In honor of National Lobster Day, check out these shocking facts about one of America’s most popular crustaceans.
When the first European settlers reached North America, there were so many lobsters that they were reportedly washed ashore in heaps up to 2 feet high. Their bounty made them a valuable food source in difficult times – and gave them a bad reputation as a poor man’s protein.
– Indians used lobster to fertilise their crops and bait their fishing hooks. They also ate the abundant crustaceans, prepared them by covering them with seaweed and baking them over hot stones. According to tradition, this cooking method inspired the classic New England clambake.
– At first lobsters were collected by hand along the coast. In the late 1700s, Maine introduced special boats, called smacks, with tanks with holes through which seawater could circulate, to transport live lobsters. The workers who operated these shellfish-friendly vessels were known as smacks. It was not until the mid-19th century that lobster trapping, also first practiced in Maine, became a more popular method of collecting sea animals.
– Dirt-cheap because they were so plentiful, lobsters were routinely fed to prisoners, apprentices, slaves and children during the colonial period and beyond. In Massachusetts, some officials allegedly tried to avoid lobster-heavy diets by stipulating in their contracts that shellfish would only be served to them twice a week.
– The first lobster pound was established in 1876 in Vinalhaven, Maine. There is still a thriving lobster fishery in the city.
In the 1880s, Lobster began to reduce some of its negative reputation and gain a following among discriminating guests, especially in Boston and New York City. Prices began to rise immediately.
– Since lobster was considered a delicacy at the beginning of the Second World War, it was not rationed. The booming war economy enabled wealthy crustaceans to consume it at unprecedented rates.
– American lobsters – or Maine lobsters, as they are commonly known – can weigh more than 40 pounds and can grow up to 3 feet long. The largest lobster ever was caught off Novia Scotia in 1988. It weighed 44 pounds and was 42 inches long. Scientists believe it was at least 100 years old – twice as long as the average lobster.
– The lobster, which has hardly changed in the last 100 million years, is known for its unusual anatomy. Its brain is located in its throat, its nervous system in its stomach, its teeth in its stomach and its kidneys in its head. It also hears with its legs and tastes with its feet. One of the few things that lobsters have in common with humans They tend to prefer a front limb, which means they can claw right or left.
– When lobsters are overcrowded in confined spaces like storage tanks, they tend to become cannibals. Vendors tie their claws tightly together to prevent them from feeding on their neighbors.
– Although lobster meat is considered a rich and decadent food, it contains fewer calories than an equal amount of skinless chicken breast. It also contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and vitamins E, B-12 and B-6.