Do you love oysters? Do you eat them in all forms, from fresh, shooters, baked, stir-fried, grilled to fried? Do you enjoy them so much that oyster bars and seafood places that serve them in a raw bar are on top of your restaurant list? If so, then one important thing you really need to avoid is the bad oyster, specifically, the batch that has gone past its prime, which could guarantee a stomachache, or worse, food poisoning. So how will you know if you’ve got a spoiled shell? Here are five practical tips to follow if your oysters are good and safe to eat.
It’s still alive
The most obvious clue that an oyster is good is if it’s still alive. In general, oysters are at their prime when they are still alive when they’re eaten or cooked. You can tell if a piece of oyster is alive if it’s tightly closed or close when tapped lightly.
Oysters smell fresh and briny by nature as if they’ve just come out of the waters—those are the oysters to really enjoy. If it smells funny, throw it away.
Check the appearance
When it comes to oyster visuals, make sure it’s plump and glossy, not dry and shriveled up. Also, if it’s grey, brown, pink, or blackish in color and if it has debris on it, don’t even think about putting it in your mouth. Period.
Ask the source
When did it arrive at your dining place? Where did the restaurant get it from? How long has it been left out before it got prepared for cooking? You can ask these valid questions nicely to your server/host if you’re eating oysters but are not sure how they got to your table. Plus points if the host can explain exactly where it was farmed.
Do a taste test
After doing all of the above, the last check you can do is to try a piece to know what it tastes like. A good piece should be sweet with a hint of umami, and still briny. It should also be chewy and have absolutely no funk in taste even with all the add-ons and preps it has undergone.
If you feel like you did get a stomachache or have food poisoning from eating oysters then try to recover by continuously hydrating and managing other symptoms, if any manifest. If the symptoms get severe then it’s time to go to the ER. If you’re very certain that you got it from a restaurant, it would be best to report it directly to them.
Don’t be scared of eating oysters though! It’s one of the best seafood to enjoy once you learn how to eat them. In the meantime, here’s a delicious oyster recipe you can try making at home!