We see A LOT of oyster boats in my town. We live right on the Gulf of Mexico and are lucky enough to have them in abundance. I am asked so many questions by my family back home - what do Oysters taste like? How to eat raw oysters? Are oysters good for you.
The list goes on, so I decided to dedicate a post just to this topic and include a recipe showing how to eat them too.
I'm going to cover a few areas, as well as how to serve them. I plan on making this post full of information about this delicious crustacean. See below areas I'll cover:
- ❓ What Are Oysters?
- 🔎 Where can I get them
- ❤️ Are Oysters an Aphrodisiac?
- 🩺 Are Oysters Good For You?
- 🌱 Are Oysters Vegan?
- 🦪 Are Oysters Alive and Do They Feel Pain?
- 🍽 How To Eat Raw Oysters
- 🧅 Ingredients
- 🥣 Instructions
- 🔄 Substitutions and Variations
- 🔌 Equipment
- 🧊 Storage
- 🦪 Other Great Oyster Recipes
- 👩🍳 FAQs
- Fresh Oysters
- 💬 Comments
❓ What Are Oysters?
An oyster is a bi-valve mollusc that is found in marine or brackish (mixture of salt and fresh) water.
They have been cultivated since Roman times and are a fantastic source of protein. They sometimes produce pearls, but we have learned how to farm these now - making them less valuable.
Oysters are effective filter feeders which means they remove the plankton and organic particles from the water. Oyster reefs (or oyster beds) significantly improve the surrounding water quality because of this.
🔎 Where can I get them
If you're not sure if you can get them near you, just pull up google on your smart phone and punch in "raw oysters near me" - you will have all the nearest places to find fresh oysters.
Usually the way oysters are sold, is in a bushel (like a sack), with approximately 100 oysters in there. there will also be shucked oysters sold in pints and quart sizes.
❤️ Are Oysters an Aphrodisiac?
Oysters on the half shell are so simple and healthy, and yes, they're also known for their aphrodisiac qualities.
In fact, Casanova (the Italian author) was known to eat dozens for breakfast every morning due to their stimulating properties.
Oysters have been considered a natural aphrodisiac for hundreds of years.
🩺 Are Oysters Good For You?
Raw oysters are exceptionally good for you. They're full of nutrients and vitamins that are especially good for older women. They slow down bone loss and improve cognitive decline.
They're low in calories yet high in nutrients. It makes them a super-food.
The vitamin B12 in an oyster aids in brain health and they're also full of copper, zinc, manganeze and Vitamin D which is great for an array of health benefits.
Of course, there comes a risk - eating raw oysters does have a food poisoning potential when a harmful bacteria is present. Make sure you know where your oysters come from and that they're as fresh as can be. You don't want to eat bad oysters, trust me.
🌱 Are Oysters Vegan?
This is a subject that has led to much discussion. Basically though, the oyster is a bi-valve creature so in reality - an animal.
So no, oysters (nor pearls) are not considered vegan.
🦪 Are Oysters Alive and Do They Feel Pain?
Oysters are alive up until they are shucked. This ensures they are totally fresh when consumed.
They have a small heart and internal organs, but they lack a central nervous system which means they do not feel pain. For this reason, a lot of vegetarians consider it ok to eat oysters.
🍽 How To Eat Raw Oysters
It used to be said (back in the early 20th century) that you could only eat oysters during months that end in R.
It's somewhat true if you live in the northern hemisphere. It's more likely for an oyster to spoil during those summer months of May, June, July and August. This is where that belief came from and our oyster season.
- When shucking an oyster try not to lose the juice that could be inside. This is called oyster liquor and is usually delicious.
- After you have split the shell, begin by loosening the oyster. Use the little fork that would be provided and separate the oyster from the shell.
- Take in the oyster and chew. Chewing the oyster releases a lot of the flavors - drink the oyster liquor too, it will compliment the overall flavor.
- Once you have done this a few times and want to try adding some other flavors, some favorites are horseradish, cocktail sauce and hot sauce. Remove the oyster and place on a cracker - or simply pour the sauce into the shell with the oyster (like below):
Following is some preparation instructions for serving oysters at home;
- Oysters on the half shell
- Cocktail Sauce
- Horseradish Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Lemon wedges
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities.
- Step One: Using an Oyster shucking knife pry open each oyster and immediately put that half oyster shell (with the oyster in it onto a tray filled with ice.
- Step Two: Repeat above until there are 12 oysters on half shells on the tray. This is a serving for one person.
- Step Three: On that same tray scatter some lemon wedges and place a small dip bowl of horseradish and cocktail sauce. The hot sauce should be made available on the table, along with the crackers.
- Step Four: Repeat above steps until you have covered the amount of people you will be shucking for.
🔄 Substitutions and Variations
A lot of people like an oyster with just hot sauce. Or just horseradish. Personally I like the flavor of using both, along with some cocktail sauce and some lemon juice! Yum. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it...
Different oysters have different flavors. A salty flavor is desired. Oyster meat can be eaten in a variety of ways.
After a short survey of a few buddies it seems the favorite oyster shucker (at least in these parts) is the Dexter Russell - see image below;
The oyster shucker is a shorter blade but it's very strong, to endure the twisting and prying involved in shucking an oyster. This type of blade allows the oyster shucker to pry open the 'bivalve' opening the hinges. Sometimes the blades have beveled sides to get better leverage.
Always make sure to keep your oysters on a bed of ice. This is extremely important as oysters can make you very sick if they are not cared for correctly.
Opened in the refrigerator they will last up to 7 days. They will absorb any fluid/flavors etc that they are put into though so bear that in mind.
On ice and live, they will be good for 5-7 days. Make sure to keep them iced though.
🦪 Other Great Oyster Recipes
A bushel is a unit of measurement, but basically it's a sack with approximately 100 oysters.
It's basically like it sounds. It's a business that breeds and raises oysters, mainly for their shell, meat and pearls.
A restaurant/bar that specialize in preparing oysters.
It's to do with the salinity of the water they are grown in. Salt levels vary from location to location.
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As good as an Oyster Bar, eating fresh oysters at home is easy and delicious. Get your oyster shucker and get those oysters on the half shell and onto some ice, eat right away with some delicious cocktail sauce, horseradish, hot sauce and lemon juice... on a cracker is best.
- Bushel of Fresh Raw Oysters
- Cocktail Sauce
- Horseradish Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Lemon Wedges
- Using an Oyster shucking knife pry open each oyster and immediately put that half shell (with the oyster in it onto a tray filled with ice.
- Repeat above until there are 12 oysters on half shells on the tray. This is a serving for one person.
- On that same tray scatter some lemon wedges and place a small dip bowl of horseradish and cocktail sauce. The hot sauce should be made available on the table, along with the crackers.
- Repeat above steps until you have covered the amount of people you will be shucking for.
A bushel of oysters (usually has 100 oysters). If it is only you, or two of you it may be worth buying the oysters that are already shucked. They won't be as pretty in a shell, but it'll be a little cheaper and less work.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 82Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 20mgSodium 338mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 2g
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