- Oysters are plump and mineral rich bivalves, found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.
- Flavours range from bland to salty.
- Oysters are sold live in the shell or shucked (removed from their shells), and in jars and cans.
- Nutritionally they are rich in zinc and iron, protein, and plenty of other minerals. They have almost no fat. A dozen regular sized oysters will have about 70 Cals.
- Ensure shells are tightly shut and the oyster is still alive.
- If the shell is partly open, tap it. If the oysters is still alive it will close its shell.
- Fresh oysters smell nice and briny like the ocean.
- A fresh oyster should be plump, have a natural creamy grey colour with a clear liquid surrounding it.
- Avoid those with strong fishy smells.
- Store up to one week in fridge in an open container covered with damp cloth.
Preparation and Serving
- Before shucking oysters (removing from shell) wash and scrub the outer shell.
- They can be eaten raw or barely cooked.
- They can also be steamed, baked or grilled.
- Serve oysters on half shell, on ice.
- Oysters make refreshing appetizers that can be topped with lemon juice and other sauces and paired with a glass of white wine or champagne.
Here is my favourite you tube video on “How to shuck oysters”
Important Points to Note
- Clams and Oysters filter 55-75 litres of water per day and those that live in polluted waters can concentrate pathogens that can make you sick. They can also concentrate undesirable minerals.
- Eating raw shellfish from contaminated waters can make you sick.
- Buy oysters from reputable markets.
They are at their best in late fall and winter.
Types of Oysters
- Oysters are found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Oysters come in many varieties and many are farmed in cultivated oyster beds.
- Eastern Oysters: produced in the Atlantic and include Lynnhavens, Bluepoints and Chinocoteagues. Eastern oysters, accounts for most of the American Oyster supply.
- Pacific Oysters: are produced in western waters. Most pacific oysters are marketed and graded by size rather than name.
- Olympia Oysters: tiny native western species, commercially harvested in Washington state.