What to look for when purchasing oysters:
Look for oysters with a thick, tightly closed shell. Open shells indicate a dead oyster. Be sure the oysters have been properly tagged by the harvester. If you purchase from a store ask where the oysters come from and when they were delivered.
When and where to purchase oysters:
Look for local oysters being sold directly by the harvesters, like Fox Point Oysters, or a certified dealer. Fresh is always best.
In the past it was a good idea to purchased oysters only during the months with an 'R' in them. This is no longer the case as cultivation and farming methods have changed. In New England, the months of May, June, July and August (months without 'R') are the hotter months and oysters sitting in the sun can be problematic. Oysters also spawn in warmer months and send out larvae which can help replenish natural oyster beds. The oysters may be a bit thinner after spawning but they remain halthy and delicious!
If harvesting oysters yourself, be careful not to harvest oysters that have been sitting in the sun for any period of time. Fox Point Oysters works closely with the NH Department of Environmental Services, the NH Department of Health and Human Services and the NH Fish & Game Department to ensure proper care and maintenance of Fox Point farm as well as strictly regulated harvesting procedures that get the oysters from the bay to your belly safely in all weather conditions.
How to care for oysters after purchase:
It is best to get the oysters straight into a cooler or refrigerator directly after purchase. Place them in the refrigerator (preferably the crisper) on a plate with cup side down (to retain their juices) and cover gently with a slightly damp cloth. DO NOT seal the oysters during transport or storage. They need to breathe. DO NOT let them sit in water or ice that is melting. They can keep for about 5-7 days in the perfect refrigerated conditions, but best served fresh.
If an oyster shell is open, discard immediately.
If serving raw on the half shell, place the shell, cup side down, on a bed of crushed ice. Serve immediately once removed from the refrigerator or cooler.
Are oysters aphrodisiacs?
Well, they are raw, sexy, slick and feel nice sliding down the throat. Some say that makes a heck of an aphrodisiac! Some say they are high in zinc and a rare amino acid that trigger increased levels of sex hormones.
How to Shuck an Oyster
There are many oyster shucking guides out there. I have linked to a few below.
BBC Good Food
Oyster Shucking Video
Oyster care and Shucking video
Huffington Post Oyster Shucking Guide
Still don't want to shuck your own? Let me do the hard work with a CATERED RAW BAR. I'll bring oysters to your place and shuck em' for you. Contact Laura for pricing and details.