Louisiana Gulf Oysters are some of the tastiest oysters you'll
find. Gulf oysters tend to be a perfect size and taste for every
oyster recipe. The following information will clear up some
misconceptions and help you to use oysters properly.
The "R" Months
The "R" Months, September through December, are
supposed to be the best months for oysters. The roots of this belief
are unknown and were most likely related to cool weather. Oysters
must be kept cool so they don't spoil.
November through February is when I get my raw oysters to shuck
myself. In my experience with Gulf
oysters, the cooler months produced a more salty and meatier oyster.
Most people simply buy their oysters from a seafood store or
grocer. Buy them a day or so before you will use them and keep them
in the refrigerator.
Oysters can be frozen, and, should be in their own liquid with a
little water added if needed. Put in a zip bag and get all the air
out. They'll keep quite a while.
When buying oysters fresh to shuck keep them cool, moist and in a
shady place. If you buy them in a crawfish sack simply put them in
an ice chest. Cover them with a wet burlap sack or old wet towel.
Throw a little ice on them just to cool them some.
If you're bringing fresh oysters on a trip cover them as stated
above and put a bag of ice on top of them. Don't let the water from
the ice collect at the bottom of the ice chest, you may kill the
lower layer of oysters.
As you well know eating raw oysters can be risky. Several deaths
were caused by the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria which is naturally occurring
in raw shellfish. Illness usually hits people with liver disease,
cancer and diabetes.
A medium oyster takes about 5 minutes to cook, look for curled
edges. Overcooking them a little won't hurt anything. Oysters give
off water when cooked; remember that when doing a dish.
Oyster harvest should be good this year in Louisiana, so go out
and get yours!