What Do I Do With a Live Oyster?

Sonia - January 9, 2021

Fresh BC oysters are not only a delicious treat, they are incredibly nutritious, have a low environmental impact, come straight out of our local waters, and are easy to prepare with a little knowledge and the right tools. Plus, when you get them directly from the oyster grower and shuck or prepare them yourself, you’ll be paying at least half of what you’d pay in a restaurant!

Our oysters come to you directly from our growers Delia Becker and Scott Rempel from Powell River, BC. They grow, tend, and harvest their beach oysters in Teakern Arm near Castle Falls Provincial Park. Click here to read a blog post all about Delia and Scott and how we came to welcome them aboard our CSF!

Delia and Scott harvest their oysters just a few days before they are shipped to us making them the freshest oysters you’re likely to eat! (Industry standard has oysters out of the sea for 1-2 weeks before they reach the end consumer!) Once oysters are harvested, they continue to metabolize and so their flavour changes over time. For the very best flavour and quality, eat them within a few days of the pick-up. If the pick-up is on a Friday night, having them over the weekend will be great.

You don’t need to do much to take care of your oysters while you wait for your feast. Keep them in the fridge covered loosely with a wet towel. Do NOT put them in water nor on ice. If you put your oysters in water or melting ice, they will open up, use up the oxygen, and then quickly suffocate and die.

When it comes time to enjoy your oysters, give them one last look over. Scott and Delia will have carefully inspected the oysters before packing them up, but check again for any oysters that are open and don’t shut when you tap them. They should feel heavy, but if any feel light or hollow-sounding when tapped, they may have died.

Your oysters can be enjoyed raw on the half shell. You’ll need a sturdy, wide-blade shucking knife and some sort of hand protection. Shucking knives can be purchased at most kitchen stores, and even some hardware stores. Kevlar coated gloves are made for the purpose, but you can also use a towel. Insert the knife in the hinge and pop it. Then cut the adductor muscles on the top and bottom. Check out this great website “In a Half Shell” and the video on how to shuck oysters.

Enjoy your half shell oysters naked or try different toppings! Common ways to dress your half shell oysters are with lemon, cocktail sauce, and mignonette. “In a Half Shell” also lists some delicious suggestions including:

  • Freshly grated ginger, wasabi, lime juice, and a little oil.
  • a splash of vodka, a dab of creme fraiche, and caviar
  • BBQ sauce and bacon bits

Oysters are also wonderful cooked. One of the best methods is to cook them in the hot embers of an open fire! But if that option isn’t available to you, there are lots of great ways to cook them in your kitchen. Add a bit of water to the bottom of a pan and bring to the boil. Add the oysters and steam covered for about 10 minutes. The oysters will open up when they are done. If you will be serving our “ugly oysters,” they can be tough to shuck, so cooking them is a great way to have them open up on their own and pull out the creamy, delicious meat inside.

BBQing is another a great method of cooking your oysters, but be sure to cook them in a pan. The dripping saltwater will eventually damage your BBQ.

Jamie Oliver suggests nestling the oysters in a bed of rock salt in an oven proof pan, then cooking for 10 minutes in a very hot oven. Here’s a link to the method and the recipe!

Since oysters are so versatile to use in recipes, we hope you take us up on these BC delicacies! And if you have your own favourite method for preparing oysters at home, we’d love to hear from you!

Sonia - January 9, 2021

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What Do I Do With a Live Oyster?

Sonia - January 9, 2021

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