There is definitely an art to eating oysters. First you have to know how to prepare them. Keep your fresh oysters cool (over ice or in the fridge) until you are ready to eat them. Then wash them with cold water. To shuck an oyster, place the tip of your oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster shell. Then wiggle your knife enough to work it inside. Once you are in, run the knife through the oyster shells to split the membrane holding the shells together. Finally, while being careful not to spill the delicious, salty juice from inside, twist your knife to break the shells apart.
For an oyster that sits loosely on its shell – just ripe for slurping – simply use a fork to detach it. Lots of people like to squeeze a little lemon juice or maybe even cocktail sauce on their oysters before doing the dead, but traditionalists who love the taste of oysters tend to favor them straight-up.
Place the wider, flatter part of the shell near your mouth, tip it in and slurp away! If you are more the Miss Manners type, feel free to use your fork instead. You can swallow it whole or give it a light chew, depending on what you prefer. Grilled or lightly breaded, pan-fried oysters can be delicious too!
Never eat your oyster if it smells bad or strong or if it has a thin, clear look about it. Oysters should be meaty, opaque and smell like the ocean. If your oyster is open, that means it is dead, so don’t eat those either. Your oysters may open just a bit. You can tell these are still alive if they close when you tap them. Chilly oysters, fresh from the refrigerator may be slow to react, so give them a chance to warm up a little before giving them the tap test.
Also only eat oysters in the months with an “R”. This would be the summer months of May, June, July and August. They are the best for oyster consumption and the time off also gives oysters a chance to grow and replenish before the next harvest.
Plus, don’t forget that Perrine’s Produce offers an amazing selection of seafood!