In 2011, Maine's 4,600 licensed lobstermen caught over 104 million pounds. I hope you ate your share! If not, 2012 looks to be another record breaking year.
Lobster Grades: Soft Shell vs. Hard Shell
Around the beginning of summer, lobsters wriggle out of their old shell (think of pulling a too-tight wet suit over your head!) as a part of their growth process. These new shell lobsters spend the rest of the summer & fall growing into their new shell which grows progressively firmer until they are ready to molt again. On average a lobster grows about 14% in length & 50% in weight after each molt.
The meat of a soft shell lobster is more sweet and tender than hard shells but soft shells contain about 25% less meat.
Soft Shells can be easily shucked with your hands. Great for outdoor lobster bakes!
During the summer & fall, soft shells are much more abundant & therefore less expensive than hard shells.
Hard Shell lobsters are more durable and better for traveling or shipping long distances.
Betcha Didn't Know
- You can estimate a lobster's age by multiplying their weight by 4 & adding 3.
- It takes about 7 years (20-30 molts) for a lobster to reach the one pound market size.
- Like humans, lobsters are either left or right handed depending on which side their crusher claw is on.
- A one pound female lobster can carry over 8,000 eggs at one time, however, odds are only one or two will survive to be of legal size.
- Lobsters eat fish, mussels, crabs, clams, plankton & their favorite... other lobsters.
- Lobsters taste with their feet, breathe & listen with their legs & their brain is located in its throat. They have poor eyesight but an incredible sense of smell.
- If two lobsters fight and later cross paths again, each will remember the other... maybe they should be more forgiving!