Oysters are enjoyed by a lot of people all over the world and a lot of them prefer eating them raw. Live oysters are now readily available for anyone who wants to try them as there are many oyster farms selling directly to consumers and they are also sold in supermarkets. With farm-to-table direct shipping, you do not even have to leave your home to get a fresh bag of oysters.
Once you’ve purchased fresh oysters, they need to be kept fresh and alive so that they can be consumed either raw or cooked.
In order to keep oysters fresh, they need to be stored in a tray covered with a damp towel and kept in the fridge at a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Oysters that are properly stored can be kept in the fridge for up to 7 days but, ideally, you’d want to consume them immediately for a fresher flavor.
In this article, we will not only be talking about how to store oysters in the fridge. We will also talk about what to look for when buying fresh oysters. We will also be talking about how to clean, prepare, and shuck oysters so make sure to read until the end!
When you are buying oysters, there are several factors that you want to look out for, especially when buying fresh oysters.
When buying oysters, you want to look for oysters that are tightly shut. A closed bivalve mollusk means that it is still alive and fresh.
Also, keep an eye out for broken, cracked, and open shells. If the oyster is slightly open, tap the shell lightly to see if it will clamp up. If it does not, the oyster is not fresh anymore and should be discarded.
Another thing that you can do to tell if a closed oyster is fresh is to knock on the shell gently. If it has a hollow sound the oyster is probably dead and you do not want it included in your bag of oysters.
A fresh oyster should be heavy for its size as it should have clear ocean water inside of it. Make sure the oysters smell like the ocean and do not have a strong fishy smell.
Keep in mind that oysters should have their harvest date in their tags. You should only buy fresh oysters that have been harvested on the most recent date from the day that you are buying them. This ensures that the oysters are freshly harvested.
Aside from fresh oysters, you can also buy oysters that are frozen or canned. But, if you are planning on eating raw oysters, you should only be buying fresh ones.
It is best to buy oysters directly through the oyster farmers. If you do not have access to these farms, oysters are also sold at the local market or grocery stores. Wherever you buy the oysters, make sure to check if they are fresh and harvested recently. If possible, handpick the oysters yourself to make sure you get fresh and live oysters.
How To Store Fresh Oysters
Once you’ve finally gotten your hands on fresh oysters, it is best to keep them fresh until you are ready to eat the oysters. Ideally, fresh oysters are best consumed within one to two days of purchase. Keep in mind that in-shell oysters have a shelf life of only up to five to seven days when stored properly.
To store fresh oysters in the fridge:
1. Do not shuck the oysters.
2. Prepare a baking tray that can fit inside your fridge.
3. Put the oysters deep-side down on the tray and cover the tray with a clean damp cloth. You do not want to put live oysters in an airtight container otherwise the oysters will die.
4. Put the tray in the fridge. The refrigerator’s temperature should be at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that the oysters stay fresh and alive.
How To Store Shucked Oysters
If you want to keep oysters longer in the refrigerator, storing shucked oysters in the fridge is an option. Shucked oysters that are properly stored can last in the fridge for 10 to 14 days from the day of purchase.
To store shucked oysters in the fridge:
1. Clean and scrub the oysters under running water to get rid of any dirt on the shell.
2. Shuck the oysters and make sure to save the natural juices of the oysters and pour the juices into a small bowl.
3. Place the shucked oysters and natural juices that you’ve saved in an airtight container. You can also put shucked oysters in a bowl and cover the bowl in plastic wrap.
3. Place the container inside the fridge. The temperature of your fridge should be around 35 degrees Fahrenheit
How To Store Live Oysters Overnight
Storing live oysters overnight has the same steps as how you would store fresh oysters. Put the live oysters deep-side down in a tray and cover them with a clean damp towel to keep them fresh before taking them out of the fridge the next day.
It is actually best to consume live oysters within a day or two after you’ve purchased them. Just make sure that the oysters are tightly shut and that there are no cracks or broken shells in the oysters. If you see any shells that are open and will not close when touched, it is best that you discard those as the oysters are already dead.
Dead oysters can contain bacteria and will likely make you sick or get shellfish poisoning if you consume raw oysters that are not fresh and already dead. It is even advised against cooking dead oysters as they can still make you sick.
Cleaning And Preparing Oysters
Before shucking the oysters, clean and scrub the shells gently under running water to get rid of any dirt, sand, or mud. Once the oysters are cleaned, they are ready to be shucked.
To shuck oysters, you will need an oyster knife or a shucking knife. This knife is used to pry the shells open and to cut the adductor muscles that keep the shell closed.
When shucking an oyster, you want to find the hinge of the shell and insert the knife in the hinge just enough without breaking through the oyster. Once the oyster knife is inserted, hold the oyster firmly and twist the knife gently until you hear a pop. Then, carefully drag your knife on the edge of the shell and cut through the muscle that’s attached to the shell and pry the shell open. Keep the oysters as flat as possible to avoid spilling the natural juices. Once you pry the shell open, the half-shell oyster is ready to be eaten.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Store Oysters In The Freezer?
Yes, you can store fresh oysters in the freezer. You transfer the oysters to a ziplock freezer bag before storing them in the freezer. Frozen oysters can last for months in the freezer if they are stored properly. Discard any shells that are open.
Can You Eat Oysters Raw After They Have Been Frozen?
No. Once you freeze oysters in-shell, it will kill them and you will risk food poisoning if you consume thawed oysters raw.
Whether you prefer to eat oysters raw or cooked, keeping them fresh and alive is very important. Keep fresh oysters on a tray covered with a clean damp towel and put them in the fridge at a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them fresh.
There are many important points that we have covered in this article and we hope these helped you. If you have any questions, do let us know!