Getting live lobsters shipped to you is a little more involved than you might expect at first. There’s a lot to keep track of, from placing the order and scheduling the shipment to storing the lobster before cooking.
Not to worry, we’ve outlined a few of your key responsibilities as a customer to ensure your meal is as fresh and delicious as possible. Read our tips for having live lobster shipped to your home, and you’ll feel like a lobster connoisseur in no time.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship Live Lobster?
The cost of getting live lobsters shipped to you can vary wildly, so shop around before making your purchase. Some companies will cover shipping if you order a certain number of lobsters, while others have flat fees and graduated shipping levels. Most companies have a description of their shopping process and policies on their website.
Shipping prices reflect the size and number of lobster you order. Factor in shipping prices to your overall budget, and be sure to add the lobster shipping costs with the price per pound to make a true cost comparison among different Maine lobster companies.
Can You Ship Live Lobster In The Mail?
Yes, you can have live lobster shipped in the mail to your house. The seafood industry has shipping standards that allows for the safe transport of living animals. In fact, ordering seafood, like lobster, online is a great way to guarantee freshness. When you go to the grocery store or fish market, there’s no way to tell how long the lobsters have been there.
So, how are live lobsters shipped? In order to keep lobsters alive and healthy during shipment, companies take several precautions:
- All lobsters are shipped overnight. If you schedule an order on Monday for Thursday, that order will head out on Wednesday.
- Workers pack lobsters in Styrofoam coolers with cooling agents, like gel packs or ice.
- You are often able to schedule the time of delivery. Read more about this below. Hopefully, you are there to accept the lobster and put it directly into the refrigerator. If not, delivery companies try to place the package in a shady area.
How Long Do Shipped Live Lobsters Last?
Check on your lobsters as soon as they arrive to make sure they all survived the trip. While the cold shipping container might prevent them from moving around, you should be able to tell if they are alive by smell and touch:
- Pick up each lobster by the large shell behind its head. If the lobster smells fishy or is warm to the touch, it may be dead.
- Observe the lobster for a few moments to see if there is any movement; even the slightest tail flex or leg shake is an indication of life.
If you think your shipment is suspect, check out our guide to assessing and reporting a dead lobster delivery.
Can You Transport Live Lobster?
The lobster will arrive at your house alive. Keeping your lobsters alive once they arrive at your door is crucial to a safe, delicious meal.
If you need to transport lobsters to another location, you may store them in a cooler:
- Pack the lobsters snugly with wet newspaper and frozen gel packs. You may use bags of ice instead of gel packs.
- Make sure to pack the cooler so that the live lobsters will never sit in pools of water, as exposure to water can cause suffocation and death.
If you do not need to transport lobsters to another location, we recommend storing them in your refrigerator:
- Wrap the lobsters in wet newspapers.
- Store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
- Try to cook them the day they arrive. You can safely store lobsters in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 24 hours.
Scheduling The Shipment
While these live lobster delivery companies will take care of the packaging and shipping process, you need to do some planning before scheduling the order. In deciding when to have your lobsters delivered, consider the following:
- How far away from Maine do you live? While most lobster companies guarantee next-day delivery, the distance may inform when during the day your shipment is delivered.
- When are you planning to cook the lobsters? Ideally, your package should arrive on the day you want to prepare the food.
If you can’t be home, leave a note or indicate in your order where the delivery person should place the package.
How to Prepare for Your Shipment
While it may sound silly, you’ll want to check that you have everything you need to store and cook your lobster before they arrive. The quality of the lobster meat starts to decline pretty much immediately after the lobster dies. Clear a space in your refrigerator.
Consider how you will prepare the lobster. If you decide to boil or steam them, make sure to have a pot and steamer basket large enough to accommodate whatever size lobster you have ordered. Some people also like to have seafood tools, like a lobster cracker and seafood fork, to help them eat lobster. A clean-up plan, like a paper tablecloth or several newspapers, is the last preparation step for your lobster shipment.
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