Understanding Drained Weight

October 29, 2019

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In the market for frozen Maine Lobster? Before you buy, make sure you’re getting the best value from your supplier by asking about drained weight, a specification that has the potential to unlock additional value for frozen whole lobster, lobster tail, and lobster meat customers.

What is drained weight?

Drained weight refers to the total weight of usable lobster after the packaging and brine or glaze has been removed from the product.

While brine and glaze add weight, the two solutions have important jobs – protecting the quality and flavor of the product.

What is brine? 

Brine is a high-concentration solution of salt and water often added to lobster meat packages to preserve texture and flavor just prior to freezing.

What is glaze?

Glaze is a layer of water applied to the exterior shell of whole lobsters and tails during the freezing process to safeguard quality and flavor during long periods in cold storage.

How is drained weight calculated?

As a buyer of frozen Maine Lobster products, asking your supplier for their drained weight specification is especially important – the number gives you, the buyer, the ability to precisely calculate how much you’re paying per pound of thawed, ready to cook lobster. Typically, brine or glaze is added after the product is weighed, but confirm with your supplier to be sure.

Lobster Meat

Frozen lobster meat is typically shipped in a brine solution to ensure that the flavor and texture are as rich and delicate as they would be if enjoyed right out of the ocean. To determine drained weight, leave the product in its original packaging and thaw in a refrigerator for approximately 12 hours. Once thawed, open the package and pour the contents into a sieve. Let sit for a few minutes, then, using a food scale, weigh the meat remaining in the sieve. Compare that weight to the weight stated on the package to deduce the true price per pound of lobster received.

Whole Lobsters & Tails

Frozen whole lobsters and tails are typically shipped with a glaze coating which gives the product an additional layer of protection through the shipping and storing process, and helps defend against threats like freezer burn. To determine drained weight, thaw by submerging the product in its original packaging in cool water until a core meat temperature between 50-59°F is reached. Once thawed, open the packaging and transfer the product into a sieve. Let sit for a few minutes. The weight of the product remaining in the sieve is the drained weight.

Frozen tails with glaze (on the left); thawed, drained tails (on the right)
Frozen meat with brine (on the left); thawed, drained meat (on the right)

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