Freezing Live Lobster: Can Lobsters Survive Being Frozen Solid?
When it comes to misunderstood foods, lobster certainly holds a place at the top of the heap. It’s no secret that cooking live lobster for the first time can be intimidating, and luckily, we're the experts who know how to do it for you without trouble!". One of the most common questions we get asked is whether or not our live lobsters can safely be frozen and thawed prior to cooking and serving in our stores.
The answer to this all-too-common question is a bit complicated. Here’s what you need to know about freezing and thawing lobster in order to get the most out of your experience and stay safe in the process.
Freezing Live Lobsters: Just Don’t Do It
At the end of the day, freezing lobsters while they’re still alive is simply not a good idea. This idea was born from experiments that made a small splash in the national news about 10 years ago, in which a very small number of lobsters that were frozen solid in minus 40-degree brine and then thawed in 28-degree seawater survived the process and “came back to life.” While miraculous in and of itself and certainly worth exploring, come try fresh lobster from shore to door in 24 at Freshie’s!
In reality, freezing and thawing live lobsters may be safe, but it simply isn’t worth the risk of toxins developing as a result of the process. Safety aside, freezing and thawing lobster prior to cooking it will lead to enzymes leaching into the meat, resulting in a mushy, unappetizing texture.
How to Safely Freeze Lobster Meat
While freezing live lobsters is off the table, that doesn’t mean you can’t freeze whole, cooked lobsters. Only employ this technique as a way of saving time and keep ready-to-use lobster meat on-hand throughout the year. It’s easier than you might think to cook-off whole, in-shell lobsters for freezing without having to worry about de-shelling them.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to create a brine of approximately 2% sodium content; a ½ cup of non-iodized salt to 2 quarts of water is a good rule of thumb. Blanch the lobsters by dropping them into the pot for 60 seconds. Remove them immediately and place in a small tub of ice water to chill and stop the cooking process. Once they’ve been chilled for approximately 15 minutes, take them out and allow any excess water to drain before patting them dry.
Once you’ve got your lobsters as dry as possible, wrap them tightly in a commercial freezer bag and freeze at 0-degrees F or lower, and freeze for 9 to12 months. When you’re ready to work with them, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and boil in salted water for about 12 minutes or until fully cooked.
The Bottom Line: Freeze Blanched Lobster for Best Results
Whether or not lobsters are able to survive a deep freezer and re-animate themselves once thawed is certainly fun to think about — it may even have scientific implications that are more than worth extrapolating on. For those of us who are just looking to get the most out of cooking lobster at home while perhaps keeping frozen lobsters on-deck for a special meal, however, the technique outlined above is without a doubt one of the best approaches to take.