What do Lobster Bands actually do?
Lobster bands serve for a purpose of uses to protect both the lobster and people handling them
The main reason lobsters have their claws banded with lobster bands is to protect them from each other but banding the claws also helps protect the people who handle them.
A while ago, lobstermen would use wooden pegs to keep the claws shut but this was halted as pegs would cause an open wound on the lobsters and if the wound became infected, this infection could easily be spread between the lobsters causing shrinkage.
To keep damage to a minimum on the soft-shelled lobster claws, lobstermen will use various grades of rubber band. Soft-shelled lobsters should use a flexible rubber band now known as a lobster bands and a tighter rubber band will be used for hard shells.
This is an extremely effective method unless the lobster is very soft and in this case, when possible, the lobster should be stored separately while the shell has chance to harden.
The lobster should be handled by holding the top of its shell, directly behind its head, to remove the lobster bands, start with the smaller claw, the pincher. The larger claw is known as the “crusher” and for good reason.
Lobsters are cooked live as with other shellfish they have harmful bacteria in their flesh and once dead, these bacteria can multiply quickly releasing toxins that cooking may not kill. By cooking the lobster live you minimise the possibility of food poisoning. The lobster can be cooked with or without the lobster bands.
To maximize the flavour of the lobster meat when cooking, it is best to remove the rubber bands before cooking. If you take the lobster straight out of the fridge or from cold water, it should be slow and calm enough that you shouldn't be pinched.
You will usually notice a dramatic color change in the lobster while cooking and this is down to certain biochemicals inside the shellfish that react to the heat. Both lobsters and crabs have astaxanthin in their shells which is a pigment that appears red, orange or yellow in color.
A sweet and light white wine is recommended to accompany your lobster as red wine is said to be too strong. A traditional hot lobster dish should be enjoyed with an oaky Chardonnay or when served cold enjoyed with a dry white wine, possibly a Muscadet.
A selection of dinner party facts:
- Lobsters can be left and right handed like humans. This is determined by what side the larger claw is on.
- Of the more than 10,000 eggs the female will lay, only ten may make it through the first month of life.
- A lobster will shed its shell several times a year.