Lobsters are one of the crustaceans widely eaten as food. When you think of lobsters, you imagine a red, robust crustacean on an expensive dish or from a roadside lobster shack. Beyond food, lobsters are quite complex, and there are different types of lobster that you should know.
If you are a seafood lover, you should know the different types of lobsters. Moreover, not all parts of lobsters are edible. Not all lobsters have the specific features you’re looking for. For instance, not all lobsters have claws.
That being said, I believe you want to know what the lobster types are and what makes one different from the other.
What Are Lobsters?
Lobsters are crustaceans from the family Nephropidae. They are omnivorous sea animals with long bodies, five pairs of legs, claws, muscular tails, a hard exoskeleton, and antennas. You’ll find them in the crevices, cracks, and caves of sandy, rocky, or muddy bottom of water bodies.
Furthermore, a lobster naturally lives very long, 45-50 years, and wax stronger as it ages. This is because it goes through numerous molting phases and can regenerate its lost limbs.
In addition, lobsters are prepared in different cuisines to add seafood flavor. They are prepared in different ways to make delicious meals like soups, bisques, lobster rolls, lobster Newberg, and cappon magro.
While you’ll find meat in almost every part of a lobster, the claws and tails are not edible. Also, the shell, eyes, intestine, and gills are not as palatable as the meat found in the head and other parts of the body.
Types of Lobsters
The different types of lobsters fall under two categories, warm water lobsters and cold water lobsters. They are categorized based on their habitat and anatomy.
Cold Water Lobsters
Cold water lobsters are:
- Most eaten lobsters
- More expensive
- And they are sold in seafood restaurants
1. Maine Lobster
Maine lobster is an American lobster. They are the most expensive and the best lobsters eaten around the world. Although they are quite expensive, when you eat one, you’ll agree that it’s worth the price. Maine lobsters are available all year round, but they are more abundant from June to December.
In addition, they have very juicy claw meat and hearty tail meat. If you want to eat the best Maine lobsters, buy them from Maine Lobstermen.
2. French Blue Lobsters
French blue lobsters are Breton chefs’ delight. They sometimes call it petit bleu. Large quantities of these lobsters are imported from Scotland or Ireland to Brittany, France to grace different dishes with their fine taste.
French blue lobsters live in shallow waters and are available all year round. But, they are more abundant from early spring to late summer. The meat of these lobsters is firm, quite salty, and very succulent.
3. New Zealand Lobster
New Zealand lobsters are also widely eaten around the world. They are caught on the South Pacific Coast. They are one of those lobsters that have very beautiful shells covering smooth, sweet, and succulent white meat. In addition, they have small claws and long antennae.
In New Zealand, they are available all year round, but they are more abundant from May to February.
4. Canadian Lobster
Canadian lobsters are also American lobsters. You’ll find them in colder water bodies. To adapt to this environment, they have harder shells and denser meat. Like Maine lobsters, they have juicy claw meat, but the meat is not as sweet as that of the Maine lobsters.
Additionally, they are available from October to January and June to July.
5. Norway Lobster
Norway lobsters have claws, just like the Maine and Canadian lobsters. They also have a hard exoskeleton. These lobsters live in the Mediterranean sea, Lofoten, Morocco, and Northwest Atlantic. Unlike many other types of lobster, these are only available in October and November.
6. Slipper Lobster
These types of lobster are like rock lobsters are warm water lobsters. Unlike other cold-water lobsters, they do not have claws. They look like flat mushrooms. Also, unlike other lobsters, they spend most of their day in the mud and this makes it difficult for fishermen to harvest them.
As a result of this characteristic, people do not often consider them for food. They are rather an endangered species in some parts of the world.
7. Furry Lobster
These lobster types are not regular lobsters. They are covered with short hair and are not easy to harvest. This is one of the reasons why furry lobsters are not favorable for food. People who harvest these types of lobster do not do so for commercial purposes.
8. Squat Lobster
Squat lobsters look like shrimps, like hermit crabs, and like lobsters all in one. They live in crevices and use their claws to dig into the sand in search of food. Like the slipper and furry Lobster, they are not so favorable for food. Instead, fishermen use them as baits to fish for larger fish.
Warm Water Lobsters
Warm water lobsters are:
- Also known as rock lobsters or spiny lobsters
- Less expensive lobsters
- Known for their meaty tails
- Characterized by their antenna-sized legs in place of claws
1. Caribbean Lobster
Caribbean lobsters are the types of lobster you’ll find on the Caribbean shore, the North American Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. They are in abundance from April to October when the temperature in the ocean is at 73°F. In addition, the meat of these lobsters is sweet and succulent with a delicate flavor.
Also, they have a hard shell that has beautiful patterns of gray and brown stripes and yellow spots around their tail. Fishermen fish these lobsters when they are about 3 inches long.
2. South African Lobster
On the grounds of habitat, South African lobsters are not warm water lobsters because they live in cold water bodies. However, they are called warm water lobsters because they lack claws. These types of lobster have very muscular tails that have a unique sweet flavor.
Additionally, these lobster types are commonly sold as frozen whole lobsters or frozen lobster tails in America. They are abundantly available from November to April.
3. Australian Lobster
Generally, lobsters are red. But the Australian lobster could be green or red. These lobster types are known for their robust tails that can weigh up to 10 ounces. The meat from these crustaceans is smooth with a delicate fishy flavor.
In addition, Australian lobsters are in abundance all year round on the Northwest Coast of Australia.
4. Tristan Lobster
Tristan lobsters have a taste that is very distinct from that of every other type of lobster. The taste of the Tristan lobster is clean and sweet. It has a low-fat content that gives it its unique texture.
Furthermore, these lobsters have green shells that turn red as they cook. Their pink flesh also turns white as you cook them.
5. Reef Lobster
As their name implies, these lobsters live on reefs. These lobster types are not for commercial purposes. They are brightly colored, so they are more profitable for the aquarium trade. They are characterized by their beautiful purple and lavender markings and one set of claws.
Reef lobsters are caught in the Indo-Pacific, Caribbean, and the warmer parts of the Atlantic.
6. Pacific Lobsters
Pacific lobsters are caught commercially for their robust tails. They grow to be very large and can weigh up to 5 pounds and 15 pounds occasionally. These lobster types are very abundant from October to March.
7. California Lobster
The California lobsters have spines. They are caught on the coast from Monterey Bay to Mexico. These lobsters are exported to China in large quantities where the people incorporate them into their traditional cuisines.
Furthermore, California lobsters are spawned from October to March. They are one of the largest lobsters; they can grow up to 24 inches in length.
Are Lobsters Healthy?
Yes, they are. Some lobsters are a better alternative to chicken, beef, and pork. They contain less fat, cholesterol, and fewer calories. Lobster meats are chock full of nutrients like vitamins, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals.
Additionally, adding lobsters to your diet can aid weight loss, provide an energy boost, increase the copper level in the body and cure anemia, protect you from heart diseases, reduce inflammation, and improve mental health.
Tips to Help You Buy the Best Lobsters
- Go for fresh and live lobsters. They have a healthier option compared to frozen lobsters.
- Know that there are two types of lobsters, based on their stage of growth. There is the soft-shell and the hard-shell lobster. The soft-shell ones have just shed their old shell, so the new shells are thinner and easier to pick. Although they may taste sweeter, they are not as tough as the hard-shell lobsters.
- Don’t buy lobsters with cracked shells or claws.
- Also, check the tail. If the tail doesn’t re-curl after pushing it, it’s a dead and bad lobster.
- If you’re keen on male or female, check for the differences. The males have bigger claws while the females have bigger tails. Also, female lobsters have roe (the immature eggs) which some people find very tasty.
- In addition, buy lobster from a seafood market or a grocery store. Don’t buy lobsters in overcrowded tanks, from slow-moving markets, or in murky tanks with algae.
How to Cook Lobsters
- Set a large pot of water on the stove and add salt.
- The quantity of water in the pot will depend on how many lobsters you’re boiling. Also, the salt will vary with the amount of water, but you should have a salty water.
- Then, bring the water to a boil.
- Put the lobsters one by one into the pot of boiling water; put them in head first.
- Afterward, cover the pot and leave the lobsters to boil for 10-25 minutes. How long you boil the lobsters depends on their size. Also, when the lobsters turn red, it means they are done. However, you should use both the timing and redness to determine if your lobsters are well-cooked.
- When you’re sure they are well-cooked, drain the lobsters and allow them to cool before cracking.
Are male lobsters sweeter than female lobsters?
The taste of lobsters does not vary with their genders. There is no difference in the taste of a male lobster and that of a female.
Can you eat small lobsters?
Generally, bigger and older lobsters have more tender meats than the small ones. The small lobsters may be tastier than the bigger lobsters. But, to get value for your money, you should go for the bigger lobsters.
Why do lobsters turn red?
Lobsters turn red when they are cooked. Their shell (a colorless multiprotein cage) houses a colorant, crustacyanin, that turns red while the lobsters are cooking. The shell naturally holds the pigment molecules, but as you begin to cook the lobsters, the protein shell denatures and releases the pigment.
Seafood lover, I hope this article has provided you with the necessary information you need before you go lobster shopping. If you get lost in the market, you can ask the seller what types of lobster they sell.
Carefully clean the lobster and cut off the tail and claws before you make it into a delicious dish.
Thanks for reading.
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