Cooking Louisiana  -  Oysters
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 April, are supposed to be the best months for oysters. The roots of this belief are unknown and were most likely related to cool weather when bacteria levels would be lower in the cooler waters. Oysters must be kept cool so they don't spoil.

November through February is when I get my raw oysters to shuck myself especially if I'm going to eat some raw. 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. Here's one way to shuck them.

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.

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