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Dec 1, 2003 07:34 AM

Black liquid in Lobster, what was it?

  • m

The other night I bought 2 2.5 lbs live lobsters at Shop Rite. They steamed them at the store. We ate the claws and legs 1st, when I opened up the tails both had a black liquid running from the body into the tails. It smelled like the tamale. The meat also tasted like the tamale more then tail meat, so we didn't eat it. Any idea what was wrong with these lobsters? I've never seen anything like this in a lobster before. Do I run out and get tested for mercury poisoning!?

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  1. Sounds to me like the lobsters were a little undercooked; the tamale is black and runny before it is steamed....

    1. It sounds like there was a lot of tomalley (tamales are Mexican food), and maybe it wasn't cooked through. It ceratainly wasn't mercury.

      1. I agree that the substance was tomalley. It can be a blackish green, or an olive drab color, and shades in between. When the lobster is chilled it firms up a lot and it's a lot looser if the lobster is hot/warm. I sure hope you didn't throw it out!

        1. It was most likely the undeveloped roe, or coral, which is black naturally and only turns red when fully cooked - though it isn't really liquid, more jelly-like. The tomalley, or hepatopancreas, is not black in live lobsters and certainly does not run down into the tail, as the coral does. FYI, lobsters don't eat very far up on the food chain, so mercury wouldn't be a problem as it is for higher predators such as swordfish and tuna. Lobsters can accumulate substantial amounts of lipophilic organic contaminants such as PCBs, but they are mostly confined to the hepatopancreas (tomalley).

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