It’s a shame to let good lobster meat go to waste, so if you thaw lobster tails and decide within a safe time frame that you do not want to eat them — pop them back in the freezer. Although freezing keeps lobster tails safe to eat for an indefinite period of time, quality begins to diminish within a month. The cycle of freezing and refreezing also affects quality, affecting the taste and texture of the lobster tails overtime.
Refreezing lobster tails is no problem as long as safe thawing practices are followed. While microwave and cold-water thawing — with a fresh water change every half hour — are both safe as long as the lobster is cooked immediately afterward, thawing lobster in the refrigerator allows you a few days leeway for cooking or refreezing. As long as the lobster tails thaw within refrigerator temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, refreezing is OK within two days.
Picked Tail Meat
Whether you are freezing cooked lobster meat for the first time or refreezing, don’t forget the brine. Brine-freezing inhibits moisture loss during freezer storage, resulting in pliable meat after the thaw. Remove the meat from the shell and place in an airtight container or freezer bag and cover with a cup of water and a full tablespoon of salt. There is no reason to add more brine to the meat when refreezing. Simply transfer the bag or container of lobster and brine from the refrigerator to the freezer within two days.
In the Shell
Place tail meat and shells in a freezer storage bag and press the bag with the palms of your hand to remove as much air as possible as you seal the bag. Place the original bag inside of another freezer bag or over-wrap with plastic wrap. If after thawing, you notice that air has entered the bag, remove the lobster tails from the original bag and place in a new bag and over-wrap before refreezing.
Never freeze lobsters alive. To prevent spoilage and avoid the risk of foodborne illness, always cook lobster while it is alive and fresh. If you have already done so, do not thaw, cook, eat or refreeze. Instead, remove the frozen lobster from the freezer and discard. To prevent foodborne illness, always cook live lobsters. If you are unable to fully cook a lobster before freezing, blanch it at 212 F in salt water, chilling for 15 to 20 minutes afterward in cold running water or a tub filled with half water and half ice. Remove the tails after chilling, wrap and freeze.
References and ResourcesU.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Safety
Jane Brody's Good Seafood Book; Jane E. Brody
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods; Michael T. Murray
Maine Lobster: Freezing Lobster
Economic Circular, Issues 1-74; United States. Bureau of Fisheries
Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative: Storing Live Lobster
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely