Pressure Prepares Lobsters for Long-Distance Delivery

A novel technology increases the global appeal of New England lobsters.

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A more traditional method of preparing lobster meat for transportation — blanching — remains popular. "You boil or steam the lobster to cook it for about 2 minutes rather than 12 or 13," LaCroix explained. "This kills the lobster and allows you to extract the meat [without cooking it completely]."

Hard-shell lobsters are often shipped live, in cardboard or plastic boxes kept damp with, for example, wet newspaper. Sometimes during particularly long journeys, LaCroix said, "There are stopping points halfway where the lobsters can be put into water to recover." But not surprisingly, she added, "Mortality is higher on the way to Asia than to New York."

Hathaway learned about the pressurized water technology in 2005, when he ran a traditional lobster shack in Kennebunkport, Maine.

"I knew that it meant an opportunity to get into the Maine lobster business," Hathaway recalled. "I bought the machine, found a place to put it, but had no idea what to do with it."

That indecision didn't last long. Winning a prize for his raw lobster meat at the European Food Exposition in Brussels, Belgium in 2007 convinced Hathaway of the value of his technology.

"And each year since then,” Hathaway said, "we have grown considerably."