Oysters are the singular food of celebration, romance, and decadence because of their briny, rich flavor and cold, crisp saltiness more associated with the ocean than virtually any other seafood.
Treating yourself to oysters or serving them to loved ones shouldn’t be a stressful or worrying experience.
There are a variety of oysters found in different shapes and sizes, and it is important to always remember where they came from and when you brought them home.
If you follow these simple steps you will not just have an enjoyable celebration, but also keep your oysters fresh and you and your guests safe.
How Long Do Refrigerated Oysters Last?
You can keep fresh oysters in your refrigerator for up to two days, whether they are live or shucked. Refrigerated oysters that have been cooked when they are fresh will last for four days.
It is important to store fresh oysters properly, as the lack of oxygen may cause them to die if they are sealed in an airtight container.
To keep them cool, wrap them in a damp paper towel and refrigerate until you are ready to use them. Oysters that have been cooked should be stored in an airtight container.
Alternatively, you can place them in containers filled with dry ice, this works best if you live near a place where you can obtain dry ice.
Before storing the oysters, you can freeze them by lining a tray with paper towels and wrapping each shell tightly with plastic wrap or foil.
The storage time for frozen oysters increases dramatically because these oysters can be kept below the freezing point of 0°F without spoiling until they have thawed.
Freshly caught oysters can be safely frozen for up to one year so that they can be thawed at a later date for an oyster dinner.
Shucked oysters should be stored in their liquor or water to minimize freezer burn, and air should be squeezed out of the freezer bag or other airtight plastic container.
Ideally, thawing oysters should take 24 hours in the refrigerator; frozen oysters should not be refrozen.
Once frozen, oysters should not be re-frozen. As soon as cooked oysters are not served immediately, they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Serving Your Oysters
On a hot day over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, oysters should not be allowed to sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
Raw oysters should be refrigerated or kept on ice in an ice chest until they are ready to eat, then served on ice.
If you are serving large amounts, it may be a good idea to divide them among smaller bowls and place all but one bowl in the refrigerator until needed.
The oysters you are going to serve to your guests need to be in perfect condition to be cooked and served safely, so failing to follow the instructions will lead to serious consequences.
Is It Time To Throw Out The Oysters?
Whenever possible, choose fresh oysters that have a shell that is intact and unbroken, free of cracks or chips.
Whenever you buy an oyster, check to see whether it closes tightly after you tap it. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.
Make sure that any opened oysters are still alive before preparing them at home for consumption.
If not, discard them. You should discard any oyster that fails to open while cooking if you cook the oysters whole in their shell.
Ideally, the meat should be tight, shiny, and wrinkle-free, as wrinkles indicate premature harvesting, so they would still clump together instead of being easy to eat.
When you open one, you should always smell ammonia, and if there isn’t any flavor, then it’s not worth your time.
Throughout this guide, we have explained everything you need to know about oyster shelf life and how you should properly cook them, along with any extra precautions you should be taking.
Buying oysters in shops is one of the most difficult things to do safely and be aware of, hence why this guide has been made.
Get yourself a set of oysters now from the shop and let us know how well they store and for how long they last!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe To Eat Live Oysters?
Live oysters are good as long as they are stored properly and are alive. Therefore, when handling live oysters, you should make sure their shells are closed at all times.
The best tasting oysters are the ones that are served fresh and not frozen.
How Long Will Oysters Last On Ice?
When oysters are put on ice, they will last between 2 and 3 hours at room temperature. It should last up to two days if stored on ice in the refrigerator.
We recommend always keeping your oysters cold and sealed this way you are going to have the best chance at serving them in the prime condition.
Are Oysters Good For You?
Low in fat and high in protein, oysters are an excellent alternative to red meat if you don’t eat meat. They are also loaded with iron, making them an excellent choice for vegetarians.
Oysters are so tasty and when served right, nothing can compare! So be sure to include them in your weekly meals!
How Do You Know When Oysters Are Ready To Eat?
Fresh oysters should be kept on ice and eaten within a day of purchase if you buy them and bring them home.
Do not eat oysters with cracked shells. You may already be eating a dead oyster if that is the case.