enough meat. Lobsters should not have hard white spider web on the shell, since it shows the lobster is old. Lobsters should be kept in a seawater aquarium separate from other fish.

Lobster is a perishable food, so it is very important to know the rules that will allow you to choose fresh and high-quality lobster:

  • Try to buy live lobsters, which are sold in large supermarkets. Choose mobile individuals. Try the shell, which is soft on fresh lobsters.
  • If you see spots on the lobster shell, algae, or some damage, then you shouldn’t buy it.
  • You can also buy frozen lobster. Look for options with a little ice and snow, as this could be a sign of re-freezing otherwise.
  • It is best to store the lobster in the freezer, but for 24 hours you can wrap it in seaweed, wrap it in parchment paper, and put it in the refrigerator.

So you’ve come to the grocery store to pick a delicious lobster. How to buy lobster at a grocery store?

First, make sure they are alive. The lobster must move its claws and antennas, and resist in every possible way when pulled out of the aquarium. Lethargy means a quick death. Some New York City merchants are offering deceased non-frozen lobsters for $4 – $5. It is better to refuse such an offer.

The fact is that the digestive tract of crustaceans is right next to the meat. In 50-60 minutes after death, undigested food and waste products begin to be absorbed into the meat. As chefs joke, “the lobster turns into a zombie” and immediately begins to rot. Therefore, if lobsters are frozen, then from the moment of death to complete icing, not even five minutes pass.

Secondly, choose the type of lobster that is tastier for you. There are two types of lobsters in almost all American stores. These are spiny lobsters and lobsters from Maine. The former live in the Caribbean Sea, the latter in the Atlantic Ocean. It is impossible to say which crustacean tastes better. Disputes on this score have been going on for many decades and you yourself must decide for yourself which delicacy you like.

Thirdly, lobsters molt very strongly and the molting process affects the strength of the shell. A softshell can be easily pressed with fingers, while a hard shell is like a rock. The meat tastes different under the different types of shells, and again it cannot be said which one is better. However, lobsters have 30% more water in the body under their soft shells. Consequently, soft-shelled lobsters have 30% less meat.

Fourthly, size doesn’t matter. Sellers are always looking to sell larger copies at a higher price. Outwardly, giant lobsters look very impressive, but this is where their superiority ends. In terms of economy and the amount of meat, it is much more reasonable to buy four small lobsters weighing 5 pounds than one 5-pound giant, which even fits into a pot.

What size of lobster is the best tasting? The best tasting lobster is 5-6 years old and weighs 500 g, of which there will be 100-125 g of meat. That is why miniature lobsters from the Indian Ocean are especially appreciated, as well as Atlantic (Norwegian) lobsters with almost ideal parameters up to 25 cm long and weighing 800 g with a gray-blue shell.

However, these types of lobsters are very difficult to buy in stores: restaurants prefer to buy them, moreover, their numbers are especially declining. Therefore, most often in the free sale are purchased American lobsters of dark red color, which are bigger. Due to this, their meat is cheaper, but it is considered less tasty. But even among the “Americans”, you can choose a quite decent gastronomic option, you just have to remember that lobsters are contraindicated for people with seafood allergies.

When the seller puts your live lobsters in a paper bag (any layer of plastic the crustacean will easily tear apart), try to get home quickly. Lobster is not a product to buy in bulk.

How to Tell If Lobster Is Fresh?

How to tell if lobster is fresh? If the lobster actively moves its eyes and antennas, it is definitely fresh. Ask the seller for the quality certificate to see when and where the lobsters were caught and delivered. By law, you have every right to demand even the documents of the lobster supplier. Lobsters are best bought directly from where they live and when you can be sure they are fresh.

The freshness of the cooked lobster is characterized by the orange color of the muscle tissue and a pleasant smell that does not even remotely resemble fishy. The meat should taste tender, refined, and soft, but firm in consistency.

The best lobsters are the ones that are freshly caught and bought right on the beach. The next good spot is a fish store with a good reputation. When you go lobster shopping, try to buy a live lobster on the same day you plan to cook it, or put it in the refrigerator, covered with a damp towel, and boil it on the same day.

How long does a fresh lobster last? Fresh lobster can be kept in the refrigerator for two days if covered with a cloth. For the meat to retain its tenderness and not lose its delicate taste, it is enough to boil the lobster for 15-20 minutes.

Choose an active lobster. Check that they curl their tails. If the lobster is light, it may mean that it has recently shed its old shell and has not yet built up its body to fully occupy the new one. Do not use broken lobsters or lobsters that have a kind of hard white spider web on their shells, which means they are old. Boiled lobsters should have a sweet aroma and their tails should be wrapped under their torso, indicating that they were boiled alive. Never buy frozen lobsters as they are watery and tasteless.

What month is lobster season? Shopping is best done during the lobster fishing season in spring or fall. The best months for buying lobsters depend on where you are:

  • Maine: all year round, with most caught between June and December;
  • Florida: August – March;
  • California: September – March.

The progress and development of mass trade, including gourmet products, cannot be stopped, and today lobster is not only an exclusive restaurant dish but also a quite common item in gastronomic supermarkets. Now you can choose your own lobster for home cooking, and this is where a few basic rules come in handy.

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