I made lobster stock last night. It's a disturbing shade of green. Suggestions? Concerns? It still needs to be reduced by half or more.

  • Posted by: SusanKP
  • August 22, 2014


SKK August 22, 2014
Yes, the tomalley leaves a bitter taste. And I appreciate the science behind the answers.
Susan W. August 22, 2014
I agree with Greenstuff. Information and situations change all the time. Weigh the information and make a decision.

Voted the Best Reply!

HalfPint August 22, 2014
Sounds like you got some of the tomalley (which is the pseudo-liver of the lobster). It's has long been considered a delicacy, sometimes called lobster pate (which also includes the roe). I like it, but then I like liver.

Ok, the bad news. In 2008, the FDA warned against eating the tomalley citing dangerous levels of PSP toxin. The meat itself is safe to eat, but not the tomalley. I've never gotten sick from eating the tomalley, but then there really isn't a lot of it per any given lobster. But since you will have to reduce the stock by half, you would be concentrating the tomalley and possible the toxin. I would start over and make sure you are only using the shell, legs, and no tomalley (it's greyish green blob that is found in the head. This warning was issued for all lobster caught on the Eastern US shores. http://maine-lobster.com/lobster-tomalley-green-stuff

Sorry, not the news that you wanted, but best to be safe.
SusanKP August 22, 2014
I did toss the whole bodies in there. I was thinking along the lines of fish stock where you use the heads. Oh, well. I appreciate your quick reply. Next time I have lobster, I will know better. Thanks!
Greenstuff August 22, 2014
Gotta clear something up! PSP in 2008 does not mean that there's a problem in 2014. The FDA's statement with that advisory noted that the advisory was related to specific episode of what's called red tide.

In northern New England and eastern Canada, in some years, a specific kind of plankon, Alexandrium fundyense, sometimes blooms in such significant numbers that there's enough PSP toxin to cause problems. That's known in New England as a red tide, and when they occur, it's in the spring and early summer. In other areas, there are other algal blooms called red tides.

PSP stands for paralytic shellfish poisoning, so you know it's not something you want to fool around with. But red tides, when they occur in New England, mostly result in warnings not to eat clams and mussels from specific locations. The 2008 tomalley warning was a bit unusual. Those warnings were just for that bloom in that year.

That said, there are good reasons not to eat tomalley, at least not to eat a lot of it. Tomalley is essentially the lobster's liver, and chemical contaminants tend to accumulate there more than in the meat. I do occasionally eat tomalley, but I wouldn't make a steady diet of it.

In the broth--I think you're more likely to get a green broth if you boiled your broth at high heat. Besides being green, lobster broths can sometimes taste bitter or otherwise not so great. That could well be the case here, and reducing it further isn't likely to make it any better.

Sorry for the long answer, hope it's not too filled with typos and confusions.
HalfPint August 22, 2014
@Chris, what a relief! I couldn't find any updates on the warning for 2014 and the info is out there like it's still valid. Next to the meat, the tomalley and the roe are the best part of the lobster.
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