As the summer season fast approaches, restaurants big and small are coming up with delicious new menus involving some of our favorite crustaceans: lobsters. There are many who say that lobsters do not differ from each other, but as those of us in the industry can tell you, that simply isn’t true. In fact, here at Samuels Seafood, we do our best to ensure our lobsters maintain the highest quality for our customers with our state-of-the-art tanks and constant monitoring of the lobster and water. Who does this research, you ask? Hello! My name is Samantha Justice, and I am Samuels’ Food Safety and Quality Assurance Specialist. Among other things, this makes me our resident lobster checker.
Most of our lobsters hail from Maine, though many come from Massachusetts or Prince Edward Island in Canada. Canadian lobsters will usually be larger than Maine lobsters, as Canada operates without a catch-size limit. Once caught, even our farthest lobsters are shipped to us in the span of 28 hours. This ensures that our lobsters are out of the water for as little time as possible. Our lobsters are then separated by size and vendor before being placed into our lobster room.
In our tanks, which boast 16,000 gallons of constantly-circulating water, we hold up to 15,000 lbs of lobsters at any time. With a temperature that hovers between 37 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit, our lobsters are kept in a hibernating state to avoid fighting in captivity. Our clean saltwater comes from the incoming tide of Barnegat Bay, making sure that the water our lobsters thrive in is filled with all of the proper plankton and environmental nutrients that keep the lobsters happy and healthy. Three times a week, I, as lobster checker, maintain the correct balance in our water, such as alkalinity, pH balance, and ammonia levels. Rest assured, our water is kept at optimal levels, and our pH and alkalinity balances ensure safe, happy, healthy lobsters.
Fun fact: Did you know that lobsters do not have blood, but instead have hemolymph? As lobsters are invertebrates, hemolymph is the proper term for this opaque serum that flows inside the body. This hemolymph is checked by needle, and we measure the protein levels within to ensure that only the hardiest lobsters arrive from our vendors.
Samuels and Son Seafood is one of few facilities that maintain this check of water and hemolymph levels, providing you with the assurance that your lobsters are of the highest quality. With our tests to back up the health of our lobsters, we know we have the best crustaceans available.
Don’t have a tank at home? No worries. If you’re buying our lobsters fresh, but find you can’t quite cook them right away, keep your lobsters alive by placing them in a large bowl, cardboard box, or roasting pan, lined with damp cloth or newspaper to ensure your lobsters can breathe. You do not need to place your lobsters in water, as the absence of nutrients and plankton could kill them. Instead, ensure their gills are wet by laying a damp cloth or napkin over your crustaceans, and store them for up to two days in your refrigerator.
If you have any questions on the life or health of your lobsters, give us a call at 1.800.580.5810 or send me an email at SamJ@samuelsandsonseafood.com. We’ll be glad to hear from you!