How To Pick Fresh Oysters

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Oysters are a vitamin and protein rich food that can be quite beneficial to a diet. While going to a restaurant and enjoying a plateful of oysters is a nice way to go about it, some like to enjoy their oysters from home. That means some knowledge is required. Selecting the best oysters is almost an art form, you really have to engage all your senses and put some work into it for the best outcome. Here are some tips for you to choose fresh oysters.


1) Conduct A Sniff Test

If it smells bad, chuck, don’t shuck! For oysters, smell is the first indication of freshness, and anything that smells rotten or putrid is a definite no-no. Oysters should have a scent like sea water, and not have a fishy smell at all. Anything that smells briny or sweet would be a good choice.

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2) Open Your Eyes

You’ll need to really be observant here. Experts suggest that you look for oysters with flat tops, and a curved bottom half. If the bottom half is deep, that’s a good sign as it indicates more room for meat and brine. If you come across an open shell, don’t bother with it. This probably means there is no brine and the meat is dry.

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3) Get Touchy Feely

Oysters should feel heavy, an indication that it is filled with brine and meat. Upon shucking, you should have a meaty interior that feels firm and plump. It’s also a good way to tell if your oyster is alive. If you touch it, it should close up.

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4) Use Your Ears

Listen hard. Really, all your senses are involved in the oyster selection process. For a quick test, knock on the oyster. If it sounds hollow, then put it down. That usually means the oyster is “dehydrated”.

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5) Cleanliness Matters

Clean oysters should be the first choice. If you see any with mud, grime or moss, that’s not a good sign. However, if you see one with barnacles, don’t be so quick to put them down. This isn’t usually a bad sign at all. Still, be sure to give them a good scrub before consuming. 

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6) Check for Liquor

No, not the alcoholic kind. The liquid contained within the oyster is called liquor, and rightfully so. It is very important as it keeps the oyster alive outside of the water. Get a good look at it, as it should not only taste fresh and flavourful but look clear.

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