When storing shucked oysters, always choose the fridge. They can be kept fresh for up to seven days at a temperature below 35 degrees F.
Oftentimes, we come across quality and fresh oysters at the market and we quickly buy them before they’re gone, right?-But, we tend to forget that how we store them also matters.
Hot temperatures increase the risk of bacteria and illnesses which can transfer to the people who consume them so it can’t be just anywhere in the kitchen.
Oysters are a yummy delight when consumed on their own and a great ingredient for some all-time favorite dishes, but they have to be handled properly.
It’s also essential to store them where it’s the coldest in the fridge. With proper care for oysters, you’ll never have to fear bad oysters!
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According to the Safe Oysters Organization, oysters with their shells removed are best stored in the fridge at temperatures below 35 degrees F. This helps decrease the risk of bacterial growth and prolongs their freshness.
Usually, this is a period between four to seven days or by the date “use by” that’s written on the container. The shucked oysters need to be kept in the coldest part of the fridge.
This depends on the fridge model; however, in most cases, the bottom is often the coldest spot and is recommended for storing meat, eggs, and fish. This is because cold air sinks and gathers at the bottom shelves.
However, if your fridge has a compartment for ice-making on the top, the top is the coolest part.
When shucked and stored at temperatures over 40 degrees F, oysters’ shelf life significantly reduces and they’ll spoil fast.
Generally speaking, consuming oysters after purchase is best, within a day or two (properly stored in the fridge). A live oyster is a good oyster.
This is why it’s pivotal to check for the signs of life prior to eating or preparation.
Any dead oysters need to be discarded right away! This can be checked by tapping on the shells. If they don’t close, the oyster is dead and unsuitable for consumption: It can be full of bad bacteria that can cause illness!
Unshucked oysters, if not eaten or prepared right after purchasing, need to be stored properly as well. The best way to preserve the freshness is to place the raw oysters in a breathable, light bag and wrap the oysters with gel or ice packs.
Remember to place them with the right side up (the larger shell should be on the bottom). A damp towel on top is also a good idea. Keeping them like this in a perforated steam pan is also recommendable.
This will collect the water as it melts from the ice. By doing this, you make sure the oysters stay fresh and prevent them from getting soaked.
After purchasing your fresh oysters, it’s essential to have the right equipment for proper handling.
By right equipment, we mean a quality shucking knife and protective oyster shucking gloves. This allows you to easily open up their shells that tend to be quite hard and to keep your hands and other body parts protected during the whole process.
If you don’t consider yourself experienced at shucking oysters with a knife, we highly recommend using a shucking machine. Shucking oysters with a knife does require practice.
Although it’s a more expensive investment, it’s definitely the ideal choice for people that love prepping and consuming oysters but aren’t that good with a knife. It does the shucking for you and the risk of injuries is low.
Distinguishing between a fresh and a bad oyster is pivotal considering bad oysters have bacteria and can cause illness in humans if consumed! One rule of thumb when trying to determine if an oyster is alive (fresh) is to check for the aroma and flavor.
If they’re the same as they were when the oysters were bought and there’s plenty of liquid, they’re good for consumption.
On the other hand, when an oyster goes bad, it will gap open, there will be less liquid, and they’ll be quite dry and look weak. Also, they will have a foul smell, one that will differ from that one when they were purchased or caught.
If you’re still unsure about your oyster’s freshness, there’s another trick you can try. This involves knocking two oysters together.
If you hear a hollow sound, at least one of the two oysters is bad. You can be sure by knocking them both with another oyster.
If you hear a sound reminding of two rocks knocking together, these oysters are fresh. Keep one of them so you can check on the other oysters. Discard all of the bad oysters.
When you’re ready to consume the oysters or use them to prepare a delicious meal, it’s essential to clean them well.
The best tip is to do it in the sink. Set them inside and run them with cold water. Using cleaning gloves, scramble through them so that you clean any leftovers like sand or other debris. You do this with every oyster until you feel each one is clean.
Oysters are popular for a reason; although they’re a loved finger food and are consumed raw, fresh, and from the shell, there are plenty of iconic cooked dishes with oysters that deserve a chance on your dinner table.
To ensure maximum enjoyment and safety with oysters, it’s pivotal to know how to store both shucked oysters in the fridge (as well as unshucked) after purchasing them from the seafood market. Improper care of oysters can cause them to go bad and you end up throwing them away.
Both unshucked and shucked oysters do best when kept in the fridge, in the coolest section. The unshucked will also prefer several extra steps to maximize their freshness.
In case you’re not entirely sure if your oysters are alive or not, follow the tips we shared to find out.