You know you want some Maine lobster, but you’ve never had experience buying live lobster at the grocery store? We’ve got all the details right here to help you choose the best lobster based on size, season, and the type of shell.
Maine Lobster vs. Canadian Lobster
Let’s address the elephant in the room: What if your local grocery store only has Canadian or Florida lobster? Many would say that where it comes from doesn’t matter – unless, of course, they’ve gotten a taste of a real Maine lobster.
Lobsters from Maine are famous for a few valid reasons:
- They typically have a longer season with thinner shells, which can make them easier to open and tastier (more on that in a moment).
- Lobsters are a significant piece of Maine’s economy. When you support the lobster business, you’re supporting the state’s economic growth.
- They’re ridiculously flavorful. The combination of Maine’s saltwater and water temperature provides just the right amount of everything to make lobsters taste their best.
With that said, if your store doesn’t carry the Maine crustaceans, you can still go with what’s available. We’re sure they’ll be tasty too! However, if you have the choice between Maine vs. Canadian lobster, we’ll always suggest going with good old Maine.
What’s the Best Size Lobster for Eating?
By law, lobsters must reach a specific size minimum before they’re allowed to be caught, ensuring they’ve reached most of their growth potential before making their way to restaurants and grocery stores. Any that you find in the store should be a decent size to eat.
Those on the lower end of the weight scale, though, might leave you a little disappointed, especially when it comes to the claw and tail meat. Smaller lobsters tend to have less bulk in these areas, which also happen to be the two most popular places to get lobster meat from.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a lobster around 1 ½ pound for one person, although some may range up to a whopping 4 lbs. (good luck trying to eat that one by yourself!).
What’s the Best Type of Lobster to Eat: Hard or Soft Shell?
The hard vs soft shell lobster debate is a subjective one, but we’ll let you in on some secrets of both that might help you decide what type you want.
Shell types depend on the season. You’ll typically find soft-shelled lobsters near the beginning of the lobster season. Maine lobster season 2018, and every year, begins in late June and usually lasts until December, although the peak period typically begins in mid-July and ends in September. The harder shells come toward the end of the peak period when waters turn colder, and the shells thicken to keep lobsters warm.
Hard-shelled lobsters can be difficult to crack open, so it may take more time to work your way through your lobster to be able to eat it. However, these animals tend to be larger because they’ve already gone through their molting process and growth spurt for the year.
Soft-shelled lobsters are, on average, smaller than their hard-shell counterparts, but they’re also easier to open and can be more flavorful because the thinner shell allows more of seawater to flavor the meat.
The type your store has will likely depend on the current stage of the season, but mid-season might offer a mix of both. You can always ask the person behind the counter for help if you’re looking for a specific kind. They’ll usually separate them into different tanks.
Simplifying the Process
If you’re not confident about your ability to choose the best quality lobster at the grocery store, you can always ask the experts for help. Maine Lobster House sends fresh, live Maine lobsters right to your door. You can order quickly and securely online and have your lobsters shipped from the coast of Maine in just a few days. Check out MyLiveLobster.com for more information.