Who doesn’t know about lobster? Lobster is one kind of seafood which people love the most. It usually found in restaurant and market with high price. The hard outer shell of lobster hides the tender meat that has great flavor and benefits. Lobsters are now considered as high nutrition food with bunch of nutrients especially protein and low in saturated fat. We used to found the lobster in soup or even in sushi or lobster roll. It also can be boiled, grilled or baked and served with other meals and makes up a delicate dish.
Lobster is a marine crustacean which belong to Arhtrophoda. All member of Homoridae family has five jointed leg (pereopods or thoracic legs) with the first pair of leg terminated into claws. There are many varieties of lobsters. The size ranging from a few centimetres to over 1m. They have cylindrical or flattened bodies with prominent tail. The abdomen of lobster consist of 6 movable segments and a terminal fan. They also have stalked and movaable eyes. Family of homoridae is also known by a pair of long and cylindrical antennae. Lobster are garbageman of the sea, they live as scavenger and predator of the small shellfish.
Lobster grows in some years and it take two years to reached their maturity. After two years, lobster will do molting over many times and they are sexually mature after they reach 6 – 12 inches long. Mature lobsters weight are between 1 – 2 pounds and they can be between 7 – 10 years old. Mature males lobsters are naturally bigger than female ones. They have larger claws, longer bodies, narrower tails and more weigh compared to females of the same length.
Categories of Lobster
There are 6 families and 34 species of lobster, including :
- True lobsters and lobsterettes ( Nephropidae ) There are fourteen species belong to this family. They have tubular body with first 3 pairs of legs with pinchers cylindrical antennae which is longer than the body.
- Pincer lobsters ( Thaumastochelidae ). They belong to deep sea lobsters which live in continental slope between 640 – 1050 m. They are soft-bodied and are blind (eyeless). They have antennal scale with spine
- Blind lobsters (Polichelidae ). They are also soft bodied deep se lobster who Live between 100 and 2 900 m depths . They have small eyes but lack of pigment. The antennae is shorter than body.
- Furry lobsters ( Synaxidae ). Live in shallow waters. Furry lobster have tubular body and carapace with a small rostrum. They have no pincers on their legs and the first pair much larger than others. The cylindrical antennae is shorter than body. They usually come with hairy and bright orange color without enlarged spine.
- Spiny lobsters (langoustes) ( Palinuridae ). Spini lobster have tubular body and without a rostrum. They have legs without true pincers, enlarge antennae which is longer than body
- Slipper lobsters ( Scyllaridae ). They have flattened body and carapace without a rostrum. There is no pincers on legs and scale-like antennae
During 17th and 18th century or at about 1800’s lobster considered as low class or poor people food. If people along the north-eastern coast of United States caught lobsters along with other seafood, they will just thrown lobster to the ground as fertilizer and as prisoner food. Then later lobster made it came back on 19th century as the food of king. The price of fresh lobster nowadays is high whether you purchase it in restaurant or in market.
Lobster are sensitive to heat, rain, sunshine and wind. Those can result in high rates of mortality. Unlike other kind of seafood, lobsters cant be sold to human once they die. To keep lobster as non-living seafood, they usually processed and packed into some other products.
At 1830’s loster started to be canned and with the invention of stamped which allow packaging, lobster made it way to new market opportunities. According to the note of Gordon Dewolf, the first canned lobster was produced in Eastern New Brunswick in about 1845.
Nutrition facts of Lobster
Lobsters contain a bunch of nutrients which has significant effect to health, here is the list of nutrition facts of lobster
PER SERVING ( 100 gr or 3.5 oz ) ( Boiled VS Canned Lobster )
Energy 93 calories 95 calories
Energy 389 KJ 398 KJ
Protein 21 g 19 g
Fat 1 g 1 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g 0 g
Monounsaturated 0 g 0 g
Saturated 0 g 0 g
Cholesterol 72 mg 85 mg
Carbohydrate – trace
Sodium 380 mg 210 mg
Potassium 352 mg 180 mg
Fresh Lobster also contain 2 % iron , 35% Vitamin B12 , 13% calcium, 15% Magnesium and 10% Vitamin B6 based on recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Health benefits of lobster
Due to abundant in great healthy nutrients, lobster provides many health benefits that you may not realized. Below are the health benefits which you can get from consuming lobster :
- Prevent cardiovascular disease risk
Regular consumption of seafood especially lobster can lower the risk of carduivascular disease. Lobsters contain amount of DHA and EPA which are important in maintain healthy heart, prevent ischemic stroke and other cardiovascular problem.
2. Lowering blood pressure
Two studies which reviewed by Dorea in 2008 reported that the DHA< EPA and protein which contain in lobster and other seafood can affect to blood pressure, resting heart rate and trygliceride level.
3. Prevent from Arthritis
According to Mc Manus (2010 ) consuming around 3500 – 400 mg marine seafood including lobster can reduce the risk of developing arthritis. The omega inside lobster can reduce inflammation and joint tenderness which are symptom of inflammatory arthritis. Vitamin D contained in lobster also reported can significantly suppressed the immune system which are important to prevent the developing of autoimmune disease symptoms.
4. Fight Cancer
Who knows that lobster also can prevent and reduce the risk of developing cancer? High intake of seafood including lobster can significantly reduced the risk of ovarian and colorectal cancer. A Cohort study in United Kingdom also showed that women who consumed more seafood has lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to red meat consumers. Not only in women, the increasing consumption can also reduce the risk of prostate and lung cancer in males. It is also protect older males over 45 years old from developing esophageal cancer.
5. Prevent Macular degeneration and keeping healthy eyes
The macula is the part of eye that provides sharp, central vision which is needed to see objects clearly. Consumption of seafood and of course lobster which contain DHA and EPA , can reduce the risk of macular degeneration especially in older people by 51 %, based on Mc Manus et al (2010)
6. Maintain cognitive function
Lobster is high in omega 3 which is important to maintain neurological structure and function. It is well known that omega 3 is great supplement for brain. It also can preven neural damage in brain which lead to dementia. An epidemiological studies suggested that people with higher seafood consumption has better cognitife function in later life. Vitamin B12 in lobster also important to keep brain and nervous function.
7. Prevent Alzheimer disease
Alzheimer is a nightmare especially to people in old age. Regular consumption of lobsters that are high in omega 3 can prevent alzheimer since it can prevent damage in the brain cells.
8. Protect from hearing loss
According to McManus et al. (2010) some recent research reported that marine lobster are source omega-3 PUFAs that may protect from hearing loss in link with age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Consuming at least two servings of seafood in a week can reduce the risk of presbycusis
9. Promote good mood and alleviate depression
High intake of omega 3 rich lobster can promotes good mood and optimism especially in the elderly. Long term study of seafood mentioned that lobster which contain high omega 3 give benefits to individuals who suffer from depression. It is also mentioned that high omega 3 food is used in treatment of bipolar disorder case. Vitamin B6 which contained in lobster also can improve neural function which influence the mood. Two servings of lobster per week is believed can reduce depression and treat bipolar disorder.
10. Maintain strong bones
Lobster rich in calcium which is vital to keep strong bone and prevent osteoporosis. It also contains some amount of Vitamin D which supported absorption of calcium and prevent bone mass loss. A study reported that high intake of lobster or more than 250 grams per week can improve the bone mass and lower osteoporosis risk in women
11. Maintain thyroid function
Lobster contain iodine which is the key constituent of thyroid hormone function, thyroid hormone play important role in regulating metabolic rate and keep healthy body cell.
12. Prevent anemia
Iron is a mineral which important in red blood cell forming and keeping the function of haemoglobin in delivering the oxygen to whole part of the body. Lobster contain adequate amount of iron which can keep healthy blood transportation and prevent anemia. Anemia is a condition where the body lack of haemoglobin in red blood cells which can cause weakness and low body stamina. Iron also work together with copper to maintain the function of red blood cells. Lobster contain 17 times greater number of copper compared to salmon and 45 times which is found in cod.
13. Help in weight lost
Just like other kind of seafood, lobster contain great nutrients with low calories. This is good news for people who is having weight lost program. Beside they can still enjoy delicious food they dont increase the risk of getting more fat since lobster is also low in saturated fat.
14. Promotes muscle building
Lobster contain high protein and low fat which is considered to be consumed by athletes. Protein is crucial nutrients which composed almost all parts of the body and its ensure the development of body cell including the development of muscle.
15. Reduce inflammation
The high intake of omega 3 can slightly reduce inflammation that caused by free radicals or pathogen. Consuming lobster or other kind of seafood regularly can help the body to fight inflammation.
16. Strengthen immune system
It has been proven that lobster also contain high amount of selenium which is vital to maintain and strengthen immune system. The increasing consumption of selenium that is antioxidant can boost the function of immune system and inhibit the reactive oxygen series (ROS) development which can caude cell damage.
Potential Health risk of lobster
Lobster along with other seafood has potential effect to rise allergy. Many cases of allergy happen to people while they consuming seafood. The main cause of allergy is the protein which contained in lobster muscles which called tropomyosin. When tropomyosin enter the body, it will trigger the histamin production and rise the symptom of allergy within minutes. The allergy sympton can be ranged from mild to severe life-treathening anaphylaxis.
Symptom of allergy may include abdominal pain, tingling in mouth, skin reactions, swelling, dizziness or fainting. People with such allergy should avoid consuming seafood including lobster and just prepare epinephrin in the case of food contamination or consuming food that unknownly contain lobster meat. Read food label carefully when you gonna purchase canned or package food.
Lobster may also contain contaminant metal such as methylmercury that are toxic to nervous system and development of brain. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit the intake of seafood including lobster to protect the babies from any health risk.
Lobsters are high in sodium and it can elevate the blood pressure. If you have problem with hypertension, its better to avoid dipping the lobster meat in butter or add more salt.
How to Purchase
When you gonna purchase the fresh lobster from market, you better know these tips in order to help you select the best quality of lobster.
- Purchase only fresh alive seafood with red or orange color shell
- Ensure the tails must be curled up not hanging downwards.
- The shell should be moist when you purchased it If you found any blemish or the scarred shell you can just use the meat to serve without the shell.
- Make sure you purchase fresh lobster from appropriate place that only sell fresh one and no more than a week in tank.
- Avoid to purchase yellow and dry shell lobster. Those are sign that the lobster may sick or old.
- Fresh lobsters claws are usually banded when they caught from the sea to avoid they to scratch the tank. Just remove the bands by grasp the lobster in the middle of back and cut the band using shears. Do it carefully or you can get pinched by its big claws.
- Never purchase dead lobster and you can also see the freshness of lobster by the movement. Fresh lobster will move and crack actively their claws and tail when it get disturbed or handling.
How to store
To keep the quality of lobster after purchasing, its better to keep the lobster in fridge by following these tips :
- Store lobster in the refrigerator on a tray covered with damp cloth
- Lobster product should be kept frozen but dont refrozen lobster once it has been defrosted
- Ideal temperature to kept lobster is between -26 to -30 degrees celcius or -15 to -20 degrees F
- Frozen lobster can be stored for up to nine month withous losing the quality
- Don’t store the frozen lobster near the frozen wall and floor in order to get good air circulation and it should be separated from other seafood
How to prepare
Before consuming lobster there are some tips and to prepare it
- If you get fresh lobster to cooked, its better to be cleaned under flowing water
- Its better to cook the lobster alive so when you start to cook it dont put effort to kill it.
- If you gonna cook frozen seafood , the best way to defrost the frozen lobster meat is by thawing. Just immerse the unopened can or package in cold water then place in refrigerator. The times of thawing is accoding to the size and quantity of package, may be it takes three to five hours per pack for thawing.
- Do not defrost frozen lobster in warm water or room temperatures. This will cause quality and nutrients loss.
- If you need it immediately, better to set the frozen lobster under cold running water.
- After defrosting, frozen lobsters are best consumed within 24 – 36 hours.
- If you purchase frozen pre-cooked lobster meat, just cook it for short time and serve it hot. Don’t set pre-cooked meat under running water because it can reduce the taste of lobster
How to cook
There are several ways to enjoy lobster. These are some methods that usually use to cook fresh lobster even cooking always depends on personal choice.
It is the most popular way to cook lobster. Just boil the fresh alive lobster into a pan and add some salt. Firts hold the back of lobster then place the head first in boiling water. Cover the pan for about seven to ten minutes. Just make sure you count the time and start to count after the water boiled and you have put the lobster in it. Lobster will continue to cooked inside the shell even it has been removed from the water so directly take it from water before it fully cooked or place it in iced water just after you remove it from the liquid. If you want to serve it cold you can refrigerate it until you need it.
Another way to cook lobster is by steaming. Just put 1 cm of water, 1 tablespoon salth and a tablespoon of vinegar in a pot the let it to boil. Put the live lobster by holding its back and steam it for 15 minute ( for a pound lobster ) and add more five minutes for more extra pound. Make sure you cover it tightly
Adding vinegar when boiling or steaming lobster will make it more flavorful and make the shell create beautiful red color.
Pouching is also a good way to enjoy lobster and add more flavor on it. Poaching lobster has more benefits to keep the natural flavor even it complimented with seasoning and herbs addition. To pouch the lobster you need two pans. First pan to boil the lobster another one, the pouching pan which has been added with water and seasoning such as lemon, salt, onion or celery. Boil the lobster in pan then move it to pouching pan after two minutes boiling. Cook it until done.
Note : Lobster meat is naturally tender. Make sure you don’t cook it overtime since overcooking will cause the meat to be dry, tough and tasteless.
How to test doneness
When cooking losbter, there are several sign that to check if the lobster is done to be cooked. These incluse :
- The antenna will be easily pulled free when it tugged.
- The meat will has white marble color and firm textures
- Try to open the curled up tail and force to straighten it then release it quickly. If the tail back to the pace with sharp “clack” it means the lobster is done
To start enjoy the lobster make sure you have claw cracker to take the lobster meat inside the claw and the body. Eat lobster regularly can help you to maintain your health and serve it with best way to get whole benefits of lobster. Combine it with other healthy meals will be great choice in your diet.