Although there is a popular belief that oysters should only be eaten in months with names that contain an  ” r “, this is not entirely true. Due to advanced methods of food preservation, they are available ( and delicious ) year-round.

Oysters may be bought in the shell, fresh or frozen, shucked, or canned. Oysters in the shell are generally sold by the dozen. The shells of the oyster should be tightly closed, indicating that the oysters are alive. Gaping shells that do not close when handled are evidence that the oysters within are dead and therefore not safe for use. Shell oysters should be kept refrigerated at about 40 degrees for no longer than 20 days.

Shucked oysters are oysters which have been removed from the shell and which are generally sold by the pint or quart. These should be plump, creamy-colored with a clear liquid, and free from shell particles. The containers of the shucked oysters should be refrigerated or surrounded by ice. When properly handled, they will remain fresh for a week to 10 days.

The amount of oysters to be purchased depends on their use. For 6 people, allow at least 3 dozen shell oysters, 1 quart of shucked oysters, or 2 (7 1/2-ounce) cans.

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