Opening an Oyster

Opening an Oyster—Click picture for photo credits

Oysters can be served cooked or eaten raw. To open oysters, if you will be eating it raw, slide an oyster knife between the shells near the hinge. Do not use a regular kitchen knife. A slip could cause a serious injury. Twist the knife back and forth until it opens, you might here a mild pop when the natural seal is broken. Insert the knife into the oyster and cut the muscle that holds it together. This can be dangerous if you are inexperienced so use heavy gloves or a heavy rag to hold the oyster. Not only is there the danger of slipping with the knife, but the shell can also be very sharp. If you will be cooking the oyster, simply put it in a steamer or a microwave until it opens. Pull them out as soon as they open so you don’t cook them.


After you shuck the oysters, refrigerate them and use them within 2 days. If you buy the shucked ones they should have an expiration date on them. Do not freeze cooked or in the shell oysters. Shucked, raw oysters can be frozen for up to 2 months. Live oysters have a long shelf life. If stored properly they can be kept alive for 3 to 4 weeks. Store them in a bowl covered with a damp rag. Do not put them in a plastic bag. They need air to breath. Do not eat oysters that are dead. If the shell is open squeeze it shut. If it stays shut the oyster is alive. The oyster must be capable of closing its shell and keeping it closed. You can also try rapping two oysters together. They should have a dull thud, not a hollow sound and should feel fairly heavy. Oysters can be baked, broiled, pan fried, sautéed, steamed, grilled or eaten raw.

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