Oysters live in salty and brackish waters in chesapeake bay and usa where they can collect harmful bacteria, debris and dirt on their outer surface and even inside. That’s why it is super duper important for you to learn how to to buy, clean, and store oysters.
In our handy step-by-step guide we will show you right ways for buying oysters and the safe ways for storing and cleaning them.
How to buy oysters like a pro?
Just like buying fresh fish. all you need to do to make sure you buy fresh oyster is to look at the eyes! (The eyes chico, they never lie!).
One more thing you need to check is the raw oyster shell. Tap on it if it isn’t tightly closed, and if it closes then it’s still alive and breathing.
We always recommend getting your raw oyster from a fish market or a seafood supplier, not small supermarkets or mediators. and ask the supplier to open one in Infront of you.
A fresh oyster has a light mineral smell and is full of clear seawater. So if you ever smelled an unpleasant fishy odor coming from the shell, then you should probably see yourself out of that store!
Okay, there is one thing you need to know. The oyster brine is the secret of its good taste. and when suppliers store oysters in big tanks, all the flavor and the brine get washed off the raw oyster.
So here is a ground rule, storing raw oyster big tanks of water can result in contaminating them. and make them lose their quality and brilliant natural taste.
Make sure you stay away from cracked and broken oyster shells because those are signs that the oyster is dead.
Moreover, a good oyster should feel heavy in your hand as it contains brilliant seawater that maintains its briny and fantastic flavor.
How to clean your oysters?
Before you shuck oyster, it is super-duper important to clean it very well. As they are cultivated in salted water in the bottom of the sea, which is full of mud and debris.
Getting a clean oyster is such an effortless task. all you need to do is to follow these easy steps.
- Fresh oyster
- Tea towel\ damp towel
- Baking tray
- Toothbrush or steel wool
- A knife
- Before shucking the raw oyster, you need to scrub down all the debris, sand, or mud off very well. So, they do not sink up in them.
- Put them in a colander inside the sink and open cold running water on them.To keep them alive.
- Scrub the shellfish with a steel wool or a hard toothbrush. or you can simply use a tough tea towel.
- While scrubbing pay more attention to the hinge part where you will insert the shucking knife to open them in half.
- keep the clean oyster on a baking tray. and place them between two wet towels until you finish cleaning all of them. It is important to work as fast as possible, so they do not stay out of the fridge for a long time.
Check out this video to learn another cleaning method.
Like any kind of fresh shellfish, it is better to eat oysters immediately. but if you want to store them for a couple of days only, you can put them in the refrigerator.
And if you want to store them for a longer time, store them in the freezer. frozen oyster will still taste amazing anyways!
As live oysters are very delicate, and if not handled in the proper way, they can go bad or die.
How to safely store fresh oysters?
If you are planning for storing oysters for some time in the refrigerator, you better don’t clean them before storing. as leaving the dirt and sand on the surface will help them keep their moisture and protect the meat.
Here are different ways of storing oysters.
Storing in the refrigerator
- Get a bowl or a container with a removable lid or an open-top that you can store in the fridge. as putting oysters in a closed container will kill them.
- Pour some crushed ice into the bottom of the container. Then place them facing the ice.
- To maintain their oyster liquor inside the shell. You may need to change the crushed ice regularly.
- Lay a wet tea towel on the top of the oysters. (if you cannot spare a towel, you can use a damp newspaper)
- Adjust the temperature of your fridge to 2 and 4°C. and don’t place any meat above or under them. So, no juices drip down onto your shellfish.
- Check on them once a day to check that the damp towel did not dry out or the crushed ice needs changing.
We recommend consuming them within a couple of days after storing them in the fridge. because, the more you keep them stored in the fridge, the higher risk of food poisoning.
Once you are ready to eat them, place them out of the refrigerator and put them under cold water. then start opening them in a half shell to start checking for any signs that can say that they are no good.
And if you found that their shells got broken, damaged, or began to smell fishy, then the oysters are no good, and you need to throw them right away.
How to freeze oysters?
A lot of live oyster fans have this question in mind. They wonder if they can freeze oysters. Well, of course, you can! Just make sure you follow the right steps.
- Unlike storing oysters in the refrigerator. It would help if you rinsed out all the dirt and sand off them.
- Before storing them in the freezer, yet it would help if you kept them in their shells.
- As it helps preserve their taste and lessen any damage. Or prevents any bacteria from forming on the surface.
- However, if you do not have space in your freezer and cannot afford to place them intact.
- Then you can shuck oysters but keep their juices and liquor for later use.
Step 2: Place in a container
- Put them in a safe freezer bag or moisture-resistant container.
- However, if you are storing shucked shellfish, put them in a firm plastic box. Leaving less than 1 cm between each one, so they do not suffer from freezer burns.
Step 3: Save the oyster liquor
- If you are freezing shucked shellfish, preserve the juices and liquors you removed into a freezer-safe container.
Step 4: Regular check ups
- Regularly, check them. and remove any oyster that got damaged or cracked shell or pink and cloudy oyster meat.
Step 5: Defrosting
- Before using your oysters, pull them out and put them in the refrigerator.
- Depending on the fridge temperature. It might take a whole day for them to defrost.
- However, if you chose to defrost the oysters in freshwater, you must use them immediately, or they will go bad.
How to shuck an oyster?
- Protective gloves
- Tea towel
- Shucking Knife
- Put the protective glove on your non-dominant hand where you hold the oyster to prevent the shucking knife from slipping. and if you do not have a glove, you can use a clean kitchen towel.
- Check for the shell’s hinge, which is the meeting point between the top and the shell’s bottom. Then insert the shucking knife in the small scion between the top and bottom halves.
- Put the tip of your shucking oyster knife into the hinge and wiggle the blade in a rotating motion with your wrist back and forth.
- Slide the blade between the flat side of the shell and the oyster meat.
- Hold the oysters and slice the flat muscle part that is attaching the oyster to the outer shell.
- Try to prevent the oyster liquors from spilling out. So, you do not end up losing that excellent taste of the oyster meat.
- Place the shucked oyster meat on a crushed ice plate and consume them within two hours maximum to avoid any spoilage or food poisoning.
FAQs about How to Buy, Clean, and Store your Oysters?
Is it risky to eat raw oysters?
Actually, most oysters’ lovers believe that the best way to at them is raw with their juices and salty flavor. .However, consuming them has been a high risk lately because of the chances of carrying a deadly virus called the vibrio bacteria.
This virus is highly concentrated in the salty seawater. and the oyster meat can absorb a lot of it. So, when people eat any infected oysters, they can get vibriosis which can lead to death.
Even if you do not get vibriosis, there is still the chance of food poisoning and getting harmful bacteria.
Can we eat live oyster?
Of course we can! we should only consume live shellfish. As dead oyster can have harmful bacteria. That is why fish markets preserve it alive until it’s ready to be served and eaten with some hot sauce and emon wedges.