Oysters are a delicacy, and knowing how to eat oysters will greatly increase your enjoyment of this seafood treat. Many people enjoy them raw, but there are a variety of cooking options that allow you to enjoy their rich flavor just as well. Typically enjoyed near the ocean, if transported quickly and eaten fresh, they can be consumed pretty much anywhere.
- When to eat them. The old adage is to only eat oysters in months that have an “R” in them—in other words, only during cold months (September – April). It is safe to eat oysters any time of the year but during warmer months oysters spawn and their flesh is not as firm or as tasty as during the winter months. For knowing how to eat oysters, consider this when deciding to eat them, and make sure that when purchasing from a market they have been kept on ice or in a cold environment.
- Work them free with a fork. Oysters are bivalve invertebrates that attach themselves to the inside of their shell for protection. When served raw on the halfshell, they must be freed with an implement, typically a fork, so that they can slide easily off the shell. To be able to eat oysters properly, you should hold the shallow portion of the shell to your mouth and let the oyster slide off the shell.
- Chew, then swallow. The consistency of oysters is soft and creamy and they are in a rich liquid, called a liquor. It is easy to let the oyster slide directly down your throat, but doing so would mean not savoring the tastiness and quality of the oyster. To eat oysters, chew them slightly in your mouth before swallowing. Oysters act as filters in the ocean and therefore have a very rich taste, absorbing much of the “taste” of the sea. Don’t miss out on it!
- Garnishes. To eat oysters, put a very simple, light topping on them so that you can truly taste their flavor. A drizzle of lemon juice is typically all that does the trick. Some people enjoy cocktail sauce, a traditional condiment for seafood. To eat oysters on the half shell properly, don't overdo it with toppings.
- Po’boys. A po’boy is a classic fried seafood sandwich, typically featuring oysters or shrimp, which originated in Louisiana. A po’boy is served on a baguette with lettuce, tomato and either mustard or mayonnaise. Having plump, fried juicy oysters on a po’boy is one of the best ways to eat oysters and is a taste of the American south.