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Oysters: Raw or Cooked? 8 Essential Tips About Oysters

  • Article Author: Salvatore Cesareo
  •  

Oysters: Raw or Cooked? 8 Essential Tips About Oysters

oysters

Salvatore Cesareo Salvatore Cesareo Profile

 

Going out on a date and wonder if oysters are it and more? A team of American and Italian researchers found out that the high concentration of amino acids present in the oysters flesh triggers an increased level of sex hormones, and their high level of zinc helps the production of testosterone.
So, there you have it! It’s time to pile up a dozen or two of nice fresh oysters for the next romantic dinner.

 

But first let me give you 8 Essential Tips About Oysters

 

1. What is an oyster?

 

Oysters are bivalve molluscs which live in marine habitat. Oysters are commonly consumed cooked or raw and are considered to be aphrodisiacs. The edible oysters belong to the family of so called True Oysters and are not closely related to the Pearl Oysters.

 

2. Wild Vs. Farmed

 

Wild:

 

Oysters can be harvested in very shallow waters by hand. When in deeper waters long rakes or oyster tongs are used to reach them. In either way the prestige is the same: the oysterman scrapes the oysters into a pile and then scoops them out.
The use of scallop dredge (a toothed bar attached to a chain bag) towed through the oyster bed by a boat is in some areas still permitted even though represents an environmental problem for the beds. Wild oysters can obviously be collected directly by divers.
Once the oysters are collected, they are sorted to eliminate dead animals, and debris. Then they are taken to market where they are either canned or sold live.

 

Farmed:

 

Oysters have been cultured since the Romans’ time. Two are the methods commonly used:

 

  • • Release: The release technique involves distributing oyster spat over existing oyster beds. This allows them to mature in a natural way and later be collected like wild oysters.
  • • Bagging: The bagging technique involves putting oyster spat in racks or bags and having them above the bottom until harvest. Then they get lifted to the surface and the mature ones get removed.

 

In both cases oysters are cultivated onshore when they can attach themselves to a surface. Here they are allowed to mature in the water to form seed oysters.

 

3. Oysters as food:

 

Many evidence show that oysters were considered food by humans since prehistoric times. In fact, oysters have been an important food source all around coastal areas where they could be easily found.
They have been harvested and commercialized since Romans’ times, who believed them to have aphrodisiacal powers. In the19th century, in the United States oysters were considered street food and sold at the market stands in New York and even given away at San Francisco saloons during the Gold Rush.
Unregulated harvesting, consumption and overfishing almost cause the oysters to become extinct in the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Today, oystermen are more aware of the long terms impact of harvesting in the coastal flats and reefs where the oysters grow allowing the oyster beds to replenish.

 

4. Why are so popular?

 

Oysters’ relative scarcity, the challenge to transport them live and the high demand in the food market dictate the price we ultimately pay for these shellfish. It is estimated that in the United States of America we consume 2.5 billion oysters a year and it is no surprise to pay $2 to $3 dollars for each oyster at the restaurant.
But, what makes them so popular? In brief: the taste. Oysters can be very salty or sweet, with notes of cucumber, melon, herbs, butter, flint, or copper, all depending on the water in which they grew.

 

5. Oysters' nutrition facts:

 

Many people would agree that oysters are best raw and eaten from the shell. Oysters are a good source of zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 and for those who count calories the good news is that they are low in calories; one dozen raw oysters contain approximately 110.

 

6. How to properly store oysters:

 

While oysters can live up to two weeks their taste becomes less pleasant as they age. Oysters should always be refrigerated out of water, and in 100% humidity. If oysters are left in water in the refrigerator they will open, start “breathing” and consume the available oxygen and ultimately die.

 

7. How to eat oysters: raw or cooked:

 

Oysters must be eaten alive, or cooked alive never dead. An open shell is a sign of a dead oyster and cannot be eaten. If the oyster is cooked live the heat will cause the shell to open by itself. To taste the full flavor and savor oysters at their best, oysters should be eaten raw on the half shell, however they are also consumed smoked, baked, fried, roasted, pickled, steamed and broiled.
Because oysters act as natural filter, they will feed on anything present in the surrounding water, therefore can contain harmful bacteria.

 

8. Opening an oyster (shucking technique) requires:

 

  • a. A special knife (called oyster knife); a short and thick blade about 5 centimeters (2.0 in) long is needed to open oysters.
  • b. Heavy gloves; the shell can be razor sharp.
  • c. Skills

 

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