A Little Lobster Q&A
The Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland is a fun-filled event celebrating the diverse food of Maine, but especially the amazing Maine lobster. There's no doubt that the lobster is an interesting creature, but what else do you know?
What is the difference between a rock lobster and a Maine lobster? Rock lobsters are also known as spiny lobsters and upon first glance, the main difference between this type and Maine lobsters is the claws. Maine lobsters have large front claws, and rock lobsters have none. In fact, the rock lobster is not a true lobster at all, but part of the Palinuridae family, which comprises about 60 species of similar lobsters.
At the Maine Lobster Festival, you will see lots of cooked, bright red lobster, but are they red to begin with? The answer is no. A live lobster is usually a greenish-brown color, but can be a variety of colors including blue, orange, black and even calico. The protein molecules found in the shell become red when cooked.
Anyone who has had lobster knows how rich and delicious it is, but is it healthy? The truth is that lobster meat is incredibly healthy. Lobster meat has low cholesterol, low saturated fat and fewer calories than even skinless turkey or chicken. There are two types of lobster shell; the hard and firm variety and the soft, or new shell variety. A lobster must molt repeatedly to grow and when it sheds its old shell for a new one, the meat is even more sweet and flavorful than a hard shell lobster.
Have you ever wondered what the green stuff on lobster meat is after cooking? This is called tomalley, and some people love eating it. However, it is actually the liver and pancreas of a lobster and the Maine Lobster Promotion Council generally advises against consumption as it may contain dioxins. The green color is a good thing, however, as it ensures the lobster is fully cooked. A black liver means the lobster needs to be cooked for a few more minutes.
One misconception about the lobster is that it is mostly a scavenger. This is not entirely true. In fact, the lobster prefers to eat live food and consumes anything from mollusks, worms and other crustaceans. The lobster can also live for a long time. It takes the American lobster nearly 10 years to reach an edible size and then it can live many years past that, with some living for over 100 years.