Buying and Storing Live Oysters

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How do I buy and store live oysters?

Buying and Storing Live Oysters

Here are some tips to help you when buying and storing fresh live oysters:

Is it alive? When buying fresh live oysters, be certain that the shell is closed. If the shell is slightly opened, if you gently tap on it and it closes, the oyster is alive. If the shell does not close, it is dead and you should discard (throw it away) immediately.

Shell. Look to see that the shell of the oyster is not cracked. It should not be slimy but moist. One of the shells should be what is known as "well cupped." In other words, the fresh oyster will be on/in one side of the shell. The other shell side will be empty.

Meat/flesh. When you crack open the shell (also known as 'shucking'), the fresh oyster meat should be covered with its own liquid. This liquid needs to be either slightly milky or a light gray color, or clear in nature. The flesh should also be plump in appearance. Also look to see that the flesh does not have any grit or shell bits in it.

Storing. Once you have purchased your fresh live oysters you will probably need to store them until you use them. The shelf life of a freshly shucked oyster is five to seven days. Storing live oysters involves a little more time. Fresh oysters in the shell can be stored for seven to ten days.

Store shucked fresh oysters in a plastic container, leak-proof bag, or covered jar. Oysters in the shell should be stored in a shallow dish covered with towels. Do not ever store live oysters in water or air-tight container since that will kill them. If you notice that the shell has opened a bit, tap on it. If it closes, the oyster is still alive.



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