Live lobsters are highly perishable. Once removed from wild seawater, they generally don’t live for more than a day. Handling live lobster can be intimidating if you’ve not done it before. Here are a few tips on how to handle live lobster to ensure you properly and humanely care for your lobster as well as keep it fresh and healthy until cooking time.
How To Handle Live Lobster
If you are planning to purchase lobster from a fishmonger, supermarket or a lobster fisherman, it’s best to bring a carry cooler with you (any cooler should do – Igloo, styrofoam or a soft-sided insulated cooler – as long as it’s large enough to hold your lobsters). If you have far to travel or it is a warm day, line the cooler with some ice packs or, if you’re near the ocean, cover the lobster with some wet seaweed. If you don’t have far to travel, it’s fine to place the lobsters in a bucket or even a paper or plastic bag until you get home.
Once you have arrived home with your lobster, place it in your refrigerator until cooking time. My family store our lobster in a crisper drawer until we’re ready to cook them. Some people cover their lobster with moist seaweed or a damp cloth while in the refrigerator. Ideally, you should cook your lobsters on the day you purchase them. If you leave them for a bit longer, be sure to check the liveliness of your lobsters before cooking and eating them.
Never place lobsters in a sink or tub of tap water or salt water in an effort to keep them alive. It will kill them.