Oysters

Pacific Oysters: Photo Courtesy of Peter Gugerell CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • 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.

Buying Oysters

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. Eating raw shellfish from contaminated waters can make you sick.
  3. Buy oysters from reputable markets.

Season

They are at their best in late fall and winter.

Types of Oysters

  1. Oysters are found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Oysters come in many varieties and many are farmed in cultivated oyster beds.
  2. Eastern Oysters: produced in the Atlantic and include Lynnhavens, Bluepoints and Chinocoteagues. Eastern oysters, accounts for most of the American Oyster supply.
  3. Pacific Oysters: are produced in western waters. Most pacific oysters are marketed and graded by size rather than name.
  4. Olympia Oysters: tiny native western species, commercially harvested in Washington state.

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

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