There must be a modicum of truth wrapped inside any rumor for it to be perpetuated over time. Rumors about lobsters are not exempt from this rule of thumb. Here we point out the bits of truth wrapped up in some misconceptions about Maine’s preeminent crustacean.

Hard-shell lobsters are better eating than soft-shell.

Keep in mind there’s no accounting for taste. The texture of soft-shell lobster meat is, in fact, squishier and sometimes more watery than the meat in hard-shell lobsters. The animals periodically shed a smaller (and harder) shell for a new, roomier (and softer) shell. Shedders are easier to crack into, so they are easier eating for sure. Some who prefer shedders say their meat is also sweeter. The claw and tail muscles of a soft-shell lobster firm up as it grows to fill out its new shell, which will harden with time. The meat of a hard-shell lobster is firmer and fills out the shell better so folks making the effort to extract the meat often feel like they’ve really gotten their money’s worth. What’s better for one lobster eater is worse for the next.

Lobsters scream when they are boiled.

Lobsters don’t scream when you boil them because they lack lungs and other biological equipment to form such a sound. What you’re hearing from inside the pot is air and steam escaping from the lobsters’ shells.

Lobster is high in cholesterol.


Relatively speaking, a 3-ounce serving of plain lobster has twice as many milligrams of cholesterol than the same size serving of lean top sirloin steak but only two-thirds of the cholesterol in a single whole egg. Lobster is also high in protein, low in calories, and brings healthy Omega-3 fatty acids to the table for better brain health. Now about that drawn butter…

Big lobsters are tough.

Any lobster can be tough if you cook it badly. A 1¼-pound lobster should be boiled (best method for multiple lobsters in the pot) for 7-8 minutes, steamed (yields more tender meat) for 7-9 minutes, or baked for 22-23 minutes. A 2-pound lobster should be boiled for 10-12 minutes, steamed for 11-12 minutes, or baked for 27 minutes. The best method to check whether a lobster is done is to insert an instant read thermometer in the underside of the tail closest to the body. The internal temperature should read 135-140 degrees F.

Christine Burns Rudalevige is a food writer, recipe developer, tester and cooking teacher in Brunswick, and the author of “Green Plate Special.” She can be contacted at: [email protected]

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