Summertime means beautiful weather, BBQs and pool floaties as far as the eye can see. And for seafood lovers, it also means the official start of lobster season.
While you may know that you love to eat lobster, what do you actually know about the funny-looking shellfish? Before you get crackin’ on some lobster to celebrate the season, here are six facts you may not know.
1. Lobsters Shed Their Shells In Spring And Summer
Lobsters can be eaten all year round. From December until June, they are called “hard shell” lobsters and taste a bit salty, like brine. However, from mid-June through November, lobsters shed their shells for new, larger ones underneath. The result is what is called “new shell,” or “soft shell” lobster and they have a sweeter, more tender meat inside.
2. The Lobster Industry Dates Back To The 1600s
The Maine lobster industry is one of the oldest continuously operated industries in North America, with the first documented catch dating back to 1605. According to the industry group Lobster from Maine, over 5,000 people are licensed lobstermen and lobster contributes more than $1 billion to Maine’s economy each year.
3. Lobsters Can Come In Different Colors.
While you may think of lobsters as being red, they are actually greenish-brown in color. Their shells only turn red when they are cooked because the heat breaks the bond between pigmentation and protein in the shell. According to Lobsters.org, some lobsters can be different colors like white, yellow or blue due to multiple factors, including genetic mutations. However, those colorful crustaceans are extremely rare.
4. Lobster Is A Pretty Healthy Food
Not only is lobster low in calories and fat, but according to Livestrong, they are also a good source of vitamin B-12, zinc, copper, selenium, and phosphorus. A 3 ounce serving of lobster is only about 76 calories, but has 16.2 grams of protein and only 0.7 grams of fat. Lobster is also good for your heart, as it contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, lobster is a pretty healthy meal — just go easy on that melted butter!
5. Lobsters Used To Be Considered Food For The Poor
According to The University of Maine, lobster was so prevalent that it used to be considered a food eaten by poor people. It was also fed to farm animals! Servants were so tired of eating lobster that they won a court case preventing them from having to eat it more than three times a week.
Thanks to some savvy marketing to tourists that took place in the 1900s, however, lobster eventually came to be considered more of a delicacy.
6. Lobsters Can Grow Back Missing Body Parts
If a lobster loses a claw or leg in a fight with another lobster, it’s no big deal — it’ll just grow back! Robert C. Bayer, the executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, told Time that it takes about five years for a one-pound lobster to regenerate a claw the same size of the one that was lost.