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Oct 10

Big mother shucker

Lobster processors shuck lobsters whole and (mostly) unbroken from their carapaces by immersing them in high-pressure water. Like, really high pressure. The pressure separates the meat from the shell cleanly. The lobsters are then dunked again, in even higher pressure – 87,000 pounds per square inch – to kill all the germs on them. (By comparison, the pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench is about 16,000 psi.)

According to Maine Lobster Promotion Council executive director Kristin Millar, John Hathaway is the only processor in the United States using this high-pressure water-immersion method for processing raw, fresh Gulf of Maine lobster. In fact, because other lobster processors freeze their processed product or cook it first, and because Hathaway puts his processed lobster through the high pressure process a second time, bringing the pressure up to 87,000 psi, which removes any lingering pathogens and bacteria after it’s been shucked, washed, weighed, and sealed, and, without using heat, extends its shelf life to an astonishing 30 days. Millar said, “To my knowledge, he’s the only processor of raw, fresh lobster meat in the world.”

Bonus link: David Foster Wallace’s highly readable article on the Maine Lobster Festival.

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