Five Things You Didn't Know About Maine Lobster
Here’s what you do know about Maine lobster: it’s delicious, the best quality in the world and right now in November, more affordable per pound than a good cut of steak. But in case you had a hankering to pull a Cliff Claven the next time you’re enjoying a lobster dish with your friends and family, here are five lobster facts to pull out of your hat.
1. The servants rebelled: No more lobster!
Today, lobster is considered an exotic seafood splurge for a special night, but there was a time when lobster was so plentiful that it was considered only as food for the poor. In fact, at one point, indentured servants in Massachusetts were so sick of being served lobster night after night that they took their masters to court and won a judgment which prohibited it from being served more than twice a week.
2. Why Maine lobsterman throw the big (and little) ones back
In the 19th century, it might have been common to pull up a 10- to 20-pound lobster, but Maine’s lobster industry began its stringent conservation practices in 1874 (regulated to protect the breeding stock). Today, the legal catch is a minimum size of 3 ¼ inches and the maximum size is 5 inches, which can range from a pound to almost 3-4 pounds.
3. Cue up the ‘Rocky’ theme song
Speaking of big lobsters, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest lobster ever caught weighed 44 pounds, six ounces and was caught in 1977 from the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia. The biggest lobster ever caught in Maine happened to be a 27-pounder in 2012 nicknamed “Rocky.” Taken out of the waters in Cushing, Rocky had claws tough enough to snap a man’s arm and was released back into the ocean.
4. Once in a blue moon lobster
No, the normal color of uncooked lobster is not bright red: for Maine lobsters, it is typically a mottled greenish brown in order to blend in better and avoid predators. The shells of all lobsters have a mix of red, blue and yellow pigments, but an-all blue lobster comes from a rare genetic defect. In fact, there's approximately a one in 2 million chance of finding a blue lobster.
5. How long can lobsters live outside of seawater?
If you’re thinking of having some shipped for Thanksgiving dinner, here’s your answer. If kept cool, live lobsters can live up to 36 hours, but ideally should be cooked the same day they’re delivered. Keep lobsters as cold as possible in the refrigerator in an open container such as a cardboard box. Pack them with seaweed or damp newspaper to keep them moist but not wet. Never store them on ice or in tap water, as the fresh water will kill them.