Oysters are one of nature’s best kept secrets but are among the favorite starters and yes…a proven aphrodisiac too. They are prolific bivalves, but shucking them and eating them may not be the easiest of tricks.
One may need a little practice before mastering the art of shucking or opening an oyster.
Let us start at the beginning. Fresh oysters will always be closed. If the shell is open, tap on it to see if it slams shut.
If not, you don’t need it. Oysters should never be stored in water.
Place them on crushed ice or in the refrigerator. They can keep for a week if stored properly.
Don’t shut them in a closed container; just cover them with a cloth as they need to breathe.
When you are ready to use them clean them under cold water, if the need be scrub lightly to get rid of any dirt or barnacles.
Use an oyster knife to shuck the oysters. Remember to wear an oven mitt to protect your hands.
Hold the oyster, hinge side away. Insert the tip of the knife about ½ an inch, through the hinge, run it along the opening and slowly open the shell. Run it across the upper shell to loosen muscle and then under the oyster’s body to free it.
Discard the upper shell; retain the sea juice as it is part of the oyster eating experience. Serve within 10-15 minutes of opening the shell.
The oysters may be served on crushed ice or on a bed of salt/seaweed. It helps to keep the oysters from tipping and losing any juice. Oysters can be served with lemon wedges, shallot vinaigrette, Tabasco, Worcestershire or Horseradish sauce.
For the woozy ones, oysters are no longer alive by the time you relish them as the exposure to oxygen kills them almost instantly.