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Lobster is expensive! So why do most people so quickly throw out the shells? These bits of exoskeleton can easily make a quart or more of luxuriously rich lobster stock.
We don’t think twice about making bone broth with parts of the skeleton of vertebrates. So why not make it with the exoskeletons of invertebrates?
Such a practice is in accordance with the spirit of frugality and using the whole animal as demonstrated by ancestral societies. Broth from lobster, prawn, crab, shrimp or crayfish are commonly found in ethnic cuisines from around the world.
Yet such a practice is frequently overlooked in my experience coaching those pursuing the benefits of traditional diet in lieu of the ever-changing conventional dietary mumbo-jumbo.
Homemade Lobster Stock
Stock made from leftover lobster shells is the perfect base for all of your gourmet seafood soup recipes. I find it mind boggling that many lobster bisque recipes use clam juice and chicken stock as the base instead of … wait for it … actual lobster stock! Just goes to show that even chefs sometimes don’t consider it!
Besides the perfect soup base for dishes such as conch chowder, lobster stock is delicious on its own too. Lightly season for a satisfying cup of sippin’ broth.
So the next time lobster tails go on sale at your local fish market, remember to make a pot of lobster broth with the shells leftover from your gourmet dinner!
Note that only one pot of lobster broth should be made with leftover shells. Unlike the bones of land-based vertebrates which are dense and suitable for remouillage, crustacean shells are more delicate and not ideal for reuse.
After making your lobster stock, you can add the shells to the compost bin to complete the cycle of your Real Food investment. Since they are high in calcium, they will break down in a manner much like eggshells. To speed the process, it is best to grind or crush them first.
Traditional Lobster Stock Recipe
Easy recipe for lobster stock made with leftover shells that most people would discard. Makes one quart of luxurious broth that makes the perfect base for seafood soups or just a cup to sip.
- 3-4 lobster tail shells or shells from 2 whole lobsters
- 1 onion coarsely chopped, preferably organic
- 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
- filtered water
Place lobster shells in a stockpot (ideally not a stainless steel pot to eliminate possibility of heavy metal leeching) and cover with filtered water. Add chopped onion and white wine vinegar.
Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that comes to the top.
Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and continue cooking for 3 hours.
Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain into a glass mason jar and refrigerate. Lobster broth will be good for about 3-4 days. Freeze it if you will not use it within that time.
You may substitute leftover shells from a crayfish boil as desired. Crawfish look like little lobsters anyway, don't they?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
You are so right! I have never cooked lobster at home, but I surely wouldn’t have thought to use it this way, which makes it so much more worth the price! Thanks for sharing.
My mouth is watering just looking at that picture. I love all things lobster!