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Live Lobster FAQ  

By Rebecca Gardon 

California spiny lobsterWhere does Catalina Offshore Products get its lobsters?

Our California spiny lobsters are trap-caught off Southern and Baja California. Because these traps produce minimal habitat impact and bycatch, most of which is released alive, both the Mexico and California fisheries are rated sustainable.

What is the difference between California spiny lobster and Maine lobster?

In common with all spiny lobsters, the California species has two large antennae, but no large front claws. Although spiny lobsters lack front claws, pound for pound they tend to have more meat in their bodies than their New England counterparts. Their generous tail meat is sweet and dense, yet still delicate in texture!

How do I tell if my lobsters are still alive?

To tell the difference between a dead lobster or lobster that’s simply sluggish after being shipped, gently touch its eyes and see if it moves.

How long can I store live lobsters?
Upon arrival, be sure to check your lobsters. If they are not moving, you should cook them the same day they are received. Otherwise, they may be kept alive for an additional 24 hours if stored properly.

How do I properly store live lobsters at home?

Place lobsters in a glass or metal bowl or baking dish and store in your refrigerator. You may wish to cover loosely with wet paper towels. Do not leave lobsters in shipping box or put them in a bag or store in freezer.

How should I cook a live lobster? 

You can boil or steam it whole and then crack open the lobster to enjoy the meat on its own or use it in a variety of dishes. Alternatively, you can also split the lobster lengthwise in half and cook the meat in the shell by baking, grilling or pan searing. Or, you can start by separating the tail from the body, then pan cook or grill the meat (either in or out of the shell) or make broiled lobster tails. There are countless tutorials and recipes online to help you out!

Do you have any quick tips for a total lobster novice? 

Boiling is perhaps the easiest approach to working with whole, live lobster:

  1. Fill a stockpot halfway with water and 1-2 tablespoons sea salt.
  2. Bring water to a boil and place lobsters into pot head first. The high-pitched noise you will hear is just gas escaping from the shells.
  3. Lobsters will appear bright red when fully cooked. To be sure, tug on an antenna or a small walking leg. These will remove easily when the lobster is done. Lobsters weighing 1-2 pounds should take about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove lobsters to a rimmed baking sheet and let sit until cool enough to handle. Use your hands to twist and separate tail from body, discarding the head and torso. Using a fork, pierce the exposed tail meat and slowly twist and pull it out of the shell in one piece.
  5. Enjoy cooked meat by dipping into melted butter or use for pastas, soups, salads, sandwiches and more!

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