Follow these quick tips for buying the freshest lobsters and crabs―and keeping them that way at home.
Buying shellfish alive is the best guarantee of freshness. Look for moving legs, claws, antennae, and, in the case of lobster, a flipping tail.
Stone crabs and king crabs are usually sold cooked―sometimes frozen, sometimes thawed. A live-cooked lobster will have a tail that curls back with a snap. These are all best served cold, since reheating toughens the meat.
You can keep live lobsters and crabs chilled and moist (covered with water-soaked newspaper) in the refrigerator for up to one day.
Plan on one one- to two-pound lobster or four to six hard-shell crabs per person.