As mentioned above, a stay in the freezer will put the lobster in a dormant state, making it easier and safer to handle.
Before you begin cooking any live lobster, please place the lobsters in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to kill the lobsters humanely. This puts a lobster to sleep before it actually dies. This way there is no way a lobster could feel pain. You may then take your lobster bands off the lobster before cooking.
Plunging them into boiling water, freezing them or 'drowning' them in fresh water are not humane.
Freezing Live Lobsters: Just Don't Do It
Safety aside, freezing and thawing lobster prior to cooking it will lead to enzymes leaching into the meat, resulting in a mushy, unappetizing texture.
Freeze lobster in the shell to help keep the meat from drying out. Simply wrap the whole lobster or lobster portions in moisture-vapor resistant wrapping and freeze. Lobster can be cooked and then frozen, but the quality will not be as good.
Change in texture, flavor and even color are all results of slow freezing lobster.
Add a 15 ounce can of evaporated milk and this will hold the texture and flavor for many months. The thawed contents can be used to make either lobster stew or the lobster newburg casserole on our recipe page-the liquid should also be used as much of the meat's flavor will have gone into it.
Lobsters can live up to 48 hours out of circulating salt water if they are properly refrigerated. Lobsters don't need to be jumping out of the box to be fresh and good eating. They should, however, be checked upon arrival. If they are not moving, it is best to cook them immediately.
What to do if your lobster dies. Should they die and you've kept them cold, you can still cook them. According to State of Maine food safety experts, dead lobster can be consumed safely up to 24 hours from time of death, if refrigerated properly at or below 38°F (the temperature of the average home refrigerator).
Lobsters and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by cooking. You therefore minimise the chance of food poisoning by cooking the lobster alive.
Contrary to claims made by seafood sellers, lobsters do feel pain, and they suffer immensely when they are cut, broiled, or boiled alive. Most scientists agree that a lobster's nervous system is quite sophisticated.
“Nope! A sound can emit from the shells of the lobsters — a high-pitched sound — but it's due to steam escaping through a fissure in the shell, not the lobsters 'screaming,'” she explained. This doesn't necessarily mean the cooking process is pain-free for the lobster.
Now you can use the knife to cut the string and then put the lobster in the pot, or cut it in half for more cooking. If you don't want to go through any of these steps, put the lobster in the pot of boiling water, which will kill it instantly. It's the easiest and fastest way to kill a lobster, but it will ripen.
Therefore before cooking, keep lobsters in the coldest part of your refrigerator. And to sedate or even dispatch a lobster, chill it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
To make sure, pick up the lobster - if the tail curls under the body, it's alive. This test is especially important with lobsters that have been stored on ice because they're so sluggish, it's sometimes hard to see movement.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
While rare, casualties will occur. The key is that the lobsters are cool. If the lobsters arrive cool, they are perfectly safe to cook and eat, regardless of whether they are alive or dead.
It's best to cook your lobsters the day they arrive, but they can be stored up to two days if needed. If you need to store them when they arrive, wrap the lobsters in damp paper and store with ice packs or in the refrigerator and keep them as cold as possible — but don't freeze them.
How long can a lobster live out of water? A lobster can live out of the water for a couple of days if kept in a moist and cool place. How can a lobster live so long out of water? A lobster can extract the oxygen from the air, but in order to do this its gills must be kept moist or they will collapse.
Fresh live lobsters can stay in your refrigerator one to two days. Keep them in the back, where the refrigerator is coldest. They must be kept alive until you cook them. Do not store live lobsters in any kind of water—it will kill them.
Frozen lobster tails don't necessarily have to be thawed before you cook them, however, the resulting lobster may not taste as good and will be a bit too firm. We recommend defrosting frozen lobster tails in the refrigerator overnight before cooking them to warm, buttery perfection.
Once the lobster is cooked (I personally prefer steaming), let it cool down for a few minutes, either with cold water, an ice bath or at room temperature. Remember that the lobster keeps cooking after being steamed, so I prefer to shock it with ice to stop the cooking immediately to prevent over-cooking.
Why Do People Cook Lobsters Alive? Boiling lobsters alive is a way to reduce the risk of food poisoning from bacteria that live in their flesh and that quickly multiply on their carcasses, according to Science Focus.
All participants comparing samples of fresh or previously frozen lobster meat were experienced consumers of fresh lobster, yet in sensory evaluation categories such as Interior Color, Flavor, and Texture: dry-moist; tender-tough, and mushy-fibrous, results were nearly identical.
Lobster should never smell bad, so if you're scrunching your nose up after a quick sniff, you're better off tossing the meat than eating it. Soft, cottage cheese-like consistency: If your lobster meat smells OK, that doesn't necessarily mean it's good to eat. Take it out of the bag and see how it feels.